I hear and read a lot of misconceptions about adult education all the time. Here are the three most common myths people actually believe about adult literacy.
Myth 1: “I don’t know anyone with a reading problem.”
Fact: There are 36 million adults in the United States who can’t read above a third-grade level. That means that 1 in 7 people have literacy issues. If you’re surprised, you’re not alone. 79% of adults said they don’t know an adult with this issue.
Myth 2: “Adults who attend literacy programs misbehaved in high school, were lazy, and generally didn’t care about their education.”
Fact: There are countless reasons why people attend literacy programs.
•They attended low-quality schools/poorly funded schools.
•They had to drop out of school due to events out of their control (such as needing to become the primary earner for the family).
•They struggled with undiagnosed learning impairments.
•They fell behind early and never caught up. “Sixty six percent of all U.S. fourth graders scored ‘below proficient’ on the 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) reading test”
Myth 3: “We have more important issues to worry about, like health care, unemployment, the economy, or who our next president will be.”
Fact: People with low literacy skills are four times more likely to have poor health (two times higher than the national average). Those adults have a higher chance of having to go to the emergency room and that costs U.S. taxpayers between $106 billion and $238 billion each year!
Fact: Adults with low literacy levels are twice as likely to be unemployed. How do you fix it? If half of the dropouts from the class of 2008 had graduated, there would be an additional 30,000 new jobs! Imagine if that happened every year.
Fact: Americans with low literacy levels are less likely to be politically engaged or understand what is going on in politics. You want to get things done? Give people the tools to really understand the importance of the political process and we all might be a little less frustrated after every fourth November.
Do you have any other misconceptions that people should know about? Share this article and comment on what you think is most important.
Email me your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org for the next list!