At least 20 million children are "Lost to Illiteracy!"
What does that mean, and how do we know?
If a child can't read past 6th grade level, it may mean they won't finish high school. Twenty-four percent of all American children drop out of high school! If a student drops out of high school, what kind of job can they expect to get? Many high school drop outs and illiterate teens and young adults turn to crime. Anecdotally, 70% of all convicted felons are considered either completely or functionally illiterate, unable to fill out a job application, a medical form or write a simple thank you letter.
A functionally illiterate adult cannot obtain, let alone maintain a white collar job which requires proficiency in reading, writing, email and computer skills, etc. Illiterate and functionally illiterate adults have reading, writing, speaking and general communication deficiencies that can impact them economically, as well as in their personal and professional relationships throughout their entire lives.
According to the U.S. Government's own statistics, the U.S. Government's Annual Report card, 22% of ALL 8th grade students are COMPLETELY illiterate and another 42% are considered "functionally illiterate." Together that adds up to 64% of America's public school students who will either drop out or graduate without EVER becoming proficient in reading.
According to https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372, in 2017 50.7 million students attended public school in grades pre-k through 12.
Of those 50.7 million, approximately 34.7 million attended grades 3 through 12 (students who should be reading).
Since 24% of all public school students drop out between grades 9-12 that equates to approximately 22.7 million in grades 3-8.
Because 64% of students in grade 8 (and about the same percent in grade 3 and all grades in between) are reading below proficiency or even, below basic, that means 14.5 million children currently enrolled in America's public schools who should be reading are instead, either completely or functionally illiterate.
If every 3rd through 8th grade chunk of our public school population harbors 5 million completely illiterate kids, then that means that from 1994-2018, America has produced 20 million COMPLETELY ILLITERATE "students" and 58 million "functionally illiterate" students and young adults!
Like many other crises in our nation, we have a hidden literacy crisis of enormous proportions that has permeated the entire Millennial Generation and is working it's way through the next group of children, Generation Z. Still don't believe it? Watch this February, 2017 Johns Hopkins presentation on the Adolescent Literacy Crisis in America. (Statistics are quoted at minute 7:50).