Undereducated America: A Nation in Distress

Topics: Literacy, Functional illiteracy, Reading Pages: 4 (1207 words) Published: December 14, 2013
Undereducated America: A Nation in Distress

In our society today, literacy is no longer defined as being able to read and write very little just to get by, but it is being able to read, write, and comprehend the information presented to you which you can use in order to be a functional and efficient member of society. Even in one of the wealthiest, most technologically advanced countries in the world, literacy is still a matter of concern in modern day America. It is alarming to know that 1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read and approximately 35 million adults read below the level needed to function in society, many of whom cannot read at all (Kozol 248, "11 Facts About Literacy in America."). How is this even possible? What problems can undereducation and illiteracy bring? Who does this issue really affect? Many will argue that this issue only affects the individual who happens to have a low level of reading skills or illiteracy, or that individual’s immediate family; this is not the case. Low literacy levels affect the nation as a whole. In our democratic society we rely solely on the people, so while not everyone needs to be a scholar, our citizens should be educated and informed to contribute to our nation in a positive way. From a political standpoint, we face the concern of having citizens not capable of informing themselves on issues or candidates and casting votes because they were persuaded by word-of-mouth, popularity, personality, or appearances rather than character, beliefs, or facts. Just as the nation suffers if we accept these individuals making uniformed decisions due to their literary deficiencies, we suffer when they do not vote or participate as well. Such a large population of people may not be voting at all because of embarrassment or that they simply are incapable of doing so. They themselves can be advocates for a cause, such as better education in schools, but they may never be heard. Many cannot...

Cited: Kozol, Jonathan. “The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society.” From Illiterate America. Patterns for College Writing: A Rhetorical Reader and Guide. 11th ed. Ed. Laurie G Kirzner and Stephen R. Mandell. New York: Bedford, 2010. 248-255. Print.
"11 Facts About Literacy in America." Weblog post. Do Something. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2013.
Fitzgerald, Corey. "Adult and Family Literacy in the US; Limitations to Our Nation’s Success." Weblog post. Scientific Learning. N.p., 3 Feb. 2011. Web. 20 Sept. 2013.
Boodman, Sandra G. “Many Americans Have Poor Health Literacy.” Washingtonpost.com. Washington Post, 28 Feb. 2011. Web. 22 Sept. 2013.
“Literacy Statistics” Weblog post. Begin to Read. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2013.
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