Illiteracy In America – 1974 – Past Daily Reference Room
. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – NPR: Options In Education – Illiteracy In America – 1974 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.
I guess, despite advances in technology, the age-old problem of Illiteracy continues at full gallop – always has/maybe always will.
In 1974; forty years ago, the problem of illiteracy in our schools was acute. The richest country in the world and we were unable to teach our children basic grammar. And rather than taper-off in higher grades, the problem became only worse, the older school aged children got. We were in danger in becoming a society of illiterates.
And it was a nationwide problem – one that, even in 1974 came with dire warnings of consequences unless we turned things around. Our society was doomed if we were no longer able to read or write even in simplest terms. It was estimated that, by Third grade fully 15% of students weren’t able to read at all. The breakdown wasn’t universal or across the board. It was thought that children of either Professional, College-graduated parents or affluent parents would number from 0-1%. It was the inner-city numbers that had people worried. It was estimated that between 35-50% of inner city third graders couldn’t read.
The problem had gotten so bad by 1974 that legislation was pending to give emergency funding to Schools in order to teach basic reading and writing skills from levels K-12.
Forty years later and people are still having trouble figuring out the difference between there, their and they’re.
In this one-hour discussion, part of the NPR Options In Education series of the 1970s, several educators and members of Congress get together to discuss the problem and what steps were being taken to deal with it.
Remember – we’re talking about 1974 here – 2014 is a different situation entirely.
Or maybe it really isn’t.
Here is that episode of Options In Education – Illiteracy In America from May of 1974.