Cuyahoga County Literacy Dashboard

2023 Update

On December 13, The Literacy Cooperative held its 5th annual Cuyahoga County Literacy Dashboard event. TLC President & CEO Bob Paponetti, Vice-President Laureen Atkins-Holliday, and a panel of experts reflected on the past five years of literacy data and provided insight into the recommended next steps and strategies.

Speakers include:

  • Nancy Mendez, President and Chief Executive Officer of Starting Point
  • Stephanie Schab, State Director, Aspire/AEFLA WIOA Title II, Ohio Department of Higher Education
  • Dr. Sandra E. Mitchell-Phipps, State HSE Administrator/Program Administrator 2, Office of Career-Technical Education, Ohio Department of Education & Workforce
  • Elizabeth Kreger, Assistant Director of Adult Options, Office of Career-Technical Education, Ohio Department of Education & Workforce
  • Alex Dorman, Research Fellow, The Center for Community Solutions

Call to actions:

  • Call your legislators and advocate for quality preschools and higher wages for preschool teachers.
  • Reach out to Dr. Mitchell-Phipps about adding more HSE testing sites. Email:, or call: 614.466.4869
  • Share the services available through Aspire and the Ohio Options program within your networks and organizations.

Cuyahoga County’s Literacy Crisis

Data shows the pervasive, county-wide challenge of young children and adults without the skills needed to succeed

Cuyahoga County’s literacy crisis will persist for generations unless progress is accelerated in preparing young children for kindergarten and helping more adult residents secure at least a high school education.

An assessment of the state of literacy in Cuyahoga County done by The Literacy Cooperative found:

  • 42% of all children enrolling in kindergarten in the 2018-19 school year weren’t adequately prepared to succeed
  • More than half of Cuyahoga’s children unprepared for kindergarten are enrolling in suburban school districts

Kindergarten Readiness (2018-2019)

Children unprepared for kindergarten are less likely to read proficiently by the end of third grade ‑ a predictor of later success in school.

And adults without a high school diploma lack the basic literacy and other skills required to access in-demand jobs that offer paths to prosperity.

Low literacy levels pervade all of Cuyahoga County. For example:

  • 10% of all adults, or 101,221 residents, don’t have a high school diploma as of 2017
  • Nearly 40% of those without a high school diploma are ages 18-44
  • 58% of adults (18-44) without a high school diploma live in the city of Cleveland
  • More than half of the young adults (18-24) without a diploma live in the suburbs

Adults without a High School Diploma