Education in America vs. Education in Third World Countries
A few weeks ago, I was walking downtown, when this random came up to me and said “You in school? That’s good, that’s good. Education is important.” From the state of her hair and clothes, and the smell of her breath, I assumed she was homeless. I didn’t really pay much attention to her, because homeless people are so common in downtown Atlanta. I was just hoping that she wasn’t going to ask me for any money! After a while, I started thinking about what the homeless woman had said; “Education is important.” Growing up, I had always been taught that people who lived in the streets had been afforded the same opportunities as I had, but they had simply chosen to ignore them. So, if this woman had basically thrown away her life, why was she here preaching to me that education was important? How far had she gotten with her education? Was she like my great-grandmother, and lacked the skills to read and write? Literacy isn’t something that I spend a lot of time thinking about, mainly because all of the people that I surround myself and the people they surround themselves with are all capable of reading at proficient levels. Of course, I was always aware that some people had disabilities that made it harder to read, like dyslexia, but it never occurred to me that some of them allowed for the hindrance to completely turn them off to reading. Is it possible that I have been taking my literacy skills for granted? In this paper, I plan to explore literacy in America, and how it compares to the value other nations put on literacy and even our own country before public schools were instituted. Being literate is defined as any person over the age of 15 that can read and write. The United States had a literacy rate of 99% in the year 2003, according to the CIA census. 99%; almost our entire population is capable of reading and writing at a proficient level. Who does the least 1% represent?...
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