Guest Column – Can you read this? Then we need your help. It’s that simple.
By Todd Blomerth
SPECIAL TO THE POST-REGISTER
A democracy’s very existence depends on having a well-educated and literate society. The United States prides itself on being a society where literacy is a given. The reality is often far from that.
Consider the following facts:
32 million adults in the United States cannot
read. That is 14 percent of the population. 21 percent of adults in the United States read below the fifth grade level. Nineteen percent of high school graduates, nationwide, cannot read.
Texas has 6.5 million residents who speak a language other than English at home – almost double the national average.
There are 3.8 million adults in Texas without a high school diploma.
Texas is DEAD LAST of all states, ranked by percentage of those over 25 who do not have a high school diploma or GED.
Dropouts cost Texas 9.6 BILLION dollars annually.
If you are reading this article, I assume that you are in a home where literacy is a given. But that is not the case in so very many of our homes in Caldwell County. In recent years, heroic efforts and increased funding to the education community have been focused on this problem. Despite this, I believe it is next to impossible, given the current resources available to our school districts, to expect that literacy rates will get better, without community assistance.
What can you and I do about this?
If you aren’t reading with your children or grandchildren, and encouraging them continuously to pick up a book, then do so now.
Volunteer as a reading mentor with Lockhart Independent School District. You can ask for one or more kids to work with. Some students would be aided better by bilingual volunteers, but by no means should your lack of a foreign language skill stop you from volunteering.
Plan to spend as little as a half-hour a week with your child.
I’ve been mentoring for several years now. It has driven home the challenges faced by our teachers. The need is immediate, as is the need for more in our community to help our overworked teachers reach those in need.
Why should you do this?
A rise of just 1 percent in literacy scores leads to a 2.5 percent rise in labor productivity, and a 1.5 percent rise in the GDP.
Keeping a child in school means less chance of legal issues later on. It just makes sense that a literate child will continue to be challenged and engaged in education.
Literate children become literate adults – and better citizens.
It will make you feel good.
Here are your contact persons at the LISD schools:
Navarro Counselor: Ms. Franco – (512) 398-0600
Clear Fork Counselor: Ms. May – (512) 398-0450
Strawn Counselor: Ms. McLaurin – (512) 398-0630
Bluebonnet Counselor: Ms. Ruppert – (512) 398-0904
Plum Creek Librarian: Ms. Grubbs – (512) 398-0570
Junior High School Librarian: Ms. Colvin (512) 398-0770
They are waiting to hear from you.