In December 2022, ProPublica published an article about the ongoing literacy crisis in the United States. This blog post is the first in a series of reflections on that article.
$9. That’s how much the state of Texas currently allocates for adult education, per eligible student.
What can you buy with $9 these days? That won’t even get you two dozen eggs in most grocery stores. What do we think it can realistically do for the almost 5 million Texas adults in need of literacy help?
Across the United States, only around 3% of the adults who need literacy help are getting it – a figure that holds true for Texas as well. And despite our best efforts across the literacy field – and the valiant intervention of nonprofits, libraries, and other programs to help fill the gap – that number hasn’t changed in any meaningful way in decades.
While we try to figure out what’s to be done, people, families, communities, counties, states, and the entire nation are all suffering.
It’s a sobering picture.
Shouldn’t every person in America have the opportunity to learn to read?