To the editor:
An alarming issue is at hand in the black community. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) only 10 percent of eighth grade black male youths of student age in the U.S. can read at a proficient level.
For example, in 2011, the reading levels for black boys at the grade eight reading levels for some of the largest performing American school districts highlighted this concern.
This has become a national as well as a local issue.
We observed that in Baltimore, it is 7 percent; Cleveland, 3 percent; Los Angeles, 9 percent; Hillsborough County, Florida 9 percent; Miami-Dade, 11 percent; New York City, 13 percent; and the District of Columbia (DC), 6 percent. (From a survey conducted by Dr. Michael Holzman).
What will happen to the other 90 percent.
There are profound repercussions for us all. For instance, with a lack of proper education, we will have to address in the future: How will they support their families, how will they qualify for the few and competitive jobs that exists, how will they build and help to stabilize our communities, how will they serve as role models, will our daughters marry? How can the black community survive if the children cannot read?
Will black male youths become extinct after a generation, and will they continue to make up the majority population in the prison system?
Believe me, we cannot arrest or incarcerate our way out of the many problems that we could face with this dilemma.
We owe it to ourselves to begin addressing this issue especially since it predicted that there will be an increase in our school population.
Finally, I have visited the East County Regional Library on Gunnery Road in Lehigh Acres only to observe that the library has become a hangout place for social gathering. Maybe we need to include reading at the library as part of the core curriculum for this might eventually eliminate the need for armed security at this location.