Liza McFadden

Liza McFadden

President, Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy


Parents are a child’s first teacher.

From the moment a child is born, teaching should begin. At the Barbara Bush Foundation we believe in helping every family understand that the home is the child's first school, the parent is the child's first teacher, and reading is the child's first subject. By reading bedtime stories to a toddler, clipping recipes with a youngster or sharing sport scores with a teenager, parents demonstrate by participation and example that reading brings joy, knowledge and success.


Every single person who learns to read is a victory.

The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy invests in people who are willing to earn their way to a better life. And, we fund family literacy academies where high standards result in exceptional returns. Places where parents, who don’t have the necessary literacy or language skills to get a good job or help with homework, can learn alongside their young children. Lifelong learning becomes a family value to be passed through generations.


Educated parents mean educated children.

What’s the best way to determine if a child will graduate from high school? The answer—if mom or dad did. Providing opportunities to struggling parents who need a second chance at education simply makes sense. Family literacy programs help parents improve low-literacy skills, earn a GED, learn English, and perhaps inspire a mom or dad to seek higher education so they in turn can build a better life for their children.


An educated population will save government money.

If more people could read, write and comprehend, most of America’s problems could be solved. Crime rates would decrease; there would be less teenage pregnancies, fewer drug abuse problems and children on the street. Educating others is potentially one of the most cost-effective tools the nation has to recover during this tough economic time.


To improve education in America we must reform and transform.

As the Barbara Bush Foundation expands its national reach to educate families in America, we will play a part in the education reform movement. By introducing family literacy discussions at the national level and embracing digital and online learning options we have the opportunity to teach more parents and children in both the classroom and living room.

The views expressed on this site are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Pearson Foundation.


Liza McFadden serves as president of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, a national organization working to establish literacy as a value in every family in America. In addition, she leads Volunteer USA Foundation, a nonprofit which focuses on improving the lives of families through volunteerism and community service. Prior to her current positions, Ms. McFadden was president/CEO of Volunteer Florida Foundation under the leadership of then Governor Jeb Bush.