July 20, 1992 PRESIDENT + MRS. BUSH: WORKING FOR LITERACY +quot;Literacy opens the door to
July 20, 1992
PRESIDENT & MRS. BUSH: WORKING FOR LITERACY
"Literacy opens the door to the realm of ideas and enables us
to enjoy the rewards of lifelong learning... That is why we
will continue to reach out to the millions of Americans who
remain encumbered by poor literacy skills."
President George Bush
July 2, 1991
"A literate work force is crucial to the future of our
economy. And the future of our children rests on the literacy
of their parents who are their first teachers. The future of
our democracy depends on an informed literate populace."
President George Bush
July 25, 1991
o President and Mrs. Bush have been personally involved for
years in promoting literacy. They understand that our
Nation's future depends on the education of all our people --
education that begins with literacy.
o Since 1989, the President has recognized as Daily Points of
Light 44 individuals or community groups for their
contributions to fighting illiteracy.
o The President believes our Nation's schools need to be
committed to excellence, providing all children and youths
with basic reading and writing skills. Similarly, all adults
in and out of the workforce must have opportunities for
lifelong learning -- the chance to learn skills they need to
compete and succeed as parents, workers, and citizens.
o In setting the agenda for education reform, the President and
the Nation's Governors agreed that one of the six National
Education Goals be to ensure that every adult will be literate
by the year 2000.
o As part of the President's AMERICA 2000 strategy to meet the
education goals, 44 states and over 1,400 communities across
America have adopted the President's goals.
o President and Mrs. Bush have worked in real and direct ways to
speed progress toward this National Goal. The President has
supported federal literacy programs that produce results for
children while offering their parents opportunities to learn
as well. At the President's direction, funding for these
family literacy programs has more than quadrupled, while funds
for adult literacy programs have nearly doubled.
The President's Policy Goal
o The President, together with the Nation's Governors, set six
National Education Goals. Goal Five states, "By the year
2000, every adult American will be literate and will possess
the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global
economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of
citizenship." This goal emphasizes a strength of commitment
to national literacy that has not been voiced in such a direct
way by any other President.
o The President's goal addresses the fact that anunacceptably
high number of American -- estimated by some at 27 million --
have problems with literacy.
o A major step toward the goal was to sign into law an historic
national commitment to literacy -- the National Literacy Act
of 1991. The Act emphasized a strong Federal role of
leadership and coordination by creating a National Institute
for Literacy. It affects positively every region and State by
providing for state literacy resource centers, and includes a
National Workforce Literacy Assistance Collaborative for
workplace literacy assistance.
o By raising awareness of our literacy needs, the President has
encouraged new initiatives in all sectors of society -- public
and private -- to improve literacy and promote American
-- The United Auto Workers and General Motors have begun an
"Employee Excellence Development Program" to raise the
company's level of competitiveness and address literacy
needs in the workplace.
-- Organizations such as Performance Plus Learning
Consultants provide workplace training for companies like
Motorola to ensure employees' literacy and to increase
-- Corporations such as Texaco are making contributions to
organizations that improve literacy.
-- Most libraries now have literacy training programs for
-- The Army has worked with public school systems to
increase literacy levels among those in the military.
-- The Entergy Corporation of New Orleans has developed an
interactive computer system which provides literacy
training to adults and adolescents in rural areas.
National Literacy Act of 1991
o The National Literacy Act provides a strong framework for
building a more literate America, but the results depend on
those doing the teaching, training, coordinating, and
learning. Literacy organizations, businesses, the military,
labor organizations, and our schools all have a direct role in
reaching our Nation's literacy goal by establishing networks,
providing input, and working together in carrying out
o The National Institute for Literacy is instrumental in helping
the Nation's businesses become visionary planners, organizers,
promoters, innovators, and leaders in the literacy challenge.
o The President has emphasized his commitment to expanding
literacy with funding increases for literacy programs each
year that he has been in office. The President's proposed
funding for literacy programs for Fiscal Year 1993 was $443
million, a 127 percent increase since the beginning of the
o Literacy funding as a percentage of total Federal educational
funding will have increased by 61 percent from fiscal years
1989 to 1993, if the President's proposal is enacted.
o Including the President's 1993 Budget request, funding for
adult literacy education will have increased by 83 percent
since 1989. This funding supports:
-- National Institute for Literacy Research and
-- State Grants and National Programs,
-- Workplace Literacy,
-- Literacy for Homeless Adults,
-- State Literacy Resource centers, and
-- National Institute for Literacy.
o Including the President's 1993 Budget request, funding for
family literacy programs including Even Start and Family
English Literacy will have increased by 380% since 1989.
Other funding is provided to schools and libraries nationwide.
o The President's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 1993 includes
$90 million for the Even Start family literacy program. First
funded under the Bush Administration, Even Start programs now
operate in every State. Even Start programs ensure that young
at-risk children obtain the skills they need to succeed in
school, and that parents improve their educational skills.
This increases the opportunity for children to escape poverty
or welfare dependency and promotes parental responsibility.
Barbara Bush and Literacy
o For more than a decade, Mrs. Bush has worked for a more
literate America by raising public awareness and encouraging
greater support for literacy. Even before entering the White
House, she had participated in more than 500 events and trips
for literacy. Mrs. Bush has visited schools throughout the
country, and has spoken to a wide range of literacy advocates
in both public and private service and civic organizations
about the need to help. Mrs. Bush also has lent her active
support to hundreds of literacy programs and events. The
President and Mrs. Bush have participated in two nationally
televised National Literacy Honors ceremonies -- recognizing
the accomplishments of exemplary students and helpers in
literacy initiatives. Mrs. Bush has donated the after-tax
royalties from the sale of her two books, C. Fred's Story and
Millie's Book, to adult and family literacy efforts.
o Most recently, Mrs. Bush has focused heavily on the importance
of family literacy and the need for parents to read to their
children. She has participated in "Mrs. Bush's Storytime," a
radio program designed to encourage family reading. Stories
from these programs are currently available on audio cassette.
o As a direct result of Mrs. Bush's interest, private donors
created the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which
seeks to break the intergenerational cycle of poor literacy
and make literacy a value in every American home. Mrs. Bush
is the active honorary chair of the Foundation.
o The Foundation makes grants to programs that serve the
literacy needs of both parents and children. One example is
the funding provided to Head Start programs to teach parents
to read at the same time that their children begin to learn,
and to help parents become involved with their children's
school readiness. The Foundation has also produced and
distributed thousands of copies of the pamphlet "Barbara
Bush's Family Reading Tips," a simple guide for parents to use
in creating their own tradition of reading with their
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EXTRA FACTS ON LITERACY
o The President and Mrs. Bush have spoken forcefully for greater
parental involvement in children's education. Foremost among
their concerns is the need for parents to read to their
children. As Mrs. Bush has frequently observed, "What
parents teach in their house is more important than what
happens at the White House".
o Mrs. Bush established The Barbara Bush Foundation For Family
Literacy in March of 1989. The foundation is halfway to
achieving its endowment goal of $25 million.
o The Foundation grants $500,000 a year to family literacy
projects to support literacy training for children and adults.
One example of these grants is funding provided to Head Start
programs to teach parents to read at the same time that their
children begin to learn so parents can be involved with their
children's school readiness.
o Close to $1 million in after-tax royalties from sales of
Millie's Book, authored by Mrs. Bush, have been given to The
Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation.
o Mrs. Bush is the active Chair of her foundation, raising funds
and coordinating new initiatives. In recognition of her
personal commitment to literacy and the real difference she
has made in the lives of thousands of Americans, Mrs. Bush
serves as the Honorary Chair for virtually every national
literacy project nationwide.
o Mrs. Bush, through her own literacy foundation, has worked
tirelessly to design new literacy initiatives, to extend the
reach of existing literacy programs to at-risk children and
working adults, and to promote family learning. In addition,
Mrs. Bush has devoted nearly $1 million in after-tax royalties
from publication of her own book to literacy initiatives.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank