Re: Paying for Schools

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Wed Aug 29 2001 - 12:28:41 MDT>
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Pat Inniss wrote:
> Mike Lorrey wrote:
> >
> > Pat Inniss wrote:
> > >
> > > Mike Lorrey wrote:
> > > >
> > > > <snip>
> > > > Well, considering how much the left accepts the means justifying the
> > > > ends if it is their ends being served, you may notice that literacy
> > > > among African Americans was much higher prior to Brown v. Board of
> > > > Education than it is today....
> > >
> > > Mike -
> > >
> > > This allegation that illiteracy has increased among African Americans
> > > following Brown vs Board of Education is, as well as surprising, also
> > > quite inaccurate. According to Arthur Hu's statistics site
> > > (, which I hope
> > > you find a sufficiently conservative source, illiteracy among blacks
> > > over age 14 declined from 11% to 3.6% from 1947 to 1969.
> >
> > And what has occured since then, Pat? Since 1969, black illiteracy has
> > skyrocketed. I'm not surprised, though, this is rather typical 'cherry
> > picking' statistical practice. Integration wasn't even beginning to
> > spread widely until 1969, so using pre-1969 statistics to claim that
> > black illiteracy has not gone up since BvBOE is a fraudulent
> > presentation of facts. The facts you present, of pre-1969 data, show
> > that segregated educational systems were having a positive impact upon
> > literacy among african-americans.
> > <snip>
> Black illiteracy has "skyrocketed" since 1969? You accuse me of "cherry
> picking" statistics, when you have presented no supporting evidence
> whatsoever. This isn't a debate between liberal and conservative. It is
> actually between facts and fantasy. Once again I ask you, upon what are
> you basing these assertions? If you had perused my other link you would
> have seen additional statistics regarding the decline in illiteracy
> among African Americans during the 20th century. It is just the opposite
> of what you claim. If you get a chance between posts, take a gander at
> There you will
> find that from 1969 to 1979, when you say integration was beginning to
> spread widely and that illiteracy was consequently "skyrocketing," the
> rate of illiteracy among blacks over age 14 fell by more than 50%. While
> illiteracy among African Americans remains relatively high, it has never
> returned to the levels experienced before school desegregation was
> mandated.

Frankly I find it ludicrous to even claim that only 1.9% of blacks are
illiterate (or even just 1% of whites). Then I look in the fine print
and see that they are no longer sticking to objective standards of
literacy, but subjective opinions of 'functional literacy' which accepts
ebonics, misspellings, and other lack of grammatical rigor as
'functionally literate', and which sees nothing wrong with high school
graduates who can't do a simple algebra equation. The standards of
'functional literacy' ignore phonics, and require only that the
individual be able to read and spell a thousand or so words in generally
recognisable form and do simple arithmatic functions.

When over half of the students in a state fail the minimum standard of a
state standardized test, yet proponents of 'functional literacy' say
that 99% of Americans are literate, it is rather obvious that the
standards being used are completely unacceptable. When our kids'
teachers themselves are such poor spellers that their kids can't help
but fail to learn proper spelling,

> I am not saying that integration caused an increase in literacy.
> However, your theory that racial integration resulted in an increase in
> illiteracy among blacks is clearly contradicted by the evidence. If you
> can prove otherwise, please present your data.

Discusses race and literacy in general, and the following is from the
FAQ of the National Institute For Literacy's website ( ):

"How literate is the adult population?

Very few adults in the US are truly illiterate. Rather, there are many
adults with low literacy skills who lack the foundation they need to
find and keep decent jobs, support their children's education and
participate actively in civic life. Between 21 and 23 percent of the
adult population or approximately 44 million people, according to the
National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS), scored in Level 1 (Almost all
adults in Level 1 can read a little but not well enough to fill out an
application, read a food label, or read a simple story to a child.
Adults in Level 2 usually can perform more complex tasks such as
comparing, contrasting, or integrating pieces of information but usually
not higher level reading and problem-solving skills. Adults in levels 3
through 5 usually can perform the same types of more complex tasks on
increasingly lengthy and dense texts and documents. ). Another 25-28
percent of the adult population, or between 45 and 50 million people,
scored in Level 2. Literacy experts believe that adults with skills at
Levels 1 and 2 lack a sufficient foundation of basic skills to function
successfully in our society.

Many factors help to explain the relatively large number of adults in
Level 1. Twenty-five percent of adults in Level 1 were immigrants who
may have just been learning to speak English. More than 60 percent
didn't complete high school. More than 30 percent were over 65. More
than twenty-five percent had physical or mental conditions that kept
them from fully participating in work, school, housework, or other
activities, and almost twenty percent had vision problems that affected
their ability to read print. "

So by the NIFL's opinion, 21-23 percent of the adult population of the
US are functionally illiterate (as of 1992), which totally blows out of
the water your claims of only a few percent. The NIFL seems to be making
a specific effort at ignoring racial, gender, and other differences in
literacy and refuse to look at such in their national literacy

It would be wrong of me to blatantly blame all of this on blacks,
especially since they make up less than 13% of the population, however I
think that this demonstrates that at the very least, illiteracy among
all races in the US has gone up markedly since the years you provided
stats (1979), which proves my point. By 1979, integration was well
established and big cities generally had forced bussing in place by this
time. By 1992, when the above stats were collected, both integration and
forced bussing (as well as other social factors like the end of corporal
punishment in schools and the elimination of merit based grade
promotion) had done their damage.

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