LOS ANGELES—Assence Films has released the following statement regarding the refusal by the National Education Association to accept a donation offered by the studio to go toward the Association’s Reading Across America program.

We are extremely disappointed in the National Education Association’s decision to reject much-needed donations from a legitimate taxpaying company, especially in a time where funding for education has been cut by almost $1 billion in California alone. We here at Assence Films are very proud of our product, but we don’t want kids exposed to it. We do, however, want them exposed to literature.

It is not our place to figure out how to fix education, but why can’t we help? The success of the Lottery in many states has proven that vice can greatly enhance the public good through funding alone. Our school system is both broke and broken. Classrooms are more crowded than ever, and students in the U.S. are falling even further behind their foreign counterparts.

On a local level, the Los Angeles high school dropout rate is holding steady at an appalling 34.9 percent. If the government will not provide for our kids, then who should shoulder this burden: our already under-paid teachers? Many teachers are only able to take a maximum tax write-off of $250 per year for books, classroom supplies and other expenses that come out of their own pockets because the school districts can’t afford to provide the materials that students need. Sadly, many teachers sacrifice much more than that out of their personal salaries just to keep their classrooms afloat. In our schools today the textbooks are laughably out of date, the buildings themselves are eroding, and student-teacher ratio is at an all-time high.

What can help fix this? We hope the answer is a capital investment in our future. While valuable programs such as Read Across America strive to promote reading one day out of the year, they also find themselves wishing they could be around the other 364. We only wanted to give our fair share. Regardless of whether Ms. Grey’s so-called “reading scandal” last year was officially sanctioned or not, maybe some introspection is in order.

When was the last time ANYONE read to your kids? Be it Sartre’s The Age of Reason or Engelmann and Bruner’s My Pet Goat, literary appreciation inspires and provokes much more thought than the latest video game title, adult film, (or even a blog that masquerades as a legitimate news source.)

If the government can’t do it, it’s up to the rest of us to give our share, and if the NEA won’t take our money we’ll find an organization that will.

One of Sasha Grey’s final scenes is featured in Assence Films’ debut release, Anal Artists, which streets Feb. 8. The company will be releasing three more titles this month. Assence Films is exclusively distributed by Exile Distribution.

For sales or licensing inquiries, contact Howard Levine at Exile Distribution at 818-576-9464 or by email at howard@exiledist.com.