Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Country Of Illiterates

I'm often left wondering what's wrong in this country. Why do people think the way they do. Act the way they do and, especially vote the way they do. Vin Suprynowicz, noted libertarian, author and editor at the Las Vegas Review Journal provides me with some answers to my questions. In past editorials he has taken teachers, their unions and the American educational system to task for their obvious failures. His detractors amongst the teaching elite, and their supporters are quick to whine and attempt to deflect blame away from themselves. It's difficult to admit when you're wrong. Even harder to admit that you have been responsible for damaging untold numbers of children over the years, too.
"Abundant data exist from states like Connecticut and Massachusetts to show that by 1840 the incidence of complex literacy in the United States was between 93 and 100 percent wherever such a thing mattered. According to the Connecticut census of 1840, only one citizen out of every 579 was illiterate, and you probably don't want to know, not really, what people in those days considered literate; it's too embarrassing. ...

"By 1940, the literacy figure for all states stood at 96 percent for whites, 80 percent for blacks. Notice for all the disadvantages blacks labored under, four of five were still literate. Six decades later, at the end of the 20th century, the National Adult Literacy Survey and the National Assessment of Educational Progress say 40 percent of blacks and 17 percent of whites can't read at all. Put another way, black illiteracy doubled, and white illiteracy quadrupled."
It's hard to argue with things like that, though people have tried to do so. The American "educational system" is broken and agenda driven and may not be able to be fixed at all. I live in a town that has a "good" educational system and even so I have noticed that there are teachers in it who can't spell, punctuate or create a grammatically correct sentence or paragraph. My sons third grade teacher was just such a one. She was, by any standard an example of a teacher who should not be allowed to "teach". Radical change is going to be necessary and it must come sooner rather than later if we are to avoid the inevitable slide into irrelevance as a first world nation.

Those currently in power have no intention, or interest in ever changing things. They are vested in the current system and applaud it's further degradation. It's much easier to rule the illiterate. They are at the mercy of those who can read and think and are much more likely to believe the words of pundits and populists. Just look at the last elections results. It also bodes ill for the literate, as well. When you're surrounded by those who can no longer think for themselves your lives and fortunes are also at risk. Easily manipulatable masses can be made to accept anything by the master manipulators who run politics in this country. We're losing generations of people to the current system and if we don't make changes, (other than throwing piles of wasted tax dollars at it) then we will be facing the direst of consequences, a populace that has lost the ability to think and reason.

The time is now. Not tomorrow.

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