Okay, now this is depressing, really depressing.
A recent study shows that very close to one-half of all adults in the city of Detroit, Michigan, cannot read and half of those functionally illiterate folks earned a high school diploma . . . since Detroit is a pretty important population center, even though it’s been losing folks at an alarming rate, this is a big deal.
Now, I have seen some comments out there blaming the Democrats for the state of how things are but actually the education initiatives that gutted actual education were not part of the Democrat initiative, far from it. The real cause is a combination of factors but it’s important to understand that this growing underclass in Detroit is far from unique. Seriously far from unique as the United States in general has seen a striking rise in illiteracy and it seems poised to only get worse – particularly if some of those “budget saving” measures being pushed by Republicans in Washington become policy.
We shouldn’t be laying blame here. A study done in 2007 by the Education Portal, shows the following:
- of the top 20 richest countries, US ranks 14th in literacy
- 50% of adults cannot read a book written at the 8th grade level
- 20% of adults cannot read a book written at the 5th grade level
- Nearly half of Americans read so poorly they cannot find a single piece of information when reading short publications.
- 3 out of 4 folks on welfare can’t read at all
- 20% of Americans read below the level needed to earn a living wage.
- Between 46 and 51% have an income well below the individual poverty level because of their inability to read.
- About 50% read so poorly they cannot perform simple tasks like balancing a checkbook or reading a prescription label.
Let’s not vilify Detroit.
Here’s some more bad news:
- 1/3 of high school graduates never read another book in their lives
- 42% of college graduates never read another book in their lives.
- 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year
- 70% of adults have not been in a bookstore in the last 5 years.
This, in a country where education is free through high school and so are libraries.
That’s just plain scary . . . with numbers like that and an ongoing trend making it likely to continue, American competitiveness in the international market seems likely to collapse and American stability as a nation could become threatened.