Sunday, March 2, 2014

Literacy Spanning the U.S. - New Mexico, Philadelphia, Rochester

Literacy:  Spanning the U.S.
Literacy funding a good investment
Albuquerque Journal : 2.17.2014 by Kenneth Morgan / Special-needs Teacher

The consequences of poor reading education are disastrous to the economy of New Mexico.

From vast amounts of research, we know how to fix reading instruction. It costs taxpayers much more money to not fix reading instruction than to do so.

The United States now has the highest level of illiteracy among developed countries. And New Mexico is at the bottom of the literacy scales in the U.S.

People in the U.S. who are illiterate represent 75 percent of the unemployed, 75 percent of people on welfare, 80 percent of juvenile offenders, 60 percent of adolescents who receive treatment for substance abuse and 70 percent of prison inmates.

“Statistically, more American children suffer long-term life-harm from the process of learning to read than from parental abuse, accidents and all other childhood diseases and disorders combined. In purely economic terms, reading related difficulties cost our nation more than the war on terrorism, crime and drugs combined,” according to the National Institute for Family Literacy.

It is projected by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce that, by 2020, New Mexico will have 335,000 new job openings but only 152,000 workers with the job skills and education required to fill them. Good jobs will not come to New Mexico until we educate our citizens.

We know how to get our literacy rates in New Mexico up into the high 90s. It will not be cheap. But in the end, it will save us a lot of money, and our state will prosper.

We estimate that the initiatives listed below will cost a few million dollars a year, at least for the first few years. We also estimate that these reforms will almost completely eradicate illiteracy in our state.  READ MORE !

Mary Ellen Lyon, Ontario-Yates Literacy Volunteers
Rochester Homepage: 2.18.2014 by Kevin Doran [Video]

A student wanted to give his teacher a Golden Apple Award because he had just learned how to read- and he is 43 years old.

Every Tuesday, BJ O'Grady and Mary Ellen Lyon meet in a quiet corner of the Bloomfield Public Library. Mary Ellen is a tutor with the Ontario-Yates Literacy Volunteers. After all these years, BJ is finally learning how to read and write. His family says he is a new man.

"He feels whole. He feels like a whole person," his wife Kathryn said.

Imagine always holding a secret. It is estimated that seven percent of the population cannot read. BJ missed a lot.

"I never got to write any love letters to my wife or growing up and being a kid; you know, science and stuff always was hard. You don't read, you can't pick up a book to read it. You know, it's very hard," he said.

BJ wrote in and nominated Mary Ellen- a way to say thank you for changing a life.  READ MORE !

Rochester's changing face of literacy
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle: 2.18.2014 by Tina MacIntyre-Yee

For decades, Douglass Smith made it work.

After dropping out of high school during his junior year to support children he'd had at an early age, Smith, now 53, took jobs that didn't require much of an education.

Now, two years clean and sober, Smith is hitting the books — and getting help from Literacy Volunteers of Rochester. This is the group's 50th year providing classes for adults, like Smith, who are trying to restart their stalled educations.

"Sometimes I feel inadequate or insecure about not having an education, so I know the only way I'm going to get past it" is to wholeheartedly pursue his GED, said Smith, who works for Dennis Fico Homes rehabbing homes and doing landscaping.

"I isolated myself from the opportunities to be much more because of the fear of the unknown, the fear of failing, the fear of facing me and knowing that I can be much more than I've allowed myself to be."

In November, Smith was placed in a small class for reading and basic math at Literacy Volunteers. The class helps students raise their test scores so they are at a level that qualifies them for a preparatory class for the high school equivalency test.

"It's never too late to accomplish goals," said Smith, who also plans on going to college after he gets his high school equivalency.  READ MORE !

New Literacy Centers In Philadelphia Combine Online And Face-To-Face Learning
philadelphia.cbslocal: 2.21.2014 by Cherri Gregg

The Mayor’s Commission on Literacy is celebrating a huge milestone: the opening of three adult education centers in Philadelphia.

The centers are the first of their kind in the nation.

The new “MyPlace” campuses will allow adult learners a chance at free, interactive education and career services via the Cloud.

“We’re estimating almost one in two people are functioning below basic levels,” said Judith Renyi, executive director of the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy, yesterday.   She says the new centers change the game on literacy, allowing an unlimited number of low-literacy adults to come out of the shadows and take assessment tests so they can get their GED or gain secondary-level skills online from home, beginning in March, or in person at MyPlace.  READ MORE !

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