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Illiteracy hurts state in many different ways

Staff Report • Mar 8, 2012 at 8:29 AM

Even though more than 32 million Americans suffer from adult illiteracy, it’s still a problem that is being ignored in Tennessee and other states. Not surprising, many of those states also rank among the lowest in overall funding for education.

And things aren’t getting any better. Studies show that states have done shamefully little in the past decade to improve on adult literacy.

The best way to tackle the problem of illiteracy is to start early. It’s encouraging to know that a study conducted two years ago by the U.S. Department of Education finds a child’s reading scores go up if literacy becomes a daily household activity.

It’s in a community’s best interest to see that all of its citizens can read. Literacy is instrumental in helping to break the cycle of poverty.

Additionally, illiteracy hurts in job recruitment and technological innovation. In these troubled and changing economic times, when states are competing for new technologies that could attract new employers, Tennessee cannot afford to be handicapped by illiteracy.

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