High poverty level affecting RGV literacy rates

6 months 3 weeks 6 days ago Tuesday, July 25 2023 Jul 25, 2023 July 25, 2023 2:11 PM July 25, 2023 in News - Local

The Rio Grande Valley's illiteracy rate goes hand in hand with a lack of education in the area.

"42 percent is a big amount of illiterate people that can't read or write and can't fill out an application," RGV Literacy Center Director Diana Farias said.

A new WalletHub study has the Valley ranked among the worst educated in the country.


"My father he didn't go to the university, my grandparents neither," Alec Zamora said.

Zamora broke the generational trend in his family and graduated with a degree in Education. He's now teaching at the RGV Literacy Center to help others improve their literacy.

"I'm grateful to be a part of this and also like happiness to see them continue their academic journey," Zamora said.

According to a recent study by Wallet Hub, in the McAllen, Edinburg and Mission area only 14.16 percent of people obtained a GED or higher.

While in the Brownsville to Harlingen area, the number decreases to 11.21 percent. These numbers are some of the lowest in the state.

"There is a direct correlation between high levels of poverty and low educational attainment," UTRGV Assistant Professor of Sociology Amie Bostic said. "A lot of students here usually end up dropping out of school because they need to make money."

Something Farias says happens too often. In Hidalgo County alone, 33 percent of people drop out of high school.

"The main thing that they say is that they couldn't do it because I have to step out of school to help my parents raise my family," Farias said. 

The RGV Literacy Center welcomes people 18 years and older. They are welcome to have a seat to improve their literacy in both reading, writing and computer literacy. All they have to do is go to the website and sign up for the classes.

Farias says in the RGV, about 42 percent of people are considered to be illiterate. 

According to professor Bostic, increasing literacy rates starts with educating the next generation.

Watch the video above for the full story.

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