American Ignorance on the Rise

Even as the feds spend greater amounts of money subsidizing higher education, American literacy rates are plummeting. The latest: a stunning report that literacy rates for college graduates is collapsed from 40% in 1992 to just 31% in 2003. It’s shocking and deeply troubling that under one-third of college graduates are actually literate. While there are some lifestyle and demographic reasons for the drop, clearly many universities are awarding degrees to students who are not literate. No doubt, increasing federal subsidies and regulatory involvement in higher ed are not only failing to improve outcomes but are probably degrading the quality of our colleges.

It is frightening that the educational level of American civilization is in sharp decline.

From the New York Times (Sam Dillon):

"The average American college graduate’s literacy in English declined significantly over the past decade, according to results of a nationwide test released yesterday."

"The National Assessment of Adult Literacy, given in 2003 by the Department of Education, is the nation’s most important test of how well adult Americans can read.

"The test also found steep declines in the English literacy of Hispanics in the United States, and significant increases among blacks and Asians.

"When the test was last administered, in 1992, 40 percent of the nation’s college graduates scored at the proficient level, meaning that they were able to read lengthy, complex English texts and draw complicated inferences. But on the 2003 test, only 31 percent of the graduates demonstrated those high-level skills.