Educational equity for our nation’s school children has been an increasingly challenging hurdle to mount. Not only do predominantly white school districts receive billions more in educational resources, standardized testing has shown that Black students score well below their white peers in fundamental areas like reading proficiency.
In 2019, just 18 percent of Black fourth graders scored proficient or above in reading. For eighth graders, that percentage was 15. Literacy rates of Black students is a serious concern. It’s why Pizza Hut has launched a new menu offering, the BOOK IT! Bundle, to benefit First Book, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring educational equity.
“The storied BOOK IT! program has been a huge priority for Pizza Hut as we’ve continued to support childhood literacy for 37 years,” says Lindsay Waites, Program Manager of the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program. “As the largest network of educators serving children in need by providing access to deeply needed new books and educational materials, First Book has been the perfect partner to help continue our shared mission of creating educational equity for all children.”
Waites tells EBONY that Pizza Hut worked alongside First Book to curate a collection of diverse and inclusive children’s titles as part of First Book’s Stories for All program. The national pizza chain sees the BOOK IT! Bundle as a way to help give the gift of reading by simply delivering pizza. “Pizza Hut is proud to bring our long-standing work with this valued partner into the new year,” says Waites. The joint initiative makes it possible to provide high-quality, free, and low-cost books and resources to educators nationwide.
First Book has a clear mission: Build a path out of poverty through educational equity. The organizations wants to create systemic change, ensure equal access to quality education and empower every educator and all the children in need who they serve. By putting books into the hands of children, they are setting out to remove barriers for children in need.