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Literacy: Anydex - The Index of Anything

(c) 1995-2011 Arthur Hu's Index of Anything, please cite when using data from here link on how to get more complete data or complete text of these references

Contents

Introduction: Not a Nation of Illiterates

In 1993, it was said that "almost half of adult Americans are barely literate and literacy rates among younger adults are falling."(Literacy in America, 1993, cited in Who Got It Right? What Proponents and Opponents of the Creation of the Department of Education Promised & Predicted John E. Berthoud, Ph.D. Alexis de Tocqueville Institution) Reality is that, by global standards, literacy in the US among blacks and whites has been basically wiped out among US youth since the 70's. Worldwide, Asians have a low rate of literacy except in developed nations. More sophisticated measures of social literacy show big differences in minorities.

Surprisingly, Asians score as poorly as blacks when education is taken into account, at least on the National Literacy Test.

These figures are the latest available from national and multilateral sources Though standards may differ, literacy generally means the ability to read and write a short, simple statement about everyday life. Literacy rates refer to population over 15 years of age.


Literacy Spectrum

-------------------- Britain 100.00% Germany 100.00% Japan 100.00% Switzerland 100.00% New Zealand 99.80% Australia 99.50% Canada 99.00% Russia 99.00% France 99.00% South Korea 97.40% 87.6% Italy 97.40% U.S. 95.50% 99.5% (UN) 97% (Newsweek 4/16/01) Mongolia 95.00% Philippines 94.00% 83.3 Thailand 93.80% 88.0 Taiwan 93.20% Maldives 92.60% Vietnam 91.90% Singapore 91.60% 82.9 Hong Kong 91.20% 77.3 Mexico 90.30% 83.0 Fiji 90.10% Malaysia 89.30% Sri Lanka 89.30% Brunei 89.20% Indonesia 84.40% Laos 83.90% Brazil 82.10% Myanmar 82.00% Turkey 81.90% South Africa 80.60% China 80.00% 81.5% (Newsweek 4/16/01) Macau 74.80% Kenya 74.50% P.N. Guinea 69.70% Iran 64.90% Saudi Arabia 64.10% Nigeria 52.50% India 52.10% 39.1 Egypt 50.00% Black SAf 50.00% CG95 Bhutan 40.90% Cambodia 37.80% Bangladesh 36.60% Pakistan 35.70% 25.2 Afghanistan 31.60% Nepal 27.00% Niger 13.00% CG95 (UN figures from United Nations Statistical Yearbook 37th ed) What is the Rate of Literacy in America? ---------------------------------------- 99.8% 1969 White US 14-24 (census) 99.5% 1969 Black US 14-24 99.5% United Nations report 97% Black literacy 1969 96% some level of literacy (National Survey) 95.5% AsianWeek USA 87% Dept Ed test 1986 84% Not marginal or functional illiterate 1985 80% Not functionally illiterate Newsweek 1990 80% can draft letter (National Survey) 75% Workforce (Regna Lee Wood) 52% simple analysis (National Survey) 3% Highest level of Prose literacy (National Survey) Illiteracy by Age And Race: 1947 to 1969 In thousands except percent Civilian noninstitutional population 14 yrs and over Nov 1969 14 ovr 14-24 25-44 45-64 65+ Total 1.0 0.3 0.5 1.1 3.5 White 0.7 0.2 0.4 0.7 2.3 Negro 3.6 0.5 1.6 5.5 16.7 Mar 1959 Total 2.2 0.6 1.2 2.6 6.5 White 1.6 0.5 0.8 1.8 5.1 Negro 7.5 1.2 5.1 11.3 25.5 Oct 1952 Total 2.5 1.2 1.3 3.5 6.9 White 1.8 0.8 5.0 Negro 10.2 3.9 33.3 Oct 1947 Total 2.7 1.0 1.7 4.0 6.7 White 1.8 0.6 4.9 Negro 11.0 4.4 32.4 Note that among those 14-24, illiteracy was all but completely eradicated in both blacks and whites by 1969 at 0.5 and 0.2 percent, respectively, and it goes up with age. Blacks in 1969 were about as literate as whites 10 years older, or whites in 1930, 40 years before, and less illiterate than foreign- born whites in 1940 Percent Illiterate in the Population by Race and Nativity: 1870 to 1969 (1870 to 1940 is 10 and over, else over 14) White Tot Total Native Foreign Negro/Other 1969 1.0 0.7 3.6 30 yr gap 1959 2.2 1.6 7.5 50 yr 1952 2.5 1.8 10.2 1947 2.7 1.8 11.0 1940 2.9 2.0 1.1 9.0 11.5 1930 4.3 3.0 1.6 10.8 16.4 1920 6.0 4.0 2.0 13.1 23.0 1910 7.7 5.0 3.0 12.7 30.5 1900 10.7 6.2 4.6 12.9 44.5 1890 13.3 7.7 6.2 13.1 56.8 1880 17.0 9.4 8.7 12.0 70.0 1870 20.0 11.5 79.9 1900 20.0 British Recruits 1858 95.0 British Recruits 1969 includes Alaska and Hawaii 1969 based on Negro only Index White=1.00 White Tot Total Native Foreign Negro/Other 1969 1.43 1.00 5.14 1959 1.38 1.00 4.69 1952 1.39 1.00 5.67 1947 1.50 1.00 6.11 1940 1.45 1.00 -1.82 4.50 5.75 1930 1.43 1.00 -1.88 3.60 5.47 1920 1.50 1.00 -2.00 3.28 5.75 1910 1.54 1.00 -1.67 2.54 6.10 1900 1.73 1.00 -1.35 2.08 7.18 1890 1.73 1.00 -1.24 1.70 7.38 1880 1.81 1.00 -1.08 1.28 7.45 1870 1.74 1.00 6.95 In 1958, only 1 on 20 british recruits could read By 1900, 85% literate Waiting for Linguistic Viagra Michael Hwley Technology Review Jine 2001 p. 25 from http://www.thuban.com/census/tables/edu25__2.html urban institute Only 1% of whites but 3% of blacks have no education beyond grade 4, which likely means they are functionally illiterate. Most of these are likely very old. Educational Attainment of Persons 25 Years Old and Over, by Sex and Race: March 1994 Black White, not Hispanic Educational Attainment Both Both sexes Male Female sexes Male Female ....Total, 25 years old and over 18,103 8,051 10,053 127,288 61,07466,214 ........Percent 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 Elementary: Total 10.3 11.9 8.9 6.2 6.3 6.1 ....................None to 4th grade 2.8 3.9 1.9 0.8 0.8 0.7 ....................5th to 8th grade 7.5 8.1 7.0 5.4 5.5 5.4 High school: Total 53.0 53.2 52.9 44.3 41.4 46.9 ....................9th to 12th grade (no diploma) 16.8 16.3 17.3 8.9 8.6 9.3 ....................High school graduate 36.2 36.9 35.6 35.4 32.9 37.7 College: Total 36.7 34.8 38.2 49.5 52.3 47.0 ....................Some college or associate degree 23.8 22.1 25.2 25.2 24.5 25.9 ....................Bachelor's degree or more 12.9 12.8 13.0 24.3 27.8 21.1 Percent high school graduate or more 72.9 71.7 73.8 84.9 85.1 84.7 DEPT OF ED CLAIMS 13% ILLITERACY Insight May 12, 1986 Guaging Illiteracy p. 39 z63\clipim\2003\02\09\illit.efx .jpg Between 17-21M US adults illiterate, 26 times 0.5% estimate of US Census. Old - begun 6th grade or said they could read or write. 1982 study requires 20 right out of 26 question test. Majority of native born English spkrs are hs drop out US SAYS HALF OF US DEFICIENT IN READING, BUT ONLY 7% OF AMERICANS FEEL THEIR SKILLS ARE DEFICIENT http://www.educationnews.org/howwellcanu.htm z75\doc\web\2004\02\adullit.txt How Well Can U. S. Adults Read? Government-Centered vs. Learner-Centered Estimates Monday, February 23, 2004 Tom Sticht The 1992 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NALS) ... "this statement about adults’ insights into the adequacy of their skills simply dismissed the adults’ judgements about their skills in favour of the results of the standardized tests made by the government sponsored testing experts." NATIONAL ADULT LITERACY SURVEY http://www.nifl.gov/reders/!intro.htm The NALS found a total of 21-23 percent - or 40-44 million - of the 191 million American adults (defined as age 16 or older) at Level 1, the lowest literacy level. Although many Level 1 adults could perform many tasks involving simple texts and documents, all adults scoring at Level 1 displayed difficulty using certain reading, writing, and computational skills considered necessary for functioning in everyday life. prose document quantitative 1 21 23 22 2 23 28 25 3 32 31 31 4 17 17 17 5 3 3 4 43% of level1 at poverty vs 4% at level 5 $240/wk at lev 1 ($12,480) vs $681 at level 5 ($35,000)
@@City %%Rank http://www.uww.edu/cities/index.html 'Top' 5: Minneapolis Seattle Denver Atlanta San Francisco Pittsburgh Washington DC Louisville KY Portland OR Cincinnati OH 'Bottom' 5: San Antonio Detroit Long Beach, CA Corpus Christi El Paso %%Detroit z51\clip\2001\08\detlit.txt Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/news/metro/riley29_20010729.htm Rochelle Riley: How illiteracy devastates city July 29, 2001 Sometimes you can't grasp how big a problem is until you say it out loud. Nearly half of the adult residents of Detroit are functionally illiterate. That's right -- 47 percent cannot use reading as a tool in everyday life. They cannot fill out employment applications or read the newspaper or understand signs that warn of danger in workplaces -- if they work. 1998 Michigan Department of Career Development study, about half of Detroit's working-age men and women were employed or looking for work, meaning the other half between the ages of 16 and 60 did not have a job and were not looking for one. At least 200,000 people in Detroit are at Level 1, which means they can barely read at all, according to 1997 reports %%Washington DC cjlartigue says: D.C. didn't crack the top five literate cities, but it was ranked #7 among the cities. http://www.uww.edu/cities/allrnk.html That's despite 37 percent of the city's adults reading at the 3rd grade level or below. http://www.easternlincs.org/DCsite/factsstats.htm State Education Agency Adult Education 19 percent of D.C. residents have an advanced degree. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/graphics/census_rankings_060402.html 1. Wash DC 19% 2. Boston 17% 3. Ann Arbor Mich 16% 4. San Jose 16% 5. San Francisco 16% Census 2000 ranking That number, incredibly, almost tops the percent of Americans across the country that have college degrees. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A35550-2003Jul9.html Here's a nice breakdown by race of education levels in the D.C. area and the country. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/daily/graphics/collegecensus_071003.html Here's a breakdown by ward of educational levels in D.C. Note that a resident living in "Ward 3" (probably the most affluent part of town) is about 10 times as likely to hold a college diploma as someone living in Ward 8 (the poorest section of the city). http://planning.dc.gov/documents/educational_level/el_ward.shtm @@general CLAIMS LITERACY HAS FALLEN FROM 98% IN 1940 TO 75% IN 1994 \doc\web\97\08\readtest.txt From: OCPATHINK@aol.com Date sent: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 11:00:53 -0500 (EST) Subject: National Tests? Kids Can't Even Read Them Source: WWII military tests, NAEP, Regna Lee Wood Literacy 98% 1940 80% 1988 76% 1992 75% 1994 Of the 40 nations in the Western Hemisphere, only seven — including the United States — have work force literacy rates below 80 percent. Leery Of National Tests? Not To Worry — The Kids Can't Read Them by Regna Lee Wood \doc\96\01\literacy.txt "Learn to Read, Stay Out of Jail: Failed Teaching Methods Help Breed Criminals" Investor's Business Daily Jan 12, 1996 p. 1 Matthew Robinson. 8% to 20% of Americans are illiterate? Majority of unwed, arrested or on welfare are illiterate. \priv\95\20\chinelem.txt 15% of students in some areas of China do not attend elementary school becuase of extremem poverty, they must help with their parents to survive. http://www.asahi.com/paper/gallery/eedu2.html 1/4/95 Asahi News "Statistical History of the United States." Library Reference: R 317.3, Series H, 407-411 1870-1952 page 211. (percent illiterate in the population). Attachment contains full data. Here is a summary: 1952 = 2.5 million illiterates (total) 1950 = 3.2 " " " 1947 = 2.7 1940 = 2.9 1930 = 4.3 1920 = 6.0 1910 = 7.7 1900 = 10.7 1890 = 13.3 1870 = 20 millions \doc\95\15\uslitr.wk1 Literacy By Race and Age 1969, all ages, White 0.7% Black 3.6% 1969, age 14-24 White 0.2%, Black 0.5% 1880, White 9.4% Black 70% Source: Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970. US Dept of Commerce, Bureau of the Census Part I p. H664-699 Additional index analysis by Arthur Hu 12/95 Illiteracy by Age And Race: 1947 to 1969 In thousands except percent Civilian noninstitutional population 14 yrs and over Nov 1969 14 ovr 14-24 25-44 45-64 65+ Total 1.0 0.3 0.5 1.1 3.5 White 0.7 0.2 0.4 0.7 2.3 Negro 3.6 0.5 1.6 5.5 16.7 Mar 1959 Total 2.2 0.6 1.2 2.6 6.5 White 1.6 0.5 0.8 1.8 5.1 Negro 7.5 1.2 5.1 11.3 25.5 Oct 1952 Total 2.5 1.2 1.3 3.5 6.9 White 1.8 0.8 5.0 Negro 10.2 3.9 33.3 Oct 1947 Total 2.7 1.0 1.7 4.0 6.7 White 1.8 0.6 4.9 Negro 11.0 4.4 32.4 Note that among those 14-24, illiteracy was all but completely eradicated in both blacks and whites by 1969 at 0.5 and 0.2 percent, respectively, and it goes up with age. Blacks in 1969 were about as literate as whites 10 years older, or whites in 1930, 40 years before, and less illiterate than foreign- born whites in 1940 Percent Illiterate in the Population by Race and Nativity: 1870 to 1969 (1870 to 1940 is 10 and over, else over 14) White Tot Total Native Foreign Negro/Other 1969 1.0 0.7 3.6 1959 2.2 1.6 7.5 1952 2.5 1.8 10.2 1947 2.7 1.8 11.0 1940 2.9 2.0 1.1 9.0 11.5 1930 4.3 3.0 1.6 10.8 16.4 1920 6.0 4.0 2.0 13.1 23.0 1910 7.7 5.0 3.0 12.7 30.5 1900 10.7 6.2 4.6 12.9 44.5 1890 13.3 7.7 6.2 13.1 56.8 1880 17.0 9.4 8.7 12.0 70.0 1870 20.0 11.5 79.9 1969 includes Alaska and Hawaii 1969 based on Negro only Index White=1.00 White Tot Total Native Foreign Negro/Other 1969 1.43 1.00 5.14 1959 1.38 1.00 4.69 1952 1.39 1.00 5.67 1947 1.50 1.00 6.11 1940 1.45 1.00 -1.82 4.50 5.75 1930 1.43 1.00 -1.88 3.60 5.47 1920 1.50 1.00 -2.00 3.28 5.75 1910 1.54 1.00 -1.67 2.54 6.10 1900 1.73 1.00 -1.35 2.08 7.18 1890 1.73 1.00 -1.24 1.70 7.38 1880 1.81 1.00 -1.08 1.28 7.45 1870 1.74 1.00 6.95 The ratio of Black to White illiteracy has decreased from 7.5 times in 1870 to 5 times in 1969 >>\priv\95\20\chined.txt Accoring to Reuters, 1995, Bankok, UNICEF estimates that 75% of two million Chinese who drop out of elementary school are girls. One-third of Chinese children in poor and remote areas did not complete grade 5 schooling. Most drop outs were in poor areas without pre-school or day-care services. There are an estimated 100 million illiterates in Asia. In Cambodia, Laos and Burma students aren't even being retained up to grade 5. -------------------------------------------------------------------- \priv\95\19\ussmart.txt Tests put U.S. students among best - and worst Tacoma News Tribune Story Number: 56007 12/10/95 Shankar Vedantam Lowest level of literacy US:24, Sweden:6 Highest level of literacy US:19 Sweden:36 --------------------------------------------------------------------- \priv\95\19\blaklit.txt - iimhotep@aol.com (IIMHOTEP) notes that in the 50's, black literacy in the US was higher than for some european nations In 70 years, Negro illiteracy fell from 82% in 1870 to 16.3% in 1930. (less than 3% in 1969) --------------------------------------------------------------------- \doc\95\01\wholit.txt - 17% men, 20% of women are illiterate "Who is illiterate in the USA?" USA Today Life 1D July 7, 1992 doc937:adultlit.xlw,ppt Asians lag by 4 years, just like Blacks except for youth doc937:racelit.xlw even on quantitative (math) items --------------------------------------------------------------------- d:\priv\95\01\welf1.txt USN&WR Jan 16, 1995 p. 32 Long-Term Recipients of AFDC 68% did not graduate from high school USN&WR / US Dept Health and Human Services - one third of welfare recipients cannot read a street map or fill out a social security application. Manpower Demonstration Research Corp (MDRC) 1994 paper found 35-40% tested at lowest literacy level, could not find an intersection of streets or figure total from an order form. --------------------------------------------------------------- Illiteracy of people 15 yrs and older as percent of population 4.4% developed countries 35.1% nondeveloped countries 26.9% global total 20% of the American population is functionally illiterate Newsweek Oct 8, 1990 p. 48 ------------------------------------------------------------------ W16% B44% H56% Functional or marginal illiterate adults in the United States. Final Report of Adult Performance Level Project, cited in Illiterate America, by Jonathan Kozol Doubleday 1985 p. 4 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- \priv\95\01\hisplit.txt 56% of hispanic adults functionally illiterate LIFE Page 1D - July 17, 1990 Hispanics lose ground in school By Gretchen Cook, USA TODAY ------------------------------------------------------------------------ d:\doc\94\19\illit.txt Summary - In WWII, blacks 16 times whites to be unable to write names, 11 times to be rejected because of 4th grade illiteracy. also see intelligence, Asians rejected at higher rate than blacks ------------------------------------------------------------------------- @@History George Sheridan It's clear that students today are better, on the whole, than Americans were 80 years ago at the things those tests can measure. In the four score and seven years between the Declaration of Independence and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address most Americans were capable of little more than signing their name. By the time of the First World War, the Army needed recruits able to read basic directions. Many could not even read signs and labels, so schools embarked on a program of teaching reading as decoding. @@level Literacy level by state. Level 1 can barely read, but not do any useful tasks @@low rate asian.literacy \doc\96\04\badread.txt Seattle Times March 19, 1996 Michelle Malkin - According to the NAEP national test, only 3% of students could perform reading above "minimal or adequate" levels. - According to the US Department of Education, 90 million Americans demonstrate low rates of literacy @@National Adult Literacy Survey National Center for Education Statistics Literacy rates 96% some level of literacy (National Survey) 80% can draft letter (National Survey) 52% simple analysis (National Survey) LITERACY UP FOR BLACKS, ASIAN, DOWN FOR COLLEGE, HISPANIC 2003 z92\clip\2005\12\aslitup.txt Literacy Falls for Graduates From College, Testing Finds http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/16/education/16literacy.html By SAM DILLON The National Assessment of Adult Literacy, given in 2003 by the Department of Education, is the nation's most important test of how well adult Americans can read. .. found steep declines in the English literacy of Hispanics in the United States, and significant increases among blacks and Asians. About 29 percent of blacks scored at either the intermediate or proficient levels in 1992, but in 2003, those rose to 33 percent. The percentage of blacks demonstrating "below basic" literacy declined to 24 percent from 30 percent. Asians scoring at either the intermediate or proficient levels rose to 54 percent from 45 percent in 1992. ..In 1992, 35 percent of Hispanics demonstrated "below basic" English literacy, but by 2003 .. to 44 percent. .. intermediate or proficient English skills dropped to 27 percent from 33 percent in 1992. A 1992 survey by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics estimated that about 21 percent of the adult population — more than 40 million Americans over the age of 16 — had only rudimentary reading and writing skills. Most adults in this "level one" category could pick out key facts in a brief newspaper article, for example, but could not draft a letter explaining an error on their credit card bill. A subgroup in this category — representing roughly 4 percent of the total adult population, or about 8 million people — was unable to perform even the simplest literacy tasks. http://nces.ed.gov/nadlits/overview.html \clip\2000\04\litwaste.txt http://www2.southwind.net/~educate/bob237.html Waste in Education A Report of the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation Public Schools Produce Low Literacy Return for the Dollars Spent By Robert Holland And Don Soifer The U.S. Department of Education's seminal study issued in 1993, Adult Literacy in America, categorized literacy as three types - prose, document, and quantitative - and measured it at five levels (Level I being the lowest). @@New Literacy Standards z48\doc\web\2001\03\newlit.txt http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/2001/mar/010319.literacy.html Exploring Literacy Today, literacy means more than being able to read a newspaper, a menu at a diner, or the latest mystery novel. Many teachers -- and students -- believe it also means being intellectually, culturally, and electronically nimble: navigating the Internet with intelligence, making complicated decisions about an HMO, understanding the veiled messages in an advertisement, being familiar with the different cultures represented in your child's grade school class. @@Poverty Illiteracy causes Poverty "Illiterate adults account for 75 percent of the unemployed, one third of the mothers receiving AFDC, 85 percent of the juveniles who appear in court, 60 percent of prison inmates, nearly 40 percent of minority youth, and over 70 percent of the high school dropouts. " @@Prison NO ILLITERATE CHINESE PRISONERS IN 1883 Referring to an educational program for prisoners, a report of the Kansas State Prison in 1883 noted that "The Chinese are the most enthusiastic students". My source did not indicate why the Chinese were prisoners, nor did it indicate how many Chinese there were. It did indicate that 0 Chinese could not read or write. Compare: whites, 513 could, 15 couldn't [literacy rate seems too high, doesn't it?]; blacks, 83 could, 47 couldn't; Mexicans, 2 could, 8 couldn't. -Albert Himoe @@Rates %%Britain 20% IN BRITAIN NOT FUNCTIONALLY LITERATE \clip\99\10\edclip04.txt 3/27/99 Daily Telegraph SEVEN million adults in this country are innumerate and the same number can barely read, according to a report which puts Britain third from bottom in an international league table. One in five cannot look up a plumber in Yellow Pages and one in four are unable to work out the change from £2 when buying goods costing £1.58. "Something like one adult in five in this country is not functionally literate and far more people have problems with numeracy. 13 per cent were judged to have "low" literacy skills, meaning they could read short articles from tabloid newspapers or pick out favourite programmes from a television guide but were unable to use a Yellow Pages index and read slowly with little understanding - standards below those normally expected of an 11-year-old. [By the time the constructivists complete the transformation to higher order thinking, 0% will be able to make change without a calculator! The rate of literacy in industrialized countries is more like 95+ percent, only by specifying more complex tasks can they bring the literacy rate down to 80%, US literacy test similar puts only 5% of US pop at highest literacy level] NOW THE BRITISH WANT A LITERACY TEST THAT FLUNKS EVERYONE \clip\99\10\britlit.txt Thursday, March 25, 1999 Education England's 'staggering' adult illiteracy The report, by the Basic Skills Agency, urges the government to introduce new national tests to assess adults' basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills. one in three adults cannot work out the area of a room, while one in five would be unable to find a plumber in the Yellow Pages telephone directory. [The US national literacy test gave similarly low rates for skills that don't strike most of us as basic literacy area = width x height is assessed in middle school math, which is the average math level of most adults] %%Grade Level BOTTOM QUARTER AT 5TH GRADE, 2ND QUARTER AT 8TH GRADE LEVEL Safety-seat instructions too difficult, study says Lindsey Tanner Associated Press / Seattle Times March 3, 2003 Pediatics study by Dr. Mark Wegner Deborah Girasek at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda Md says car seat instructions written at 10th grade level. One quarter of adults read at or below fifth grade, one fourth read at about 8th grade. AVERAGE ADULT READS AT 8TH GRADE LEVEL Newsweek June 25, 2001 p. 54 The New Patient Power by Russell Watson Nearly half of all Americans read at 8th grade level or below. RAND says most health websites are at or above high school level. TRUE LITERACY RATES 81-83% The Reading Problem: Why We Have It? How To Solve It? Through 1930, Census takers counted readers - by giving reading tests if necessary. But starting in 1940, Census no longer counted readers. Instead, it counted as literate any adults with a certain number of years of school attendance. Correctly interpreted, then, the official 1980 and 1990 literacy rate of 95 percent and 95.5 percent indicate that 95 to 96 out of every 100 U.S. residents have attended American schools for at least five years. In 1930, only three million Americans couldn't read. Most of the one million white illiterates and the two million black illiterates were people over age 50 who had never been to school. By 1990, 30 to 35 million U.S. citizens could not read. Most are people under 50 who have been to school for at least eight years. True U.S. literacy figures for adults over 25 have dropped from a high of 98 percent to a 1990 low of 81 to 83 percent. Seventy nations have higher literacy percentages. T. Glenn Haws, Ph.D. (Purdue University, 1959) Illiteracy causes Poverty "Illiterate adults account for 75 percent of the unemployed, one third of the mothers receiving AFDC, 85 percent of the juveniles who appear in court, 60 percent of prison inmates, nearly 40 percent of minority youth, and over 70 percent of the high school dropouts. " @@test: NALS NATIONAL ADULT LITERACY SURVEY SUMMARY: 1/4 OF ADULTS ARE BARELY LITERATE (but they didn't count how many people had no literacy skills) ABSTRACT, ORDERING INFORMATION http://www.nald.ca/fulltext/Report2/rep15-01.htm Adult Literacy in America Organization: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement National Center for Education Statistics Publication information: December 1993 z48\clipim\2001\03\02\nals\nals.htm NATIONAL ADULT LITERACY SURVEY http://www.nifl.gov/reders/!intro.htm The NALS found a total of 21-23 percent - or 40-44 million - of the 191 million American adults (defined as age 16 or older) at Level 1, the lowest literacy level. Although many Level 1 adults could perform many tasks involving simple texts and documents, all adults scoring at Level 1 displayed difficulty using certain reading, writing, and computational skills considered necessary for functioning in everyday life. prose document quantitative 1 21 23 22 2 23 28 25 3 32 31 31 4 17 17 17 5 3 3 4 43% of level1 at poverty vs 4% at level 5 $240/wk at lev 1 ($12,480) vs $681 at level 5 ($35,000) BRACEY - LITERACY TEST IS NOT PROOF OF MASSIVE ILLITERACY IN THE US The Seventh Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education \clip\98\08\bracey\bracey.htm Phi Delta Kappan Magazine (high proportion of low readers but..) The U.S. also has a higher proportion of adults at level 5 (3.8%) than any other country except Sweden (6.4%). Most countries do not have even 1% of their readers at this highest level. The American proportion at level 4 (17.3%) is exceeded only by Canada (20.0%) and Sweden (26.3%) AMERICANS AREN'T THAT LITERATE DESPITE WORLD LEADERSHIP \priv\96\02\worlit.htm - Americans are richest and most productive, but don’t do that well on world literacy tests. "Baffled" Economist Dec 9, 1995 p. 27 HALF OF AMERICANS (AND OTHER ADVANCED NATIONS) HAVE LITERACY PROBLEMS http://www.seattletimes.com/extra/browse/html97/read_121097. html \clip\97\29\lowlit.txt Seattle Times Dec 10, 1997 Low literacy a problem in industrial countries by Robert Greene Associated Press Bergen Record Mental chores baffle many Americans Thursday, December 11, 1997 Statistics Canada and the U.S. Educational Testing Service, a private firm, did the research in 1994 and 1995, measuring people on three scales that comprise literacy: reading prose, reading documents, and doing mathematics. Depending on the country, between one-quarter and three-quarters of the adults 16 to 65 surveyed failed to attain "Level 3." -------------------------- 50% of US Failing Literacy Test, or is the test too hard? "Only 52% scored at Level 3 or higher. While adults who score below Level 3 do have some limited literacy skills, they are not likely to be able to perform the range of complex literacy tasks that the National Education Goals Panel considers important for competing successfully in a global economy or exercising the rights and responsibility of citizenship." Does that sound like Mark Tucker to you folks? ASIANS FLUNK OUT ON US LITERACY TEST Adult Literacy in America National Center for Education Statistics US Department of Education Sept 1993 National Adult Literacy Survey So-called literacy test is one of the few tests where Asians test as poorly as Blacks and Hispanics. Involves tasks like reading maps, graphs, charts, bus schedules and recipies which are highly culturally loaded, in comparison to math and even language where Asians do as well or better than whites. TEXTBOOKS INCORPORATE "EVERYDAY" DOCUMENT LITERACY \doc\web\98\09\worktest.txt \doc\web\97\06\RACELIT.wk1 Gap in years of education overall W0.0 b-5 H -5 A-4 B=A=poor Hisp slightly better than retarded in prose Gap in years of education relative to white with equal education Black = 4 years Asian = 3 to 4 years \neaplit.doc,.txt - Hu on 1st neap and literacy @@UK Standards UK LITERACY STANDARDS LEVEL 1 INCLUDE WEB SURFING AND EMAIL zip38\clip\99\20\uklit.txt UK BBC NEWS Friday, November 5, 1999 Published at 03:05 GMT What adults are supposed to know Booking tickets should hold no fears Can you take part in an online chat session? Write an e-mail to a colleague? Tackle a pushy doorstep trader? Congratulations - you have at least reached Level 1 in the proposed basic skills standards for adults in England. @@waste z40\clip\2000\04\litwaste.txt http://www2.southwind.net/~educate/bob237.html Waste in Education A Report of the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation Public Schools Produce Low Literacy Return for the Dollars Spent By Robert Holland And Don Soifer D.C. schools are the least efficient, with 23 percent of funds wasted ($165.8 million) when measured against indicators of basic literacy. Alaska, Utah, and Wyoming each waste 13 percent -- the lowest rate @@world ranking International Adult Literacy Survey z42\clipim\2000\06\19\HighE.pdf http://www.nald.ca/nls/ials/ialsreps/ialsrpt2/ials2/HighE.pdf Highlights from the Second Report of the International Adult Literacy Survey: Literacy Skills for the Knowledge Society 1994-1995 Sweden Netherlands Canada Australia New Zealand United States Economist June 17, 2000 The uses of literacy UK The Basic Skills Agency looked at 1997/98 data, calculates 24% of England are to varying degrees functionally illiterate, 24% functionally innumerate. z49\clipim\2001\04\25\lit1.gif, lit2.gif 1994-1998 data on chart: Top: Sweden Denmark Norway Middle: Canada (best english) Australia United States New Zealand Britain Bottom: Poland Portugal Chile AsianWeek Mar 22, 1996 - "Vital Signs" These figures are the latest available from national and multilateral sources Though standards may differ, literacy generally means the ability to read and write a short, simple statement about everyday life. Literacy rates refer to population over 15 years of age. Literacy Ranking Britain 100.00% Germany 100.00% Japan 100.00% Switzerland 100.00% New Zealand 99.80% Australia 99.50% Canada 99.00% Russia 99.00% France 99.00% South Korea 97.40% 87.6% Italy 97.40% U.S. 95.50% 99.5% (UN) Mongolia 95.00% Philippines 94.00% 83.3 Thailand 93.80% 88.0 Taiwan 93.20% Maldives 92.60% Vietnam 91.90% Singapore 91.60% 82.9 Hong Kong 91.20% 77.3 Mexico 90.30% 83.0 Fiji 90.10% Malaysia 89.30% Sri Lanka 89.30% Brunei 89.20% Indonesia 84.40% Laos 83.90% World 83% UNICEF Brazil 82.10% Myanmar 82.00% Turkey 81.90% South Africa 80.60% China 80.00% Macau 74.80% Kenya 74.50% P.N. Guinea 69.70% Iran 64.90% Saudi Arabia 64.10% Nigeria 52.50% India 52.10% 39.1 Egypt 50.00% Bhutan 40.90% Cambodia 37.80% Bangladesh 36.60% Pakistan 35.70% 25.2 Afghanistan 31.60% Nepal 27.00% (UN figures from United Nations Statistical Yearbook 37th ed) 50% BLACK S AFRICANS Culturegram '95 1994 Brogham Young University Free/complsory from 7-16 for whites colored/indian usually 7-14 blacks compulsory for 4 years Literacy 99% white 85% Indian 60% Coloured 50% Blacks SLOVAKIA 99% Culturegram '95 starts 6, compulsory for 10 yrs NIGERIA 51% Culturegram 95 Adult Literacy was 25% in 1970 Only 70% primary age children enrolled, 85% complete, 20% in secondary school. 250 native languages NIGER 13% Culturegram 95. Modeled after france with exam to pass on to next level. 1/4 go to primary school though officially mandatory JAMAICA 75% Culturegram 95 Ed free to 12. Secondary by examination only 93% finish primary. 60% in secondary GREECE 5: 2 yr Kindergarten 6 yr elem 3 yr gymnasia 3-4 yr lyceum available for college prep FRANCE Culturegram 95 F/C 6-16 99% lit 11-18 Lyce'Ees and colle'ges Lycees like jr college MEXICO culturegram 95 F/C 6-14. After 1st 6 yrs, 3 of secondary, 5 college prep, 6yr teacher prep. Vocational after secondary POLAND Culturegram 95 F/C 10 yrs starting in K 98%,literacy 4-5 yr tech and prof high schools. University 5-6 yrs ITALY Culturegram 95 F/C 6-14, classes Mon-Sat 97% lit Japan F/C 6-15 GERMANY Culturegram 95 99% literacy F/C 6-15, tracked until age 18. Free at all levels, but university requires Arbitur exm after college prep gymnasium. Every occupation has a school - 4 yrs to be certified waiter. 3 OF 4 CHILDREN IN POOR NATIONS ARE NOT IN SCHOOL Nearly one-sixth of the 5.9 billion people in the world cannot read or write according to a Unicef study. The study, "The State of the World's Children 1999," predicts that illiteracy rates will steadily grow into the next century because only one of every four children in the poorest nations is now in school. More than half of those denied educations are girls. \clip\98\18\edclip07.txt Illiteracy Dooms One Billion People to Poverty, UNICEF Study Says By John M. Goshko Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, December 9, 1998; Page A31 UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 8One billion people, nearly a sixth of humanity, will enter the 21st century doomed to poverty because they are unable to read a book, write their names or master other skills necessary to hold a job, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported today. In underdeveloped countries, an estimated 130 million children, about 40 percent of the elementary school-age population, either never enter school or drop out before receiving a basic education, the report says. Of that total, 73 million are girls.