What do you think is responsible for America's high rate of low-literacy skills?

The number of people with low literacy skills in America is quite high. Is it a lack of proper education, or do people just not care about being educated anymore?

Answer #1

I think it’s a combination of that and technology. Children prefer to sit in front of the computer all day and eat nonsense instead of studying. Also I blame it on parents, mothers have started working in the past two decades and all of a sudden children are left alone at home with no guidance. I’m not sayin that we as woman shouldn’t be working or that all kids with working mothers are illiterate, I’m just thinking that when you are working all day you might be slightly too tired to discipline your kids or help them with their homework when you get back.

Answer #2

I think the major issue is the lack of desire to be educated. Surely there are other things that contribute to it, but a lot of kids simply do not want to go to school or do the work. A lot of them skip classes, play hooky, don’t do homework, or they do a combination of all three. And, as it is, it just seems to get worse over time.

Answer #3

I don’t think it’s either, because I don’t think the problem applies to the entire country. No other “developed” country is comparable with the US in terms of geographic size, population size, AND diversity in culture and language. This makes it hard to make generalisations about the country in things like literacy and education. Also, many things in the US are still handled at the state level, and although the federal government is involved in education, I think for this you have to look at states and regions.

For example, while US students overall are behind many other countries, students in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Vermont, Wisconsin, the Dakotas, and New Hampshire are behind only Japan and Singapore in science. Students in Massachusetts are on par with Japan in mathematics. Meanwhile, the District of Columbia has the lowest math scores in the US and lags behind 29 other countries. What does that tell you? The problem is a regional, or state one. How good of an education you get in the US depends on where you are.

I read an article that compared the US with Finland. Finnish students are among the best in the world in several areas, and the article examined why this is. Finland has one cirriculum across the entire country; the US does not, although individual states often do (again, size of the country plays a part here). Finnish students actually don’t start school until age 7, and don’t have much homework. But, Finnish teachers must have Master Degrees and teaching is very competitive. Also, students in Finland, as here in Germany, are “tracked” in the last few years of their education, meaning you attend university, vocational school, or a vocational academy of some kind based on testing and diagnostics in high school. Essentially, your career path starts while you’re still in school. Not everyone is going to attend four-year college to become a professional, and Finland understands this.

Also, Finland doesn’t separate fast learners from slow learners. This was an important point, because from a young age Finnish students incorporate the social element into school, with fast learners serving as role models for the slower learners.

However, I seriously doubt the Finnish education system could incorporate teachers and students from cultures all over the world as well as America’s does. I think the reality is, smaller countries with less gap between rich and poor and where everybody thinks the same way and speaks the same language are going to have an easier time educating the entire population to one standard.

Answer #4

This is not a recent problem. Do you think Americans who grew up during the 1800’s were well educated? I do not. How well an individual or group is educated depends upon what the standard of comparison. We can compare to other people, other countries or to some “standard test” like the S.A.T. etc. I believe that deviations from the long term trend for total litteracy is a demographic issue. I believe that the long term trend (generational) is positive. However there have been demographic events that have caused setbacks in this trend.

To mention some of the major events with negative effect:

 1. the high level of immigration during the latter half of the 1800"s.
 2. the integration of the public school system.
 3. elimination of the military draft which was a control to prevent dropout.
 4. the high level of hispanic immigration during the past 30 years.
 5. court interference in the process of maintaining discipline which has resulted in a lack of discipline which has lead to an exodus of many of the better teachers.

It is very much a state by state issue which is dependent upon the “culture” and ongoing cultural disruptions within each state.

I will also mention a political event(s) that resulted in a positive deviation from trend. That is the adoption by the states in the early 1900’s of mandatory education. We are presently coming to such a s

Answer #5

Best answer in the world. I Love germany’s education system, I wish we would adopt something similar here. You did leave out one thing I think I would ad and that iss Americans sense of entitlement.

Answer #6

Entitlement. Our kids are born into this society where everything is taken for granted. Waych the kids from other countries who come to America and take advantage of our education system. These are the kids who use the resources, stay late in libraries and make something of themselves. Most kids are too worried about Pop culture and tatoo’s and piercings. I know this because I was one of those kids who was more interested in being cool, than learning all I could from our Education system. i regret that.

Answer #7

I like to chalk it up to the rest of the planet being over-achievers. _GEEKS!!!

Answer #8

I feel its a bigger issue than just lacking of literacy. So many people of sadly even my generation and the next generation younger than me feel they are entitled to so many things w/o putting forth any effort. They have no work ethic at all. Also they are coddled all their lives. Parents get angry when they young children loose the spelling bee, or the sport event so now everyone has to be a winner. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t teach the kids jack. Yes i might hurt to be the looser, but if you are never told “Sorry kid yo lost” you don’t have a reason to try harder next time. Also, kids are not forced to remember anything any more. Its even changed just between the time I went through school and my younger syblings. I had to memorize all 50ish counties for Montana, and their county seats. I had to memorize most of the periodic table. Now they hand them a periodic table in science class because its too hard on the kids to make them memorize it…… Kids are coddled, wrapped in protective bubbles, and told from day one that they are a winner. If you never loose you never have a reason to try to get better. If you never fall down you never learn to get back up. Lying to kids and telling them that they are all winners doesn’t help them at all. Once they hit “real” world its such a shock to them. “Well yah I slacked off, and didn’t do anything, why didn’t I get a raise tho, everyone is a winner”. Sorry doesn’t work that way kid.

And no I’m not saying tell the kids they suck and will never amount to anything, but there is nothing wrong with constructive criticism.

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