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03 October 2017 @ 05:31 am
Milt Stevens 1942-2017  
Milt Stevens was an excellent fan writer who said things like, “One might theorize that the decline of literacy in America is the direct result of the lack of unwholesome mind-rotting trash for the kids to read.”

Thanx to File 770
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Marionweofodthignen on October 3rd, 2017 07:11 pm (UTC)
They were a big thing in the 20s and 30s.

I used to teach, too, though not such a wide range as you. (And I also started with freshman comp, which was a particular shock since the system I came out of used essay-writing as the main means of selection for college.) But except for some of my refugee students, post-HS students are at least partly self-selected. It's hard to be aware how deep the illiteracy goes; I keep having to revise my estimate down.
Elenbarathi: Knowledgeelenbarathi on October 3rd, 2017 08:13 pm (UTC)
I sure hear you about that! But these days I'm mostly encountering the illiteracy of adults my own age and older - not minority, immigrant, cognitively disabled or impoverished; white middle-class Americans with high-school diplomas, some with college degrees. Some of them are avid readers, even - with whole walls of bookshelves filled with brain-candy fiction that wouldn't challenge a literate sixth-grader.

They can't read a contract and tell you what it's asking them to agree to. They don't think critically about what they read, or distinguish clearly between fact, opinion and falsehood. Their vocabularies have big gaps, and they don't look up words they don't know; they just *bleep* past them on a wild guess. Their writing is fragmented, ungrammatical and illogical, when they write at all, and many never do.

A lot of our Boomer generation had/has unaddressed learning disabilities, which haven't gotten better with age, but more than that, a lot were just never educated very well in the first place. How Children Fail was published in 1964; public school then was different (or at least looked different) but it wasn't better than now, and in some ways was worse. If everyone in America took an abbreviated version of the SATs every 10 years along with the Census, I wouldn't bet on the Boomers out-scoring the Millennials.