ERIC Number: ED170727
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Literacy in Historical Perspective.
Lockridge, Kenneth A.
By the early nineteenth century, religion and social necessity had driven literacy in western Europe and in the United States from an overall level below 20% to about 50% of all men in a little more than two centuries; women had benefited as well. In the middle of the nineteenth century, the state entered the business of education on a large scale. Vast systems of public schools pushed reading and writing among men and women to essentially universal levels throughout western society by the early twentieth century. The classic arguments for literacy include the production of a healthy skepticism, the invitation to participate in a wide and varied new mental world, access to material prosperity, and the acquisition of the functional competence necessary to survive and prosper in, as well as improve, the world. These goals have been realized only in very limited and frustrating ways; in an age in which two-thirds of Americans need assistance with their tax returns, and most require lawyers to guide them through the bureaucracy, functional incapacity affects everyone. Self-directed learning using library facilities is recommended as a remedy to widespread functional incompetence. (DF)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the White House Conference on Library Information Services (Reston, Virginia, April 1-4, 1979)