I briefly mentioned in my last post that one obstacle for parental involvement in literacy efforts is not knowing the language. We often hear the claim that immigrants are lazy and don't want to learn English, even for their children. Here are some stats that might counter that, again from the National Institute for Literacy:
The National Household Education Survey, 1994-95, found that for civilian, non-institutionalized adults, aged 16 or over, whose primary language at home was not English:
* 64.5% did not enroll in ESL classes in the previous 12 months and were not interested in taking any,
* 10.8% took ESL classes in the previous 12 months,
* 15.5% did not take classes, but were very interested in taking classes, and
* 9.2% did not take classes and were somewhat/slightly interested in taking classes.
Of the 64.5% who did not enroll in ESL classes in the previous 12 months and were not interested in taking any:
* 19.0% of these adults reported that they read English "very well,"
* 18.4% reported that they read English "well,"
* 14.2% "not well," and
* 12.9% "not at all."
Now, I want to note that this isn't discussing immigrants in particular, but I think it can certainly be applied to them since many immigrants don't speak English at home. Using that inference, we can take a look at these stats a bit. Based on this, we see that, yes, the majority of these people do not take ESL classes and have no plans on taking any. But reading the reasons for this shows why -- a lot of them also speak English "very well" or "well."
Another stat indicates what stands in the way of those who aren't taking ESL classes:
Of this same population, the main barriers to participation in ESL classes were:
* 40.1% time,
* 26.0% money/cost,
* 23.4% child care or transportation, and
* 10.6% other barriers.
Male adults reported that time was the greatest barrier to participation. The greatest reported barriers for the female population were childcare and transportation.
Again we see more of these same things popping up: time, money, child care, all feeding into this cycle preventing children and adults to reach their full potential in their reading skills and reading comprehension.