The Incredible Impact of Barbara Bush


Ford Watkins, Political Editor

The late first lady’s legacy in advancing youth literacy and reading should be magnified.

Barbara Bush understood American values.

As the first lady, Barbara Bush initiated an enthusiasm and love for one of the most important intellectual improvements somebody can make in their lifetime: literacy. Barbara Bush understood the power and empowerment that came with the ability to read. When one’s mind is opened to the world that literature exists in, one’s mind is cultivating life’s garden. Barbara Bush deeply and carefully realized that every book, article, poem, or any form of writing somebody reads is the gate to a new galaxy of thinking and learning.

As the first lady, Barbara Bush created the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, stating “I honestly believe that if more people could read, write and comprehend, we would be that much closer to solving so many of the problems that plague our nation.” Undeniably, her service has been astronomically effective. Since George H.W. Bush signed the National Literacy Act 27 years ago, millions of adults have returned back to high school to get their diplomas, while tens of millions adequately learned to read and write. Since 1989, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy has raised over $110 million for nationwide literacy enhancement programs. Because of her devotion to this cause, it can be said that Barbara Bush increased the quality of life in low-income families through literacy substantially.

Barbara Bush should be remembered as a loving mother, a wonderful wife, a classy first-lady, a great author, clever, fierce, and wholly extraordinary. But we can’t ever underemphasize the gift that she brought to so many American families: the ability to read. So, with all of her other achievements, let’s remember Barbara Bush as a champion of learning and a pioneer for low-income families’ education.