Under the Radar: A Closer Look at a Surprising Underlying Cause of Unemployment

The National Youth Employment Coalition shared a report that links unemployment and poverty to literacy.

“43% of adults who live in poverty are of low literacy… Furthermore, in the long run, people with low literacy skills are 16.5 times more prone to rely on welfare and other forms of income support.”

While this by itself may not be surprising, an explanation for why students in the same grade have different reading abilities is.

” Professor of Urban Education at the University of Illinois Chicago, noted that most teachers (roughly two-thirds) place students according to reading levels and not grade levels… Due to this phenomenon, countless students are not offered opportunities to interact with challenging materials and concepts that they may be capable of learning and understanding, because most of them are promoted throughout the years without gaining the necessary basic literacy and reading comprehension skills.”

It is disappointing to think that children who are placed in the lower-level reading groups have a higher chance of earning lower wages later in life. Hopefully this can inspire new educational practices to increase the reading levels of all students.


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