HOUSTON – Neil Bush, founder and co-chair of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, said his mom be “thrilled” seeing that an effort to combat illiteracy among children and adults was announced in Houston on Tuesday.
“She would love this. She would love this day,” he said. “She’s been a passionate advocate for literacy just generally, but specifically for adult literacy. ... Adult literacy is critical for breaking the intergenerational cycle of low literacy and poverty in this city.”
Barbara Bush died at the age of 92 in April 2018.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, along with the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, announced the joint initiative to increase adult literacy rates in the city with the opening of the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy.
“This is very, very personal,” Turner said, highlighting his own parents’ issues with literacy.
Turner said his parents couldn’t help him with schoolwork and that he had to often teach himself.
“If we want all of our people in our cities to be part of the opportunities that we are creating every single day. We must literally wipe out illiteracy in our city,” he said, noting that one in three Houston adults is functionally illiterate, which he called an “alarming number.”
“It’s not just about educating the young. We must also address the illiteracy among adults,” he said.
In addition to Turner, the newly-announced director of the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy Federico Salas-Isnardi spoke, as well as Bush, Cat Tramuto Tobin, manager at Deloitte. Rhea Brown Lawson, director of Houston Public Library also attended the event.