The 2000 U.S. Census reports 30,000 people live in Inkster, and Inkster has 11,169 households. “ The State of Literacy In America” (1998) National Institute for Literacy reports 38 percent of adults who live in Inkster are functionally illiterate, compared to 17 percent in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, an adjacent community.
The “Making America Work” (1997) National Governors’ Association Task Force on Adult Literacy, reports illiteracy is an intergenerational problem, following a parent-child pattern. Poor school achievement and dropping out before completing school are commonplace among children of illiterate parents.
Illiteracy is rooted in poverty. The 1999 U.S. Census reports 19.5 % of Inkster’s families live below the poverty line, compared to 12.5 % in Michigan. The National Center for Family Literacy says children from low-income families have access to fewer age appropriate books in their household and often have a parent who is a struggling reader. Illiteracy is directly linked to low academic performance and increased drop out rates.
The most important factors to language acquisition are the economic advantages of children's homes and the frequency of language experiences (Betty Hart and Todd Risley (1995) “Meaningful Differences” Brookes Publishing). By age 4, children who live in poverty will have heard 32 million fewer words than children living in professional families, according to the National Center for Family Literacy.