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Family Literacy Fact Sheet

June 1995

By the year 2000, people with less than a high school education will be able to fill only 14% of all jobs.

90% of welfare recipients are high school dropouts.

The typical AFDC recipient between the ages of 17 and 21 has less than a sixth grade reading level.

Children who live in homes with adults who are unemployed and dropouts are 5-6 times more likely to become dropouts themselves.

Each year, 200,000 people aged 17 and under have children. Eighty percent of children born to teenage parents who have dropped out of school live in poverty.

The more educated the parent and the more economically stable the home, the more learning opportunities are provided for children.

If a child never misses a day of school from first grade to twelfth grade, he or she would have spent only 9% of his or her life in the classroom. Ninety-one percent is spent in the home or out in the community.

Poor 16-19 year old females with below average basic skills are 6 times more likely to have children than their non-poor counterparts with above-average basic skills.

Children's literacy levels are strongly linked to the educational levels of their parents, particularly their mothers.

By the year 2000, 14.2 million (one in four) children will be living in poverty.

At least 25% of all children who live in poverty will be retained in school at least once. These retentions will cost the taxpayers $18 billion annually. Effective family literacy programs significantly reduce retentions among participating children.

Nearly 50% of unwed teen mothers receive welfare within a year of the birth of their first child; 77% receive welfare within 5 years.

Nearly 75% of all children who live in poverty will require extra educational support during their school years. If the cost of such support is estimated at $3,000 per child, the annual cost to taxpayers will exceed $32 billion.

Source: Darling, S. (1995, February 2). Testimony before House Ways and Means Committee. In Progress Report to the Adult Education Network for Family Literacy. Louisville, KY: National Center for Family Literacy.

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