ERIC Number: ED305449
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Feb-10
Reference Count: 0
Illiteracy in America: What To Do about It. Backgrounder No. 690.
Countless reports have appeared during the past decade documenting the United States' failure to educate its citizens. These studies indicate that 27 million adult Americans have left school either unable to read and write, or unable to read sufficiently well to understand the most basic newspaper articles or official forms. These problems have prompted some groups to look to the federal government for solutions, especially increased funding. However, there is no evidence suggesting that additional federal spending is likely to solve or even reduce significantly the number of people lacking basic reading and writing skills. Instead, the way to win the war on illiteracy is to spur action by local communities, private organizations, and state and local governments. The federal government can best help these efforts by coordinating current federal programs, by creating a data bank listing successful local and volunteer efforts, and by keeping attention focused on the problem. In addition, a back-to-basics strategy is needed in the schools, with more emphasis on reading, writing, and mathematics skills. Temptations to increase "technology" education and vocational education should be resisted, and phonics should again be taught. Only when the issue is focused on local schools can the problem of illiteracy be solved. (KC)
Descriptors: Adult Literacy, Back to Basics, Basic Skills, Community Involvement, Educational Improvement, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Federal Government, Government Role, Illiteracy, Literacy Education, Policy Formation, Public Policy, Skill Development
Heritage Foundation Publications Office, 214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002 ($2.00; over 10: 20 percent discount).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC.