Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 103 Part 1.djvu/167

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PUBLIC LAW 101-50—JUNE 30, 1989 103 STAT. 139 Public Law 101-50 ^' 101st Congress Joint Resolution June 30, 1989 Designating July 2, 1989, as "National Literacy Day". rg j jj^g ggi Whereas literacy is a necessary tool for survival in our society; Whereas thirty-five million Americans today read at a level which is less than necessary for full survival needs; Whereas there are twenty-seven million adults in the United States who cannot read, whose resources are left untapped, and who are unable to offer their full contribution to society; Whereas illiteracy is growing rapidly, as two million three-hundred thousand persons, including one million two-hundred thousand legal and illegal immigrants, one million high school dropouts, and one hundred thousand refugees, are added to the pool of illiterates annually; Whereas the annual cost of illiteracy to the United States in terms of welfare expenditures, crime, prison expenses, lost revenues, and industrial and military accidents has been estimated at $225,000,000,000; Whereas the competitiveness of the United States is eroded by the presence in the workplace of millions of Americans who are functionally or technologically illiterate; Whereas there is a direct correlation between the number of illit- erate adults unable to perform at the standard necessary for available employment and the money allocated to child welfare and unemployment compensation; Whereas the percentage of illiterates in proportion to population size is higher for blacks and Hispanics, resulting in increased economic and social discrimination against these minorities; Whereas the prison population represents the single highest con- centration of adult illiteracy; Whereas one million children in the United States between the ages of twelve and seventeen cannot read above a third grade level, 13 per centum of all seventeen-year-olds are functionally illiterate, and 15 per centum of graduates of urban high schools read at less than a sixth grade level; Whereas 85 per centum of the juveniles who appear in criminal court are functionally illiterate; Whereas the 47 per centum illiteracy rate among black youths is expected to increase to 50 per centum by 1990; Whereas one-half of all heads of households cannot read past the eighth grade level and one-third of all mothers on welfare are functionally illiterate; Whereas the cycle of illiteracy continues because the children of illiterate parents are often illiterate themselves because of the lack of support they receive from their home environment; Whereas Federal, State, municipal, and private literacy programs have only been able to reach 5 per centum of the total illiterate population;