Sept. 8 is International Literacy Day. Founded in 1967 by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, this day focuses attention on the need to promote worldwide literacy.
Students at Literacy Outreach and 30 million other Americans struggle daily with the painstaking task of deciphering simple, yet distressingly important, messages. UNESCO estimates that nearly 800 million people or one-fifth of the world’s adult population do not know how to read or write. Women make up two-thirds of this number.
Literacy is the ability to read, write, compute and use technology at a level that enables an individual to reach his or her full potential as a parent, employee and community member.
There is a correlation between a low literacy rate and a low paycheck. Just 35 percent of individuals with below basic skills are employed full time, while 64 percent in the proficient category have full-time jobs. Minimum wage workers increased wages by 18 to 25 percent within 18 months of exiting an adult education program.
Fourteen percent of the country’s adult population cannot read and write above a fifth-grade level. When compared to other industrialized nations, the U.S. ranks behind Poland, Slovenia, Hungary, Switzerland, Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Japan, Tonga and Bosnia Herzegovina. Nearly two-thirds of the projected new jobs in the United States will most likely be filled by workers with some post-secondary education.
With everyone’s help, we can teach local adults to read product and employee manuals, pill bottles, warning labels, job applications, ballots, school reports and their own children’s notes. To volunteer, please visit http://www.literacyoutreach.org for upcoming tutor training dates. Along with guided instruction, our volunteers help adults overcome the shame and fear that accompanies functional illiteracy. These struggling spouses, parents and employees live and pay taxes with us in Garfield County. The more successful they become, the less stress they create on social services, law enforcement, schools, their families, all of us. We all benefit from a literate community.
If you can read this, you can help.
Literacy Outreach director
Sharon Brenner in her letter of Sept. 2 has put me in the position of defending Sen. Harry Reid, which is not something I care to do; though I bet Sharon and I can possibly agree that his new articulating of a stance is preferable to his past zombie-like lack of demonstrations.
As Sharon knows, all the budgets and any revenue bills originate, per the Constitution, in the House. Since there is fundamental disagreement about the Path to Prosperity, also know as the Ryan plan, and who would become prosperous and who would be left behind under this plan, the budget was rejected by the Senate. The Wall Street Journal, surely a no-nonsense publication in Sharon’s estimation, found a 22 percent approval rate as opposed to a 31 percent disapproval rate of this plan. One could say the Senate was fairly representing its constituency.
But on to Scott Tipton, whose voting record is published in the Denver Post. (You don’t hear much about him in the New York Times.) I sent Mr. Tipton an email shortly after his election to which he replied with a phone call. I was totally taken aback as no federal representative, Democrat or Republican, has ever called to personally acknowledge my input. I recovered enough to remember that Mr. Tipton had always been loudly and proudly against the Affordable Health Care Act, and to ask him what it was in the plan he was against. He pleasantly said he would get back to me on that. He had been elected saying he was against this Obama idea but could not articulate why. Needless to say Mr. party pants did not call back, whether he figured it out or not. Since then he has not proven himself as an exceptional legislative thinker, by any measure.
Sharon, by the way, what do you think about the influence of money on politics; specifically oil and gas money on local politics?
That the presidential race is a virtual tie means millions of Americans plan to vote against their financial interests. They do so in part because of confusion about the economy.
The Great Recession was caused by borrowers, brokers, lenders and financiers gambling that housing prices would rise forever. Complex financial instruments and shoddy lending practices led to impending collapse of the financial system. The choice lay between a government bailout of banks “too big to fail” or a second Great Depression. Fortunately, the Bush and Obama administrations chose the former. Still, this recession is one of the worst in history.
The last three recessions have been followed by “jobless” recoveries. In each, the mid-wage, mid-skill jobs decreased and the low-wage jobs increased as percentages of the market. Crashing housing values have added to the precipitous drop in disposable income for the middle class.
Nonpartisan estimates are that it will take a decade or more for the middle-class to de-leverage. Blaming the president for not fixing the economy in less than four years is short-sighted. Without the rescues of the banks and General Motors and without the maintenance of low-interest rates by the Fed, unemployment would be higher than it is. Increased assistance with food stamps and unemployment compensation has saved many families from hunger and ruin.
Jobs in the private sector will not return in great numbers until consumer demand increases significantly, which will not occur until disposable income and confidence increase. The failure of the Tea Party-dominated House to pass the president’s Jobs Act was counterproductive. Government spending to upgrade national infrastructure is a win-win proposition. Tax breaks for lower-income and middle class citizens stimulate consumption. Studies show the wealthy are more likely to save than spend in these circumstances.
The Republicans’ economic plan raises taxes on the middle class. It would de-regulate the banks. The Democrats’ plan cuts middle-class taxes and keeps the Dodd-Frank reforms in place.
The choices are obvious. Re-elect President Obama and replace Scott Tipton with Sal Pace.
This is in response to the letter from Danielle Gillman published in the Sept. 4 edition of the Post Independent.
While Ms. Gillman was indeed a victim of check fraud, her memory of the case does not square with reality. She claims that she left numerous messages with the office of the District Attorney “to no avail,” and that she “never received a phone call.”
These statements are simply untrue. Case records belie the allegations of Ms. Gillman and confirm that there were no less than 21 contacts made by this office with Ms. Gillman. These contacts included personal visits, letters, e-mails, phone calls, phone messages, and personal contacts in court.
Ms. Gillman should check the record before leveling false allegations against the conscientious and hard-working professionals – prosecutors and victim/witness assistants alike – who have dedicated themselves to helping victims of crime such as Ms. Gillman.
The fog of political partisanship oftentimes does not travel down the path of truth. This, apparently, is one of those times. If you’re wondering about the person who actually committed the crime, that person was convicted of check fraud and ordered to pay more than $3,200 in restitution. Justice pursued, and achieved, for the victim.
Martin Beeson, district attorney
9th Judicial District
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