Tuesday, February 06, 2007


An article in today's Christian Science Monitor is alarming. It quotes an organization called Educational Testing Service (ETS) which states "A larger share of workers will have minimal reading skills in 2030 than today". The reason is that most baby boomers will be retiring and a large wave of less-educated immigrants will be moving into the workforce.

Some are warning that a further segregation of society based on literacy will increase the size of the groups at both ends of society and decrease the so-called Middle Class. This would put our social organization in a structure similar to developing countries. The situation "could change the American Dream into the American Tragedy".

It's a serious situation. But, like most situations, not inevitable. We as teachers, librarians, and supporters of schools and libraries can lead the fight to reverse the trend. Many counties have "Literacy Councils", which frequently function through their libraries. If your county doesn't have one you should be working toward establishing one. Work to make sure your new or existing Council is meeting the needs of your community. Support ESL initiatives in your schools. Your library Friends group could and should be a dynamic force in this effort, aiding, assisting, even helping finance such an effort. As a nation we need to address this growing problem at all levels. Your Friends group should use it's Advocacy skills to make sure that your legislators and congressmen are painfully aware of the problem, the potential serious consequences, and recommended solutions.

A democracy whose citizens can't read is in serious trouble.

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