Thursday, October 29, 2009

Who's Reading?

Everyone reads, says Seed Magazine. Are we truly entering an age when pretty much everyone can read? God, I want to believe that.

I love books like some people love God. The rising generation does seem far more literate. Other Americans seem to agree.

The reality is more gritty:
Consider that 80% of the prison population in the U.S. is functionally illiterate. American business spends $60 billion training employees, much of it on remedial reading.

But having worked with an education labratory, I learned one simple truth: if everyone could read by 8 years old (2nd grade) it could change the world. Fewer people would be in prison. More people might earn a decent wage.

We have a ways to go to reach that goal.

The digital culture is breeding a confidence about life. Who doesn't dig that? But is it blinding us to old-school social ills that will cost us dearly later on?

Hat tip Howard Rheingold


Anonymous said...

Did you see the Kristof Op-Ed in the NYT today? He makes a similar point about Afghanistan--the amount of money spent on a single soldier per year would fund an ungodly number of schools. And long term that would make far more sense than trying to win their hearts and minds with force. Didn't work for Hitler, didn't work for the Russians, doesn't work for us.

But it's not instant. Long term anything is a tough sell...

Maggie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patricia Martin said...

Great connection! Thanks for the helpful comment.

Patricia Martin said...

I checked it out, thanks to you. Our collective ADD seems to be getting worse with technology. Yes? You are correct. Long term problems bore us. Yet, all the most lethal problems are long term.