From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
April 15, 1997
Contact: Rick Svataro, (512) 463-0113

Ellis Amendment Increases Funds for Community-based Adult Literacy Programs.

AUSTIN, Tx. -- State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) today won approval for an amendment to legislation aimed at dedicating lottery revenues to education (Senate Bill 105 by Nelson) that would target one percent of gross lottery revenues to support community-based adult literacy programs in Texas. According to Ellis, adult illiteracy in Texas is a serious problem that threatens the state's economic future.

"Adult literacy programs are a vital part of moving families from welfare to work," Ellis said. "Citizens who have the ability to read and participate in lifelong learning will be more likely to succeed in a quickly changing and challenging 21st century global economy."

Ellis amended legislation by State Senator Jane Nelson (R- Flower Mound) that would dedicate lottery revenues to the Texas Foundation School Fund which provides funds for public education in Texas. The legislation was approved by the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Dedicating Lottery Revenues.

"Community-based literacy programs are essential to support Texans who fall through the cracks in our traditional education system," Ellis said. "Dedicating a portion of lottery revenues will help make literacy services available to every adult Texan who needs them."

Texas Adult Literacy Facts:

Half of Texas AFDC recipients have literacy skills lower than those required for above minimum wage entry level jobs (Texas Adult Literacy Survey).

According to the 1994 Texas Adult Literacy Survey, more than 6 million Texas adults are functionally illiterate. Nationally, Texas ranks second behind California in the population of under-educated adults, and the state's current appropriation for adult literacy is one of the lowest in the nation.

Number of Under-Educated Adults by State Adult Education Appropriations 1995
California $450 million
Texas $9 million
New York $50 million
Florida $250 million