If you have not carefully analyzed the most accurate and complete study of U.S. adult literacy ever commissioned by the U.S. government, you DO NOT know the seriousness of this well-hidden problem.
The media have not accurately reported on this study. There are several possible reasons. Reporters are in a hurry to get their report out before another news media reports it, so they only read the Executive Summary. Or they read the report of the study, but the study does not carefully detail the meaning of some of the data that are contained in the report of the study. Or they do not want to upset the educational and political leaders by highlighting the very serious nature of the problem.
Whatever the reason, the shocking facts reported in the 1993 Adult Literacy in America study report (see http://nces.ed.gov/pubs93/93275.pdf) have been largely ignored. This is true even though the results of this report were confirmed by a report issued in 2006 (see http://nces.ed.gov/NAAL/PDF/2006470.PDF). The Adult Literacy in America study was a five-year, $14 million study involving extensive interviews of 26,049 U.S. adults statistically chosen by age, gender, ethnicity, and location (urban, suburban, and rural locations in twelve states across the U.S. and including 1100 prisoners from 80 prisons) to represent the entire U.S. population. The 2006 report was prepared by the same group as the 1993 report, but it used a database of 19,714 interviewees.
The Adult Literacy in America study gave the interviewees written material to read and then tested how they responded to what they had read. They divided the interviewees into five groups, depending upon how well they responded. The two least literate groups totaled 48.7% of the interviewees. The average annual earnings of these two groups were well below the threshold poverty level earnings for an individual in 1993 according to the U.S. Census Bureau!
There are several methods used to determine functional literacy in English. By far the most accurate method of determining functional literacy is the wages that employers are willing to pay to employ workers who can read and write well enough to be a profitable employee. Employers have a strong financial incentive to determine accurately how well their prospective employee can read and write. No other method of determining literacy has such a strong incentive for accuracy. In fact, researchers may very well have reasons for wanting their literacy determinations to show certain results.
Almost all American adults can read a thousand or more simple words they learned in the first three grades in school. A careful analysis of the data in the Adult Literacy in America study, however, proves conclusively—as shocking and as unbelievable as it may be—that 48.7% of U.S. adults are functionally illiterate. It also proves that 31.2% of these functional illiterates are in poverty and that they are more than twice as likely to be in poverty because of their illiteracy as for all other reasons combined.
After many years of research, Literacy Research Associates, Inc. and NuEnglish, Inc. (two non-profit educational corporations) have perfected a proven, easy-to-implement solution to the very serious problem of English functional illiteracy. Our nine websites explain the seriousness and the solution to the problem of illiteracy. Our “home” websites are http://NuEnglish.org and http://EveryoneCanReadNow.com. Our http://LearnToReadNow.com website gives the best introduction to our humanitarian project of ending our very real literacy crisis. No website, however, can give the understandable, progressive, and complete revelation of all the facts that may be needed to spur readers to action that is almost certain after a careful reading of our breakthrough book, Let’s End Our Literacy Crisis, Revised Edition available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/1589824970. If more than 500 million English-speaking people around the world who are functionally illiterate in English (including more than 93 million in the U.S. alone) knew the choice facing you at this moment, they would urge you to get this book and carefully read it.