Advocacy is speaking up for someone else. Literacy Connexus advocates for persons with literacy needs, sometimes through the legislative process and sometimes by raising awareness in churches and communities. We stand shoulder to shoulder with adult learners, churches, and literacy coalitions across the state and nation, to make a difference in the lives of people who struggle with literacy issues.
Through advocacy, we seek to:
- Bring attention and assistance to many in our state/country who lack basic education:
- High school dropouts–estimated rate as high as 33% in Texas
- Persons who do not speak English
- Children who do not have books at home
- Raise awareness of church-based literacy ministries:
- Importance and effectiveness of this community outreach
- Funding needed
- Resources to promote and recruit volunteers
- Need for more GED classes
The U.S. Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform bill, S. 744, on June 27, 2013. The bill includes a-path-to-citizenship element and increased border-security measures, including doubling the ranks of U.S. Border Patrol officers (about 20,000 more) and 700 miles of total fencing along the border. The bill was crafted by a bipartisan group of Senators known as the Gang of Eight.
Included in the path to citizenship provision is the opportunity for immigrants who have resided in the U.S. since 2011 to apply for registered provisional immigration status. Among other qualifications, immigrants will be required to work lawfully in this country for 10 years, and to then demonstrate knowledge of civics and English. In other words, eligible immigrants will be required to speak English to get a green card.
The U.S. House of Representatives immigration reform bill is H.R. 3163. The bill was assigned to a Congressional Committee on September 20, 2013, which will consider what changes and recommendations to make. Even with changes from the House and other compromises between the House and Senate down the road, it’s unlikely that the provision to learn English will be taken out.
With more than 11 million immigrants in our country being required to learn English for residency, we anticipate a high demand for English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. This is an outreach opportunity for every church in Texas and beyond. See our Church and Community page to learn how you can get involved.
Stay informed through these connections:
The Texas Education Agency reports that Hispanic students in 2011 accounted for 50.2 percent of the state’s public school enrollment, placing that population in the majority for the first time. The continuing growth of the Hispanic sector requires serious reform in Texas’ education system to eliminate the economic, language and technology-access barriers for Spanish-speaking children. Yet Texas lawmakers, faced with a projected $15 billion budget shortfall in the next two years, are discussing public education funding cuts.
Too many in Texas struggle with literacy needs
- Refugees arrive with high hopes and limited resources for learning English and acclimating
- Youth drop out of school, fail to engage, need access to remediation/GED
- Children enter first grade ill-equipped to learn
What You Can Do
Encourage awareness of ethnic diversity in your community, and the accompanying needs of non-English speakers and readers.
Be a voice in your church for the 3.8 million across Texas who lack the literacy skills to earn a living or study a Bible. Promote adult literacy and ESL classes to your church as a means of ministering to families in your neighborhood.