Education experts with ProLiteracy in Syracuse say the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) adult aptitude report should serve as a wake-up call for the United States education system.
The PIAAC found that low literacy skills continue to be a major problem in the U.S., with one in six adults having low reading skills and nearly one third of adults in the U.S. have significant deficiencies in working with numbers.
Further, the study indicates that little improvement has been seen over the last two decades, when scores of the oldest participants are compared with the scores of the youngest, and social and economic backgrounds continue to have a strong influence on basic skill levels in the United States.
Peter Waite, Executive Vice President at ProLiteracy, discussed how the U.S. compared with other industrialized countries in the world, and said that the picture painted in the report results was a grim one:
Waite said that the study also has clear implications on a local level. Using the findings, ProLiteracy's goal locally is to partner with programs and organizations to bring additional awareness to the current state of American literacy education. "Often, the issue gets pushed aside with other more immediate social concerns and political dynamics. It's our hope is that the study is going to shed some significant light on the real needs right here in the Syracuse community and find new ways to garner additional support, resources, and attention."
In light of the findings, ProLiteracy hopes to renew the strength behind its education and advocacy efforts nationwide, to attract more resources. ProLiteracy President and CEO Kevin Morgan said in a release Tuesday that "Adult literacy and basic education program are crucial to alleviating poverty and putting Americans back to work. We urge President Obama, the Department of Education, Congress and the private sector to invest more resources into adult literacy and basic education... the time for this investment is now. It is critical, and can no longer be ignored."