Thursday, May 31, 2007

How to Re-Populate Detroit: Fighting Illiteracy In Our City by Akindele Akinyemi


There is an urgent need in Detroit to be able to communicate effectively and efficiently. In addition, the ability to read and write is one of the chief communication methods in this city. Certainly, these statements have been supported by the various statistics and reports of many people study and research about illiteracy. For example, we should understand how functional literacy permits individuals to broaden their social and cultural horizons and participate more fully in the wider context of American life.
In a complex and industrialized city like Detroit which puts a great importance on literacy, it is apparent that adult illiterates must be taught properly to read and write effectively. Therefore, they may function successfully in society.
It is very unfortunate that more than one third of adult illiterates in Detroit, however the many methods of teaching adults the literacy do not work very effectively. Jonathan Kozol, the author of Illiterate America argues that many adult literacy programs exit, but due to the programs’ "inconvenient scheduling of classes, physical distance causing transportation problems, change of address." If one is to consider the importance of the ability to write and read to function effectively in society, these adult illiterates are suffering from various problems there are facing.
To illustrate, one illiterate man has been lost on a street corner in Detroit, then he calls the police for help. Police then asks the man to identify the location, however the man can only answer "ONE WAY STREET," because the man is an illiterate. Without the location where he is at, the police cannot help the poor man and the man is abandoned.
Please keep in mind that many people in Detroit recognize the problem mentioned above even though the problem is not solved. Indeed, there exists experts regarding adult illiteracy. These experts see the problems for the adult illiteracy lying in areas as diverse and broad as lack of government’s help to problems with methods used to teach literacy to adult illiterates. They also see solutions to the problem ranging from supporting community literacy programs to well-supported national literacy programs. It is no doubt that the dilemma brings such a concern. Furthermore, all the experts and writers on adult illiteracy have different solutions and perceptions regarding adult illiteracy.
Obviously, there are many people with different ideas who have developed both the reasons and the proposals to resolve the problem regarding adult illiteracy that not a single agreeing solution can be arrived at. The kind of solution the City of Detroit has is like a chorus of quarreling and clashing answers that create problems for policy makers and organizers of adult literacy programs. This is ludicrous. There are many experts on adult illiteracy, however none of them seem to agree on one solution.
It is crucial to explain why there are countless ideas regarding adult illiteracy. Some authors publish the results of their research. Some authors simply publish papers just to publish. Some authors publish so that they can contradict and contrast what they see as a wrong and invalid idea. Some authors even publish in order to make a living. These authors do not particularly have concerns about whether their paper contributes anything to the community. The papers that are not published for any great reasons, usually cause more harm than good. Papers like these add very minimal or nothing to the community and they create rather unpleasant confusion. These papers only waste people’s time and efforts.
Here is one core solution: enter The National Conference on Adult Literacy and Education.
The National Conference on Adult Literacy and Education (NCALE) is a private nonprofit database and clearinghouse company that provides information, facts and statistics on adult literacy and education for federal, state, county and local policymakers, educational, labor, health and human services professionals, public and private institutions, organizations and businesses, and individuals interested in this subject matter. We provide this information to assist them in advocating and passing legislation and public policies to break the intergenerational cycle of illiteracy in families and eliminate the poor literacy skills of individuals in all states, counties, rural and urban cities, towns and villages throughout the United States.
It is interesting that while all of these politicians are running the streets, calling me for support of their campaign for state representative next year that I have not seen them dealing with the ever growing problem of adult illiteracy in Detroit and Urban Michigan. When I say politicians I am talking about Democrats and Republicans. Republicans should be on board with this and ENDORSE this endeavor of combating adult illiteracy in our community.
Why I am picking on Republicans on this issue? Because it was Congressman Mike Rogers who first earmarked the funds for this project. Congressman Rogers is a Republican. Need I say more?
And while Democrats have written resolutions on this project we will not allow them to control the content of the upcoming 1st Annual National Policy Reform Conference on Adult Literacy and Education in Detroit, Michigan, at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, on August 3-4, 2007. Democrats and Republicans have not done anything in the inner cities to fight adult illiteracy. Democrats are practicing plantation politics while Republicans go home pissed off because voters blindly vote Democrat in every election. People vote like that because many in the inner cities of Michigan are voter illiterate.
For the record the purpose of this non-partisan historical, unprecedented annual national policy reform conference is to in partnership, sound the alarm today, for a national social movement, to raise the profile and public awareness on the very serious issue and problem of the intergenerational cycle of illiteracy in families, and the poor literacy skills of individuals in the United States. Also in partnership, create an enormous contribution to promote this very serious matter as a human rights issue, a public health crisis and epidemic, and a national security problem.
Nearly fifteen hundred (1,500) federal, state, county and local elected officials, policymakers, educational, labor, health and human services professionals, public and private institutions, organizations, businesses, community and grass roots advocates, criminal justice community, religious and spiritual leaders, parent organizations; and individuals interested in finding and sharing new ideals for comprehensive adult literacy and education policy reform initiatives to break the cycle of intergenerational illiteracy, eliminate the poor literacy skills, and raise the literacy proficiency ratings of citizens in their state, counties and local communities, will attend this conference.
One Network are on board with this conference. The National Republicans for Black Empowerment are on board. Let us see who are the real players who come and sit with us at the table to craft policies to help fight illiteracy. We have some who think I am not part of this, which is silly. As an educator one of the main things I fight for is crafting policies to defeat adult illiteracy in Urban Michigan.
Even Maurice Badgett of the Men of Wisdom/A-Team had this to say about my participation in the conference:
"And Ms. Denise Hearn is bringing PLPG. Inc. to Detroit! I know you will be @ the Downtown Marriott in early August! Do you know Denise of SW? Have you heard of PLPG? See you don't know Detroit!"

Do you see how silly this sound? Not only I know both Denise Monroe-Hearn and Terry Tyler, who is the Chairman and CEO of the Parent Literacy Project Group, Inc. but One Network will soon be working on a license for the Metropolitan Career Center for the City of Benton Harbor. We also want some of the Young Demcorats and Young Republicans to come together to discuss policies during the conference. Stay tuned for more of that update!!!!

Mr. Badgett has the nerve to ask me (of all people) do I know Detroit? The question I have for ANY of them is do they know Urban Michigan? Not when you are stuck in Southwest Detroit.

Did the so-called A-Team know that today in Muskgeon, MI (part of Urban Michigan) that they are auctioning off office building starting at $1.00? A mere buck? This is the state of our economy and while adult illiteracy is on the rise in Urban Michigan while there is a brain drain in Michigan due to young people leaving the state.

Did the so-called A-Team figure our why Black people in Benton Harbor HATE Gov. Granholm? Benton Harbor is 95% Black. Berrien County, where Benton Harbor is located, voted for DeVos in the last election. This has nothing to do with partisan politics. We are building policies.

Now here is something else. Gov. Granholm (who the Men of Wisdom blindly stomped for) said she has 84,00 new jobs ready for young people in health care and technology. What about investors, educators (like myself) and others who are not into health care and technology? What's to brag about 84,000 jobs when millions are leaving Michigan annually?

This is not about Democratic agenda or a Republican agenda when it cones to fighting adult illiteracy in our community.

Again, Democrats and Republicans and other political pundits walk the walk but let us see who is going to do the work at the table.

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