Are we having a U.S. literacy crisis?
Accept the challenge of these 15 questions to check your literacy
According to statistics on front page newspaper articles
in September, 1993, reporting on "the most comprehensive
literacy study ever done by the U.S. government," what percentage
of U.S. adults "read and write so poorly that it is difficult
for them to hold an above-poverty-level-wage job."?
In a 1998 study of job applicants to major U.S. firms by
the American Management Association, what percentage of applicants
"lacked sufficient reading and math skills to do the job
According to the most extensive and statistically accurate
study of U.S. adult literacy ever commissioned by the federal
government, what percentage of employees in U.S. businesses is
The average U.S. taxpayer pays at least what
amount each year for (1) tax revenue that goes for government programs
that illiterates use, (2) tax revenue that goes to pay for police,
court, and jail or prison costs directly related to truancy,
juvenile delinquency, or crimes committed by illiterates, and
(3) increased costs for consumer goods because of the cost of
recruiting, training in basics that should have been learned
in school, prevention of mistakes and correction of mistakes
and inabilities of illiterates in the U.S. work force?
An October 28-31, 1998, poll by Pew Research Center asked
the importance of various national issues to those polled. More
people chose education as "very important" than
any other national issue. What percentage of people named education
as "very important"?
What was the ranking of the U.S. in international competition
with 20 other nations in science and math as reported in newspapers
on February 25, 1998?
U.S. Department of Education figures from December 1995 show
that what percentage of inmates in U.S. prisons are functionally
In a July 5, 1990 report in The Washington Times,
Albert Shanker, President, American Federation of Teachers, is
quoted as saying that what percentage of "the kids who go
to college in the United States would not be admitted to college
anywhere else in the world."?
According to a Washington Post article on Nov. 25,
1982 and a Foundation News report, Jan./Feb. 1983, what
was the U.S. literacy ranking among the 158 nations of the U.N.
(in 1983)? (The answer, which follows, shows a more recent comparison
of worldwide literacyfacts hard to put into question form.)
According to Carmen Hunter's and David Harman's book, Adult
Literacy in the United States, published in 1985, what percentage
of adult illiterates complete enough training after leaving elementary
or high school to achieve the equivalent of eighth grade reading
According to a February 21, 1988 newspaper report, the number
of functionally illiterate adults is growing by how many every
or more million
Frank Laubach taught adults to read in 300 languages. He
found that in 295 languages other than English (98% of them),
his students could learn to read fluently in what period of time?
than 3 monthsless
than 6 monthsless
than 9 monthsless
than 12 monthsless
than 24 months
What is the average amount of time required for those who
learn to read well enough in U.S. schools to become functionally
to 6 monhs6
to 9 months9
to 12 months1
to 1-1/2 years1-1/2
to 2 years2
to 4 years
Following the April 6, 1983 Nation At Risk report
there "was a movement to raise standards, improve schools
and hold educators and students accountable for academic performance"
according to Fredreka Schouten of Gannet News Service. Ms. Schouten
studied the results of twenty years of improvement effort following
the Nation At Risk report. Her study was reported in newspapers
on April 20, 2003. The following is a list of items that she
may or may not have included in her report. If you think that
any part of one or more of these items were NOT included
in her report, click False below. Otherwise click True.
1. More than one third of college freshmen and sophomores in
the 1999-2000 school year had taken at least one remedial class
2. Reading scores of 9-year-olds are flat (essentially unchanged
3. High school seniors recently ranked near the bottom in a 23
nation comparison of math and science scores.
4. Almost 60% of high school seniors scored below basic levels
in recent U.S. history tests.
5. Average scores on the verbal portion of SAT college entrance
tests were 503 in 1983 and 504 in 2002.
6. Average ACT college entrance tests were 19.9 in 1983 and 20.5
7. Manufacturers recently claimed that about half of their employee
training costs are for remedial work.
8. Seventy-eight percent of high school teachers presently believe
high school graduates have the skills needed to succeed in the
9. Forty-one percent of employers presently believe high school
graduates have the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.
10. Forty-seven percent of college professors believe high school
graduates are ready for college.
According to a 2009 study by the management consulting firm
McKinsey & Co., the gap between the academic achievement levels of
the U.S. and better performing nations, such as Finland and Korea,
knocked off as much as how much off the gross domestic product
(GDP) of the U.S. in 2008? (As a reference point, the 2008 health care
costs in the U.S. were about 16% of GDP.)
(8% of GDP)$1.72 trillion
(12% of GDP)$2.3 trillion
(16% of GDP)$2.86 trillion
(20% og GDP)