After watching a 5-minute film on 21st Century Literacy one education enthusiast emailed HEEDblog asking a few questions relating literacy to healthcare, wealth and incarceration/recidivism.
What’s interesting is the verbiage from www.caliteracy.org/economic/ starts to address a lot of the following questions (received from the before mentioned enthusiast):
• How does illiteracy affect the economy?
• How many millionaires are illiterate?
• How are there so many illiterate people in the US? (What does that say about our school system?)
Below is the verbiage from the www.caliteracy.org/economic/ :
"Literacy in America and Economic Impact
Many people consider literacy issues as personal concerns that
affect the illiterate individual and not society as a whole. In reality,
literacy issues are a collective concern that affects the quality and prosperity
of our entire nation. The struggle to win the battle of literacy in America is
one which should be fought by everyone.
The wealth creation opportunities
for those who lack reading skills are severely limited. The Washington Literacy
Council conducted a study which found that more than three out of four of those
who are on welfare are illiterate. This has a disastrous effect on our economy.
Without the ability to read classified ads, fill out an application, or gather
the skills necessary to acquire employment that pays well enough to be
self-sufficient, there almost seems no choice but to turn to welfare. This
limitation affects their ability to spend which hurts the economy by limiting
demand for products and stunting job creation.
The prison population
represents another pool of lost opportunity in the fight for economic stability
in America. The Washington Literacy Council found that 68% of those arrested are
illiterate. While valuable tax dollars are spent housing and caring for inmates,
taxpayers are forced to look for additional sources of income to try to live the
American dream. Inmates, limited to non-existent reading skills and lost in a
cycle of violence and non-productivity, will rarely be able to escape a life
devoid of opportunity to make a legitimate living and contribute to the success
of our economy.
Improving the reading skills of children and adults is
key to promoting literacy in America. As we struggle to battle the
ever-increasing costs of health care in this nation, we may also consider
literacy in America as key in our fight. Literacy affects an individual’s
ability to learn about different insurance policy options, complete an
application for insurance coverage, understand diseases and disorders, and read
prescription bottles and dosage instructions. This inability to properly care
for oneself as well as the resulting lack of preventative care results in an
increased occurrence of emergency care needed. Since these individuals may also
lack proper insurance coverage, or the ability to pay for insurance coverage,
unpaid hospital bills flood the nation. This cost is passed on to other
Providing help for citizens with impaired reading skills is
integral to ensuring economic prosperity in our future. As a concerned citizen,
you can help by joining a volunteer program that provides lessons in reading
skills. In doing so, you not only serve to improve the success and well-being of
the individuals who seek assistance, you help to promote the continued economic
success of America.”