A Third of DC Can’t Read This…

A full third of DC is listed as functionally illiterate according to a recent survey conducted by the State Education Agency. Functionally illiterate means unable to read maps, bus schedules or fill out job applications, according to the WJZ article. The Post’s article is far more complete and includes the figure of $107M in lost revenue due to a lack of qualified applicants in the District. The most sobering part? This breakdown of where the problems are:

Unlike previous studies, the State of Adult Literacy Report identified illiteracy rates by ward. At 50.4 percent, Ward 7 had the highest percentage of residents over age 16 who were functionally illiterate. Ward 8 ranked second, with 48.9 percent, and Ward 5 was third, with 48.2 percent. By contrast, Ward 3 fared the best, at 8.2 percent.


So, what are we going to do as a city to fix it? It looks like money needs to be redistributed to literacy programs in the affected Wards, but who’s going to take the lead?

3 Comments so far

  1. Max (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 7:07 am

    What I think is crazy, is that this area has a high percentage of ultra educated people too. You can go to Starbucks and see someone working on their dissertation, and a homeless person sleeping on the couch nearby. The class separation in our society is just getting bigger and bigger.

  2. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 7:29 am

    I don’t think it’s all class, here, Max, I think there’s large mental illness component that you’re neglecting.

  3. Max (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 12:59 pm

    OK, maybe that was a bad example.

    I did a quick search, and while this is old data, “According to the United States Census Bureau’s most recent data (2003), the most educated state is not a state at all: It’s Washington, D.C.”

    So what I’m saying is, how can you be the most educated state and also have the highest illiteracy rate at the same time? It’s because smart rich people live in Georgetown and poor illiterate people live in the SW (along with all of the immigrant workers at 7 Eleven and Zed’s Ethopian restaurant).

    I know this is a wide brush stroke, but hopefully you catch my drift.

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