ERIC Number: ED242826
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Dec-2
Reference Count: 0
Illiteracy in the Hispanic Community. Statement of Francisco Garza, Legislative Director, National Council of La Raza, Before the Subcommittee on Post Secondary Education of the House Education and Labor Committee.
Garza, Francisco; Orum, Lori S.
Substantial numbers of Hispanic Americans cannot complete school or compete effectively for jobs because of less than adequate literacy in English. Before anything can be done about this, our definitions of literacy and illiteracy need to be reworked. The conventional definition of literacy as the completion of fifth grade ignores the changing demands of life in the United States, and the tremendous variation among types of illiterates in the population in general and the Hispanic community in particular. Such a simplistic definition misclassifies those who may have left school but are still literate, those who managed to complete school but are functionally illiterate, and those who are literate in another language but not yet proficient in English (these last are not illiterate; they are monolingual and have different needs). Some Hispanic "illiterates" have never become literate or developed strong language skills in either language. Others with limited ability to read and write effectively in English are products of our own public schools which have, in effect, perpetuated their illiteracy by concentrating on oral English skills and neglecting comprehension, reading, and writing. Clearly, adequate programs to combat illiteracy cannot be designed until we analyze exactly what it is we are trying to deal with. (CMG)
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Council of La Raza, Washington, DC.
Note: Presented on behalf of the National Council of La Raza and the Hispanic Higher Education Coalition.