Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Adult Literacy Crisis :: Washington Post

Hiding in plain sight: The adult literacy crisis
Washington Post: 11.01.2016 by Valerie Strauss

If you are reading this, then by definition you don’t have a problem that more than 20 percent of the adults in the nation’s capital struggle with every day: illiteracy. The inability to read makes life significantly harder for individuals but also has an effect on society at large, according to the Literacy Foundation, which lists these consequences:

For individuals
Limited ability to obtain and understand essential information;

Unemployment: The unemployment rate is 2–4 times higher among those with little schooling than among those with Bachelor’s degrees;

Lower income;

Lower-quality jobs;

Reduced access to lifelong learning and professional development;

Precarious financial position;

Little value is given to education and reading within the family, and this often leads to intergenerational transmission of illiteracy;

Low self-esteem, which can lead to isolation;

Impact on health: Illiterate individuals have more workplace accidents, take longer to recover and more often misuse medication through ignorance of health care resources and because they have trouble reading and understanding the relevant information (warnings, dosage, contraindications, etc.).

For society
Since literacy is an essential tool for individuals and states to be competitive in the new global knowledge economy, many positions remain vacant for lack of personnel adequately trained to hold them;

The higher the proportion of adults with low literacy proficiency is, the slower the overall long-term GDP growth rate is;

The difficulty understanding societal issues lowers the level of community involvement and civic participation.

There are programs and schools working to help adults learn to read and get a formal education. In this post, Lecester Johnson, chief executive and president of the Academy of Hope Adult Public Charter School, writes about the problem and some of the solutions.  READ MORE @

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