January 4, 2017 5:32 pm
The fourth episode of Stranded by the State, entitled "Adult Literacy" premieres today. A collaboration between In These Times and Kartemquin Films. the series is directed, edited and produced by Kartemquin associate Liz Kaar and explores the human impact of Illinois' budget crisis.
Episode 5: Adult Literacy
Episode 5 of the series examines the effects of the budget crisis on adult educational services in Illinois, with a specific focus on adult literacy classes. We meet Daysi Funes, the Executive Director of Centro Romero, a community-based organization that serves the refugee immigrant population on the northeast side of Chicago. Due to the budget impasse, the organization has laid off 17 English teachers in 2016.
In 2013, 22.7% of Illinois residents spoke a language other than English at home. 1.2 million out of the 10.1 million adults have less than 12 grades of formal education. Children of parents with low literacy skills have a 72% chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves.
In June 2016, the state passed a stopgap funding bill, matching adult education's federal funds for the outgoing year. No state money was authorized for the current fiscal year 2017. But by 2020, 67% of jobs in Illinois will require a post-secondary career certificate or college degree–making the defunding of adult education classes a heavy blow to the future of Illinois' workforce.