Roughly one half of Alabama students struggle with reading, according to state educators. Birmingham News analysis of the 2008-09 Alabama high school graduation exam shows that 130 public high schools either failed reading or were classified as "borderline" failing, based on 11th-graders' performance on that exam. The analysis involved 367 high schools.
In the Birmingham area, 32 high schools failed or "borderline" failed the reading portion of the graduation exam. City schools fared the worst in the state. Five out of seven high schools failed reading outright and another was borderline failing.