It used to be one of the major arguments I would get into on Facebook. I would talk about how people don’t think, don’t read, don’t pay attention, don’t ask questions, don’t recognize logical fallacies… – inevitably someone would come after me and tell me that literacy rates are the highest they have ever been. The only way that is possible is if what what passes for literacy is at a lower level now than in the old days.
How do I know this? Where is the evidence?
- Look at Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies”. Do you see ‘soporific’ on the first page? That’s a children’s story. From a hundred years ago. What children’s book did you read that had SAT vocabulary? I didn’t think so.
- Go to google and type in “Kenny Hignite” and look at his junior high school civics exam. Not only couldn’t you do as well as he did, they don’t teach civics anymore. It might hurt someone’s feelings.
- Look at McGuffey’s sixth reader. That is a book intended for the 10th grader – of 1880. Graduate students at today’s universities would curl up in the fetal position and soil themselves. Don’t believe me? Look it up – it’s easy to find in pdf form. I have a copy on my laptop in case I’m in the mood to have my literacy level placed on HGH and steroids.
Those examples come from memory – it wouldn’t take much to find others.
The article referenced in the title talks about something that is going on today, and seems to be true. What it talks about that’s important is twofold. The first is that the expert quoted is the only academic on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) committee. She now tours the country speaking out against common core. She quit the committee, as did the mathematic professor, in disgust and refused to sign off on what was produced. This was the legislation that was eagerly signed by your state legislators via bribe and is touted by your ‘school leaders’ as the thing that will save the flagging academic performances at your school. I had no idea about this back story to common core, it wasn’t shared with us in the teacher meetings. Our ‘leaders’ followed it because they were told to by the Big Shots in State Gov’t.
The second main point is that this lack of literacy is easily overcome. You can get past it and be the best by NOT doing what the students in the article do. They read at a low level on their off time. Their down time is spent reading things at a junior high school level. If you constantly practice on an 8 foot rim, you’ll never be skilled on the real thing. You need to read at a level that will stretch your mind a bit – push your capabilities. I have always recommended Hawthorne, Dickens, Poe, Doyle and Melville. There are other authors who will give you an intellectual workout as well. Find them and read them. I can help you with this.
Quotes from the article that are noteworthy:
- “Dr. Sandra Stotsky is best known for serving on the Common Core Validation Committee in 2009-10 and refusing to approve standards she called ‘inferior’, along with colleague James Milgram, Professor of Mathematics at Stanford University.”
- “We are spending billions of dollars trying to send students to college and maintain them there when, on average, they read at about the grade 6 or 7 level, according toRenaissance Learning’s latest report on what American students in grades 9-12 read, whether assigned or chosen.”
- Stotsky clarified, “The average reading level for five of the top seven books assigned as summer reading by 341 colleges using Renaissance Learning’s readability formula was rated 7.56.” That means, a large number of college freshman are basically reading on a level of grade 7 at the sixth month mark.
That means get YOUR reading level up, on your own, and read at a higher level than your peers, and do all the pre college exams and essays better than they do.