Solving the Puzzle of Illiteracy
Illiteracy in the United States continues to be one of the most puzzling topics we face. When the subject is placed at the attention of fellow Americans we all ponder the same question: How can we end illiteracy? According to Do Something.org over 2/3 of American children are illiterate. This percentage is even higher in the minority communities. It is estimated that over 75% of minority communities are affected by some form of illiteracy.
In the world america ranks as number 22 in literacy(http://www.indexmundi.com/g/r.aspx?c=us&v=39). According to (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/literacy) literacy is the ability to read and write. While most of the people in america are literate they vary according to how literate they are. What is elementary to us may be surprisingly difficult to someone else. In America although the literacy rate is 99%(http://www.reference.com/motif/society/literacy-rate-in-america) 3,109,120 people in America or 1% of the population is unable to read and write. Texas itself has 3 out of 5 of the least literate cities in America! No wonder people think being from texas makes you stupid. (http://time.com/9549/the-5-least-literate-cities-in-america/). Out of 75 cities Corpus ranks number 74 in literacy. That means that we are next to last not second place. According to Wall Street Corpus is almost the most illiterate in America.
The International Reading Association reports that a recent government study of adult literacy shows that 47 percent of American adults have such limited literacy skills they can neither use a bus schedule nor write a brief letter about a billing error (qtd. in Goldstein 2). Another point of view is expressed in Paul Gray's article in which he reports that the Educational Testing Service released a 150-page survey called Adult Literacy in America. The results of the survey points out that nearly ninety million U.S. citizens over the age of sixteen are, in the eyes of most employers, quite clearly not good employee material (qtd. in Educational Testing Service 75). These recent discoveries have emphasized that illiteracy's three shocking outcomes are related to: social ranks, effects on education, and economic results.
In the essay “The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society,” written by Jonathan Kozol, and published in Readings for Writers in New York in 2013, the author raises awareness to those willing to take action against the dangers of illiteracy in a society where one cannot thrive without such an ability. Throughout the writing, the author uses many powerful and intimate accounts of people who are illiterate and the times in which they were deemed helpless, as a tool to help the audience better understand the problem at hand. Mr. Kozol implements statistics as definitive evidence to show just how many persons are unable to read the written word. As another illustration of the dilemma still plaguing America to this day, he brings to light the
Summary of “The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society”
Throughout the writing The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society by Jonathan Kozol, Illiterate America, published in New York City 1985, a question is brought to understanding that many American citizens haven’t worried or been concerned about asking themselves. What is it like to be illiterate? When we think of Illiterate-America, we often think of the votes that aren’t cast and of the un-informed decisions regarding who those said, are voting for. Jonathan Kozol brought to light some of the many problems that loom overhead one without a written language.
For an illiterate adult, choice is abated in all aspects of life.
Think of a situation where someone needs help. They are doing something wrong, and they have the potential to improve upon it. One person may not even realize something is not right in the first place. Another person may indeed realize that they are doing something wrong and will seek out help to correct it. However, someone else may be aware that they are doing something wrong, but they refuse to seek help and continue anyway. This is the situation that America faces when it comes to illiteracy in relation to crime. It has been proven over time that those who are illiterate tend to commit more crimes than those who are not. The reaction of those who commit these crimes vary depending on their
Literacy, or the capability to comprehend, translate, utilize, make, process, assess, and speak information connected with fluctuating settings and displayed in differing organizations, assumes an essential part in molding a young's persons trajectory in life. The ability to read speaks to a key factor of scholarly, social, and financial success (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998). These abilities likewise speak to a fundamental segment to having a satisfying life and turning into an effective worker and overall person (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1999). Interestingly, recent studies have demonstrated that low reading skills lead to critical hindrances in monetary and social achievement. As stated by the National Center for Education Statistics, adults with lower levels of reading skills and literacy have a lower average salary. Another study evaluated that 17 to 18 percent of adults with "below average" literacy aptitudes earned less than $300 a week, though just 3 to 6 percent of adults with "proficient" reading abilities earned less than $300 a week (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998).
In the essay “The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society” in Readings Jonathan Kozol says that illiteracy is one of the major problems with the world. People who have poor literacy have trouble with simple task that others would not even take a second thought about. For example, they have trouble with something as simple as a note that their child brings home from their teacher. Kozol blames most of this issue on the government and the presidents who did not inforce some kind of law against not getting an education.
“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; you have fed him for a lifetime” (http://www.amatecon.com/fish.html). This quote can be applied to illiteracy in America; basically someone illiterate cannot live on their own until they have been taught the basics, reading and writing. According to Kozol’s essay The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society the government, administration, and people of high power live by the beginning of the quote (Kozol, The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society). They help someone illiterate make a living until the person is out of their control. Yet the government, administrations, and society maintain control through illiteracy.
Imagine for a minute that one day you wake from a nights sleep to find nothing as it was, you don't know where you are, the people around you, or any aspect of your life that you were so sure of the night before. Imagine the feeling of confusion and uncertainty that a situation of that sort would have. This chaos is not far from what millions of illiterates feel on a daily basis.