ERIC Number: ED171224
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Apr
What Are Basics and Why the Concern? Institute of Higher Education Newsletter, April 1979.
The forces or pressures that have produced a concern for fundamental skills of literacy are briefly considered, and a number of related questions are raised about willingness and capabilities for dealing with the issues in a deliberative, systematic manner. A major premise is the belief that the back-to-basics movement can be understood best in terms of the requirement of minimal competency testing in public schools by state legislatures and the current concern for basic academic competencies in general education at the college level. The back-to-basics movement implies a pervasive belief that the status of literacy in the 1970s is deplorable. The following questions or issues are discussed: (1) What is the evidence for a decline in literacy? (2) Can everyone in a pluralistic society master common reading, writing, and computational skills? Is it desirable that they do so? (3) Can schools and colleges actually teach reading and writing? Do school and college faculties have the resources, methods, and capabilities to actually do so? (4) Is there any genuine evidence that colleges can do what schools have obviously not done? Problems involving minimum competency tests are briefly discussed. It is concluded that the challenge to schools and colleges is to define or refurbish a workable concept of functional literacy in a democratic society with many pluralistic features. (SW)
Descriptors: Basic Skills, College Role, Competence, Elementary Secondary Education, General Education, Higher Education, Literacy, Literacy Education, Minimum Competency Testing, Newsletters, Reading Skills, Remedial Programs, State of the Art Reviews, Testing Problems, Trend Analysis, Writing Skills
Institute of Higher Education, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Georgia Univ., Athens. Inst. of Higher Education.
Note: Paper originally presented at a conference on "Back to the Basics" (Dalton Junior College, November 22, 1978)