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One-Third of Adults in This Major American City Struggle to Read and Write

Here’s how the mayor is trying to fix that. #projectliteracy

Image via Flickr user philaliteracy (cc)

Of America’s largest metropolitan areas, the City of Brotherly Love ranks near the top in a less than ideal way, claiming one of the highest rates of functional illiteracy in the country. An estimated half a million adult residents—or nearly one-third of the population—operate below basic education levels. And with 27 percent of the city’s population living in poverty, an astonishing number of individuals lack the basic skills necessary to advance out of their circumstances, whether within post-secondary programs or into gainful employment.

That’s where the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy enters the equation. Though originally assembled in 1983, the Commission was refocused in 2011 by the city’s current mayor, Michael Nutter—around the time the Philadelphia Inquirer called out illiteracy as the scourge of Philadelphia. Today, the Commission leads the nation when it comes to using technology for large-scale adult work-readiness, while working closely with other adult literacy and education initiatives across the city to combat the issues that stem from low literacy.

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