Friday, May 6, 2011

Half of Detroit’s Adults are Functionally Illiterate – So Now What?

We talk about educating people about mortgages and foreclosure, but we don’t take into account people’s educational levels. In Detroit about 200,000 adults are functionally illiterate, but hold either a GED or high school diploma. How would you teach them about mortgages/foreclosure, so they had a full understanding of it?


  1. This is a really good point to bring up. Not only are these people less likely to understand their financial options in the first place, but they are much more likely to be targeted by manipulative lenders looking to make a profit, as we've talked about before in class.

  2. Well this is sad and pathetic. How do you possibly get a high school diploma or GED without being able to read. I guess aside from a clear need in education reform we should invest in drawing picture books for these individuals.

  3. One thing we need to keep in mind is that this does not mean these people have a low IQ.
    There could be a lot of factors involved including
    -Lack of interest
    -Dropping out of high school (only required to go until 16)
    -Flaws with the educational system
    -Lure of manual labor jobs that had good pay, but did not require much education
    -Home issues
    -Drugs, pregnancy…
    These are just a few of the factors and I am sure there are many more.
    However the question now what do we do?

  4. I think this is a really good point to bring up because it really contextualizes the mortgage crisis (at least one aspect of it) in a very broad way. So many of our economic problems are inextricably tied up with social problems and I think it is good to always keep that in mind.

  5. I think all schools should have a mandatory class for "Finance 101," and in that way, many people will be able to be smart with their finances whether they are illiterate or not. AT LEAST they took the course...

  6. That's a disaster, and just really tragic. And Kailey is right, 200,000 people don't end up illiterate because of any sequence of personal choices, the failure is clearly at the systematic level. 50% literacy also places Detroit fully 10% behind Haiti, just for reference.

    I wonder if that percentage is so high partly because anyone who can, has left Detroit. The illiterate will have a much harder time leaving for a whole variety of reasons. But if that's a factor, it suggests Detroit's problems are even deeper than we've thought.

  7. Thats sad. To me, that is an indictment of the system. Teachers are afraid to hold students back, because it might be seen as a failure on their part (no child left behind). Some students, apparently 200,000 of them, aren't prepared to be moved on for any number of reasons. Not all of which point to the teacher as the problem.

  8. I am really sad with the last sentence "At this point, though, I’m game for throwing whatever we can at the problem and seeing what sticks."
    This is a very inappropriate approach to solve the problem. Politicians are ruining it even more. Planning is needed.