77th Annual Meeting

SUPPORTING FAMILY LITERACY

WHEREAS, the correlation between income and education has been clearly documented; low education levels combined with low income lead to higher mortality and poorer health, higher incarceration and lower workforce participation; and

WHEREAS, tens of millions of American adults are unable to apply basic reading, writing, and math skills in adult life contexts and millions more are only marginally literate; and

WHEREAS, one in five American workers reads at an eighth-grade level or below; and

WHEREAS, in professions such as health care, retail trade, construction and transportation where employment is rapidly increasing, there will be a greater demand for a better educated, more prepared workforce; and

WHEREAS, the gap between workforce skills and the demands of a 21st century economy will increase exponentially and the cost to the economy in lower productivity and lost production will be astronomical; and

WHEREAS, the United States is a nation of immigrants, comprising of more than 35 million residents born outside the United States; and

WHEREAS, eighteen percent of U.S. households speak a language other than English at home; and

WHEREAS, family literacy is a proven intergenerational approach that improves the literacy, language and life skills of both parents and children; and

WHEREAS, family literacy programs offer the promise for helping to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and low literacy in the Nation; and

WHEREAS, family literacy programs:

  • are a unique and holistic approach that support families most in need, provide a comprehensive, integrated intergeneration literacy program of services that integrates: early childhood education, adult education for parents, and interactive literacy activities between parents and their children; and training for parents regarding how to be the primary teacher for their children and full partners in the education of their children; and

    WHEREAS, children who grow up in "literacy rich" households - environments where they observe the people around them using their reading, writing and communication skills have a demonstrated head start in school; and

    WHEREAS, research establishes that children participating in family literacy programs come to school better prepared, attend school more regularly, achieve higher standardized test scores in reading, language, and math, and are more likely to complete their education; and

    WHEREAS, children whose parents are involved, do better in school and are much more likely to succeed,

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors recommends that federal, state, and local governments expand their support for family literacy programs; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress to authorize and designate appropriations for family literacy programs.