Education "reform" isn't going to do squat for students whose families are steeped in poverty and its side effects -- like illiteracy. Research shows that children whose parents read to them have much bigger vocabularies and do better in school. If your parents can't even read, how does that happen? How does a parent check your homework, or respond to notes from the teacher?
We need another wave of Great Society programs, and instead we get deep cuts in the few social programs we have left:
Detroit's population fell by 25 percent in the last decade. And of those that stuck around, nearly half of them are functionally illiterate, a new report finds.
According to estimates by The National Institute for Literacy, roughly 47 percent of adults in Detroit, Michigan -- 200,000 total -- are "functionally illiterate," meaning they have trouble with reading, speaking, writing and computational skills. Even more surprisingly, the Detroit Regional Workforce finds half of that illiterate population has obtained a high school degree.
The DRWF report places particular focus on the lack of resources available to those hoping to better educate themselves, with fewer than 10 percent of those in need of help actually receiving it. Only 18 percent of the programs surveyed serve English-language learners, despite 10 percent of the adult population of Detroit speaking English "less than very well."
Additionally, the report finds, one in three workers in the state of Michigan lack the skills or credentials to pursue additional education beyond high school.
In March, the Detroit unemployment rate hit 11.8 percent, one of the highest in the nation, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last month. There is a glimmer of hope, however: Detroit's unemployment rate dropped by 3.3 percent in the last year alone.