Discussing the Community Voices Survey on Literacy

November 16, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
Tucsonans value literacy so highly that they are willing to increase their taxes to ensure that opportunities to learn are available to all – but particularly to children. That is a key finding of the third Community Voice survey, sponsored by the Tucson Regional Town Hall.

An overwhelming 83 percent of the 429 respondents believe raising literacy levels is critical to Arizona’s success – a finding that shows their belief that a quality education plays a crucial role in individuals’ quality of life as well as the region’s economic development.

But nearly half the respondents “completely disagree” that the state of Arizona has sufficiently invested in educating children. Many respondents further believe Arizona does not have the necessary level of literacy needed to build a sustainable and competitive workforce. As they level this criticism at the state, the respondents don’t let their own community off the hook: Many believe that the Tucson region has failed to demonstrate that literacy is a priority.

The survey findings reveal the attitudes of Tucsonans toward literacy issues as the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, with assistance from several other organizations, is leading a community wide discussion of literacy issues. The intent is to develop a community plan for creating “a culture of literacy,” as was recommended by the Tucson Regional Town Hall participants.

Interestingly, with all the controversy over illegal immigration, still half the respondents completely agree with the statement that literacy for all, regardless of immigration status, should be a priority.

When asked how they would allocate money for different literacy programs if they were in charge of budgeting, 77 percent of the respondents would put the money into programs for children, while 23 percent saw adult remedial education as the highest priority.

The Community Voices surveys were created to allow all Tucsonans a voice on key issues discussed at the Tucson Regional Town Hall, which was held May 6-9. The results from the online surveys are being used in Town Hall follow-up discussions. In these discussions, different groups are reviewing the Town Hall recommendations and developing action plans for improving the Tucson region.

Several additional surveys will be conducted in coming months. Tucsonans interested in signing up for the brief online surveys can do so at www.tucson.com/townhall.