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The Current State of
Literacy in Wichita

The following figures represent the current state of literacy in Sedgwick County.

Adults

Adults in Sedgwick County:

More than 45,000 adults have not earned a GED or High School Diploma (US Census Bureau and www.KSDE.org)

More than 72,000 adults are considered to be functionally illiteracy (www.proliteracy.com and US Census Bureau)

Students

Out of 64,384 Students in local school districts:

43,468 students are testing on the lowest two levels of college and career readiness on state testing in English Language Arts (ELA and www.KSDE.org) (67.51%).

47,093 students are testing on the lowest two levels of college and career readiness on state testing in Math (www.KSDE.org).

Schools

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

75% of state inmates are considered to have low literacy skills.

In Sedgewick County High Schools 75% of students score at levels considered not college and career ready.

Students with low literacy scores have a much higher chance of interacting with the criminal justice system.

English Language Arts (ELA)

Students on free or reduced lunches testing on the lowest two levels for college and career readiness (2019):

3rd Grade: 80.70%
5th Grade: 77.75%
6th Grade: 85.02%
8th Grade: 90.07%
High School: 87.75%

Math

Students on free or reduced lunches testing on the lowest two levels for college and career readiness (2019):

3rd Grade: 75.73%
5th Grade: 88.07%
6th Grade: 88.729%
8th Grade: 91.44%
High School: 91.63%

High School: 66.22% score at a Level 1, the lowest possible level.

Economic Impact of Low Literacy:

  • 75% of state inmates have low literacy skills.
  • 70% of welfare recipients have low literacy skills.
  • $225 billion in federal dollars spent on non-productivity, tax revenue loss, and crime.
  • $232 billion in federal dollars in additional health care costs (est. $1.933 billion in Kansas)

In addition to these figures, poverty has increased from 10.1% to 17.3% between the years of 2004 and 2017, due to the lack of education, and income and health needs not being met.

In summary, a low literacy skilled population results in a slower-growing economy and an increase in the number of well-paying jobs remaining unfulfilled.

Support the Movement

With dropout rates increasing and the learning deficit continuing to grow, we must take action. And we need your help.

Please consider donating to Literacy Wichita, attending one of our amazing events or getting involved.