Saturday, May 7, 2011

Half of Detroit Population are Functionally Illiterate

Your Black World reports

According to the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund 47% of adults in Detroit are functionally illiterate. Simply put almost half of residents can't do basic things like read a newspaper, fill out a job application, or understand the instructions on a medicine bottle.

A study that was recently released noted that of the "200,000 adults who are functionally illiterate, approximately half have a high school diploma or GED." Sadly, only 10 % of residents who need adult literacy classes even receive services to teach them how to read, and only a quarter of adult education programs "provide services for learners at the lowest literacy levels."
Illiteracy is directly correlated with unemployment. In recent years unemployment has peaked at an alarming rate of 50 %, and 33 % of adults aged 20-24 are unemployed. Even if a jobs recovery plan is enacted, if the city's residents don't have basic skills—like being able to read—their career options won't improve much.

Detroit Public Schools (DPS) is involved with some of the solutions. One suggestion involves creating a new Learning Labs partnership that hopes to "connect adults with very limited literacy skills with occupational training opportunities and new careers." However, with such low literacy rates, it's hard not to see the numbers as a pretty harsh indictment of the system.

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