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Low US Literacy Rate Costs Billions

Low US literacy rates cost the nation "tens of billions of dollars'' a year while harming the country's economic competitiveness, US manufacturers and literacy experts said. About 30 million adults, about one in 10 Americans, have below-basic English skills, the US Department of Education said in a survey yesterday.

Although literacy rates in the US and other developed countries well exceed those of developing countries, the US performs in the middle of the pack when compared with its main economic partners, according to international studies.

"We benefit tremendously from immigration, and we need to pay attention to the literacy and language skills that immigrants have," said Thomas Bailey, a Professor of Economics and Education at Columbia University's Teachers College. "We need to make sure that this growing segment has the skills for a modern economy."

This article, written by Bloomberg, appeared in the December 17th, 2005 publication of The Financial Express.

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