If those who cannot read face a hostile world, the costs are equally great for society at large. Economies run on knowledge. Countries compete in a world defined by information. Consider the following:
Consequences of illiteracy, such as poor school performance, low high school and college attendance and graduation rates, ensure that low-paying employment continues the cycle of unrealized personal and economical success, disempowering individuals and their families. Laura Bush and Irina Bokova underscore the interconnectedness of these issues in a recent article. They point out that those who cannot read are vulnernable to ill health, are more subject to exploitation, get paid less, and are otherwise positioned to fall far short of their potential. Only successful efforts to reduce illiteracy will promote true equality.
Compelling statistics underscore the critical link between illiteracy and incarceration:
It does not end there. Here is still more evidence of the horrific consequences of illiteracy: