A single illiterate person is a tragedy.Â
A million illiterate peopleÂ is a statistic.Â
(paraphrased from Josef Stalin)
In Indiana,Â a child wasn’t being well raised, intervention by other family members was needed, and the newspaper needed to report it:
Black Enterprise, New York, NY, 5 April 2006,Â Free, for Good or Ill: Parents, Critics Disagree on Need for Oversight:
Before he moved in with the Chapmans, the boy could barely read and had a speech impediment that made it hard to understand him. Within six months, he could read at a third-grade level, and his speech had started to improve.
Local families who home-school their children tout the freedom Indiana affords them in educating their children, but critics question whether there is enough oversight to ensure the system isn’t abused.
It’s good that someone was available to rescue the boy and give himÂ an education that seems to be working for him.Â But who rescues those who are already in public school andÂ aren’t succeeding?Â Â The 2003 report, A First Look at the Literacy of Americaâ€™s Adults in the 21st CenturyÂ (dial-up caution: large document with charts and graphics),Â shows:
page 5:Â Fifty-two percent of adults in the total NAAL population completed at least some education beyond high school, compared to 14 percent of adults with Below Basic prose literacy. [the point being that 14% of adults with "some education beyond high school" have Below Basic prose literacy -- 1% were in the "Graduate studies/degree" level]
page 14:Â Average prose literacy decreased for all levels of educational attainment between 1992 and 2003, with the exception of adults who were still in high school or completed a GED (table 7).
page 15:Â On the prose scale, the percentage of college graduates with Proficient literacy decreased from 40 percent in 1992 to 31 percent in 2003.
A shortÂ report of theÂ study is available from the New York Times:
16 December 2005, Literacy Falls for Graduates From College, Testing Finds
In the discussion of how much regulation and oversight, if any,Â should be levied on homeschooling families, the NAAL study shows that not even a nationwide standard of compulsory school attendance produces a population in whichÂ 100% ofÂ the members function even at the “Basic” literacy level.
I am happy that Erinn Chapman’s young brother’s situation was recognized and fixed.Â The implication in the first article that the existence ofÂ this kind of situation means thatÂ stricter homeschooling rules and regulations will keep all such situations from happening, i.e., “to ensure the system isn’t abused,”Â is erroneous.