Continued immigration and a stubborn high school dropout rate have stymied efforts to improve literacy in Los Angeles County, where more than half the working-age population can’t read a simple form, a report released Wednesday found.
Ten percent of poor readers take an adult literacy class, but half drop out within three weeks. That’s what happened when my mother volunteered to teach reading to Mexican immigrants; most of those who signed up never came at all, even though the class was held at the restaurant where they worked.
The study measured levels of literacy across the region using data from the 2000 Census, the U.S. Department of Education and a survey of literacy programs taken from last September to January.
It classified 3.8 million Los Angeles County residents as “low-literate,” meaning they could not write a note explaining a billing error, use a bus schedule or locate an intersection on a street map.
In addition, 30 percent of Los Angeles students never finish high school.
Via No Illusions.
Update: According to a study based on Census data, 24.5 percent of public school teachers in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area send their own children to private schools, compared to 15.7 percent of the general public.
Here’s a link to a Fordham study on where teachers send their kids to school.