ERIC Number: ED224030
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Nov
Statistics indicating that the problem of illiteracy is lessening mask a greater problem--that of functional illiteracy. Functional illiterates may have some reading and writing skills but are not able to apply them as functioning members of society. A 1975 study using the most sophisticated instrument that had ever been used to determine illiteracy in the United States adult population indicated that 16% of white, 44% of black, and 56% of Spanish-speaking adults in the United States were unable to write a check, address an envelope, or calculate the amount of change they should receive from a purchase with a 20-dollar bill. Parents and students blame the educational system for this failure while educators blame the students themselves. Researchers contend that children are watching too much television and not reading enough. The cost of functional illiteracy to the national economy in decreased productivity and in social welfare expenses is estimated at six billion dollars a year, but it is difficult to determine how many aspects of economic life are linked, directly or indirectly, to functional illiteracy. A number of federal and state funded programs such as Title I and Right to Read have been initiated along with basic adult education and literacy training by employers. In addition, private organizations are working to stem the tide of functional illiteracy in the United States. (HTH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Freedom of Information Center, Columbia, MO.