Friday, April 20, 2007

We Need To Fight Illiteracy In Our Community by Akindele Akinyemi



I am fully convinced that the only way we are going to rebuild conservative Christian communities regionally for Black people is to tackle what is known as intergenerational illiteracy in our community.

Whether it is financially, health, voting rights, etc we are enslaved in a cycle of depression. Not from the White man but from those who refuse to learn how to read.

If you want to hide something from a person you need to put it in a book. If it is very important you place it in a bigger book.

Health Education and Welfare reports that 42 percent of 17 year-old blacks are functionally illiterate. It is estimated that 40-44% of Blacks are functionally illiterate. It is no wonder that we cannot control the economics in our community. While Blacks make up 84% of the total population in Detroit 90% of the economics in the community are controlled by the Chaldeans.

Chaldeans begin migrating over here around he late 60s to early 70s. While they worked in supermarkets and gas stations they learned how to master the business and 30 years later they are running our community. Blacks have embrace socialism so bad that it has done us no good in the long run. The Asian community have also done the same within our community.

Both groups, regardless of language barriers, have placed a high priority on literacy.

Ignorance was the major control instrument of slavery. Every master realized that he had to know almost everything, and the slaves had to know almost nothing. An educated Black might realize how horribly he was treated and revolted.

Ignorance is STILL present in our schools today as people like Agnes Hitchcock throw grapes at Detroit school board members or people who had trouble interpreting Proposal 2. When we get into financial illiteracy it is on a catastrophic proportions. We do not stand a fighting chance.

Other facts that are alarming:


The United States ranks tenth out of seventeen industrialized nations in literacy proficiency ratings (reading, writing and math).

42 million adults (23% of the population) in the United States are functionally illiterate and are rated at a “level one”, the lowest of five levels of literary proficiency ratings.

50 million adults (25% - 28% of the population) in the United States are rated at "level two" of literacy proficiency ratings.

15 Million adults who are holding jobs in the United States are functionally illiterate.

Sixty percent (60%) of the unemployed in the United States lack the basic literacy proficiency skills necessary to be trained for high tech jobs.

The United States has one of the highest high school dropout rates in the industrialized world. The national high school drop out rate is at twenty nine percent (29%) and rising.

20% of high school student dropouts test in the gifted range.

Thirty-six percent (36%) of our fourth graders can't read at a fourth grade level. In one test of eighth grade math, seventeen other nations placed more of their students in the top twenty five percent in literacy proficiency ratings, led by Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong.

In 2002, this nation spent $288 Billion Dollars on K-12 education federal and state. This academic year, the better part of $1 trillion will be spent on education in the United States. That's approaching 10 percent of the overall economy.

4.3 million students entered high school in 2004, and more than one million will never graduate. Of every hundred students who enter ninth grade, less than sixty-seven will graduate.

Studies show that high school dropout rates are far higher than public education institutions have been reporting. In fact, dropout rates have been rising steadily for thirty years. High school graduation rates are actually much lower because students with low-test scores leave high school. And young adults who go to jail or become too old for high school are not counted as dropouts from their schools.

One quarter of white high school student dropout of school. For blacks and Latinos, the dropout rate is fifty percent. The dropout rates are stagnant, essentially for whites, and skyrocketing for blacks and Hispanics. The gap in testing is in excess of thirty percent, whether black or Hispanic, behind white students.

Statistics show, high school dropouts have much higher rates of unemployment, become tax consumers, involvement with the criminal justice system, negative long-term health issues, welfare enrollment and poverty.

A number of young adults who have dropped out of school are parents. There is probability evidence that their children will not graduate from high school.

The problem of poor literacy skills begins not in the schools, but at home, due to the intergenerational cycle of illiteracy. Poor academic achievement and dropping out before completing school are commonplace among children of young adults and adults who are functionally illiterate or have poor literacy skills.

The need for adult and alternative education and training programs to assist young adults who are 16 – 20 years old and have dropped out school, and adults who are 20 years old and up who do not want to go back to high school to get their GED credentials, is critical. It is for the reason that, high school dropouts will earn $10,000 less per year, if they are male and $6,000 less per year, if they are female (based on 1996 statistics).

A National 2005 Report Card on High Seniors report that: 27% of High Seniors scored below in basic levels of reading and 39% of High School Seniors scored below in basic levels of math. And the United States of America ranks 17th out of 22 industrialize nations in the number of students graduating from High School.

A quarter of a trillion dollars a year are spent in our criminal justice system on prisons, justice, covering damages and loss GNP.

One year in the criminal justice system costs $40,000 to $50,000 per person a year to service.

One year of adult and alternative education and training programs costs $10,000 per person a year to service.

In Michigan, eighteen (18%) percent of adults, nearly one of five are functionally illiterate.

Michigan ranks 28th, among the states in the percentage of literate adults and ranks 40th among the 50 states in postsecondary education.

The 1990 and the 2000 census states, the City of Detroit has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the United States, with forty-seven percent (47%) of its population, nearly one out of two, scoring at literacy proficiency level one. And, that those citizens need the availability of adult education and training programs because they lack a high school diploma or GED credentials and/or cannot speak English. This problem is just as serious in other counties and cities in Michigan as well.

The area hardest hit for adult education and training funding has been in Southeast Michigan and the Detroit Metropolitan area where the number of African American and Hispanics who are high school dropouts, are astronomical. New immigrant populations continue to grow at a rapid pace and strain funding resources for adult education and training programs as well.

In 1996, there were 28,000 adults enrolled per year in the Detroit Board of Education in adult education and training programs and at least 2,000 per year were expected to get their high school completion diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED). Forty percent of the individuals enroll in those programs were parents or guardians. The Detroit Board of Education has had an adult education and training program since the year 1875.

In 2003, the Detroit Board of Education’s Department of Adult and Continuing Education was only able to serve 2,000 adults because of the decrease in state funding. This was a decrease of 26,000 adults from its highest enrollment in 1996.

This growing problem in our community is forcing employers to look overseas to set up shop and compete in a global market.

You see illiteracy leads to poverty and poverty leads to crime. It is amazing how local, state and federal leaders cannot pinpoint the root of the problem. This is why we cannot vote correctly. We do not understand this issues properly.

According to the 2000 Census, one of every four Black Americans lives in poverty. The poverty rate for Black Americans is three times the rate for White Americans. In 1999, the median family income for Black Americans was still only $31,778, compared to $51,244 for Whites. Fewer than half (46%) of Black American households own their own homes, compared to the national average of 72%.

On the other hand, Black Americans comprised the largest buying power group at $678 billion per year, representing two out of every three dollars spent by minorities. Were talking about the whole GNP of Canada.

How do we begin to combat this issue? Evidence indicates that the problem of illiteracy or poor literacy skills begin not in the schools, but at home, due to the inter-generational cycle of illiteracy. Poor academic achievement and dropping out before completing High School are commonplace among children of parents who are functionally illiterate or have poor literacy skills and lack a high school diploma or GED credentials.

Adult education and training, is the engine to K-12 education. And we believe what educators believe and research supports the claim: “The greatest determiner of a child’s educational achievement is predicated on the educational level of the mother.” So therefore, a strong commitment of financial investment in comprehensive certificate based education and training programs that are designed to eliminate the enormous problem of illiteracy and poor literacy skills, will increase occupational skill attainment, increase employment, increase job retention and earnings and reduce welfare dependency of individuals with families.

Individuals who are functionally illiterate or have poor literacy skills and lack a high school diploma or GED credentials are educated and trained and developed to become empowered; it will benefit them, their families and their communities spiritually, socially, culturally and economically, and it will have a positive direct educational impact on their children. Also, this education and training achievement will empower their children to attain higher academic levels and secure employment in higher paying careers. This approach will eliminate the inter-generational cycle of illiteracy, poor literacy skills and unemployment of individuals with families and give them the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

One Network and the National Black Republicans Association are on board with the The Parent Literacy and Learning Project. We are the first Black Republican organizations nationally that have embraced this project.

Our company has developed a literacy and learning project that is an urban capitalism initiative, to assist states, counties, cities and metropolitan communities to raise the literacy proficiencies of its citizens to support their community redevelopment and economic growth projects. And to provide a more technologically literate and a more socially literate professionally developed workforce for employers.

The initiative, entitled: The Parent Literacy and Learning Project (PLLP). PLLP is a comprehensive five year pilot industry specific certificate based adult and alternative continuing education and industry specific skill based job training program designed for individuals who are functionally illiterate or have poor literacy skills and lack a High School Diploma or GED credentials to obtain their high school completion diploma or GED credentials to turn tax consumers into taxpayers and give them the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

The program is provided at our Metropolitan Career Centers. Parent Literacy and Learning Project includes, four program modules:

First Teacher Program – is an adult education program for ages 20 and up to obtain GED credentials to eliminate illiteracy, the inter-generational cycle of illiteracy, poor literacy skills and unemployment, for themselves and their families, and to acquire the knowledge necessary to succeed in post secondary education.

Future Scholar Program – is an alternative education program for ages 16 – 20, to obtain a high school completion diploma or GED credentials to eliminate illiteracy, the inter-generational cycle of illiteracy, poor literacy skills and unemployment for themselves and their family. And acquire the knowledge necessary to succeed in post secondary education. The program is also an Early Childhood Education Program for ages Pre-K – 5, to give them an advantage in their pursuit to educational achievements.

Professional Development Program – is a life skills education program for individuals to reach their full potential for good health and prosperity, and to have richer life experiences for a quality of life.

Industry Specific Skill Based Job Training Program – is for ages 16 and up to increase occupational skill attainment and improve employment opportunities for individuals to be successful in the workforce to become productive citizens for their families, their communities, and have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

The Parent Literacy and Learning Project includes strong support services for an effort to increase successful completion of the program and integration into the workforce. These support services include, transportation, counseling, job placement assistance, food service, baby sitting, and after school programs. And a fitness center, a health care clinic, and a media center for distant learning and program documentation.

PLLP is a one hundred eighty day school year program. The program is divided into two semesters per year, with a summer session as a make up.

Through program documentation, PLLP will prove; individuals who are educated and trained through our comprehensive industry specific certificated based education and training program will become empowered. And it will benefit them, their families and their communities, socially, culturally, spiritually, educationally and economically. This education and training achievement will also have a positive educational impact on their children, and it will empower them to attain higher academic levels and secure employment in higher paying careers so that they can have the opportunity to achieve the American dream.

Both networks are part of the National Conference on Adult Literacy and Education. This conference will take place on August 3-4 , 2007 in Detroit, Michigan. The mission of NCALE’s annual national and state conferences, and city/county forums and seminars is, in partnership, raise the profile on the intergenerational cycle of illiteracy in families, and the poor literacy skills of individuals in this country. And, in partnership, promote this very serious matter as a human rights issue, a public health crisis and epidemic, and a national security problem in order to break the cycle of intergenerational illiteracy in families, eliminate the poor literacy skills for individuals, and raise the literacy proficiency ratings of our citizens in this country. So, that they can become productive citizens for their families and their communities.

The goal of NCALE is to transfer information on the state of adult literacy and education projects and programs to states, counties, metropolitan areas, and rural and urban city officials and policymakers to assist them with new ideals and positive solutions for adult literacy and education reform to break the intergenerational cycle of illiteracy in families, eliminate the poor literacy skills of individuals, to raise the literacy proficiency ratings of their citizens, as an urban capitalism initiative to support the economic growth and community redevelopment projects intended for their communities.

We are trying to expand generational wealth creation through helping people become more literate and responsible citizens. There is no way we can continue competing in a global society being illiterate.

For more information contact us here at onechoicepac@gmail.com

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