Advocates take adult literacy funding fight to City Hall

Advocates rallied on the steps of City Hall Tuesday in support of a plan to increase adult literacy program funding by $4 million.Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez

BROOKLYN - Advocates rallied on the steps of City Hall Tuesday in support of a plan to increase adult literacy program funding by $4 million.

Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez has proposed that funds be used for community-based literacy programs. Advocates told the City Council at a hearing Tuesday that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers read and speak limited English. Calvin Miles says it's a problem he knows all to well.

"Even like 'downtown' or 'uptown,' couldn't even read those signs and they're crucial when you're going down in the subway system," Miles said of his past reading struggles. "We need to look at adult literacy like we look at K through 12."

Literacy program directors agree, saying a lack of funding has put them in a tough position. "They keep calling every month [asking] when are the classes? But we have to tell them there are no classes," Luz Villegas said.

It's unclear how much support Gonzalez's measure has with City Councilmembers. The city has until June to finalize the 2008 fiscal budget.

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