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Literacy rate in the US remains high

November 08,2010 by: admin

The literacy rate has been used since its conception as a good indicator not only of the quality of education in a certain country but also its economic status. Since the United Nation has started doing studies on the literacy of countries all over the world, it has been expected that developed nations will rank high on the list. Yearly reports from the United Nations Development Program have proven this expectation to be correct. Among the countries, the US ranked 21st with a literacy rate of 99.0.

According to statistics, the literacy rate of the US did not decline as forecasted by many educators a few years ago due to the lack of interest in education American youths have been showing. In fact, some reports have claim that the literacy rate has increased. A research done last year revealed the most literate cities in America namely: Seattle, Washington, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Portland, ST. Paul, Boston, Cincinnati and Denver.

Other studies have also found out that the dropout rate of Americans between 16 to 24 years old have dropped. In 1980, the dropout rate was 14 percent but a study done in 2008 showed a 6 percent decrease from the figure in 1980.

In another report by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Boston, Massachusetts, an estimated 6.2 million students dropped out of high school. Most of the drop outs were Latinos or African Americans. Many educators are still worried because despite the high literacy rate reported by many researches done in the US, many Americans are still struggling due to their inability to read and write.

A federal study done revealed that about 32 million adults in the US have low literacy skills. This means that about one in seven Americans would have a difficult time to read important information such as the side effects of medications. Results from the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) also show that some states have been able to improve their literacy rate such as Mississippi.

On the other hand, the illiteracy rate increased in California, New York, Nevada and Florida. Additionally, a comparison on the state-level assessments done in 1992 and 2003 by the NAAL showed that there is no significant change in prose and documentary literacy within the 10-year period although there was an increase in quantitative literacy. Although these studies are not 100 percent accurate because of many uncontrollable factors, it is still important to consider the statistics because they can illustrate what is happening to the education system in the US.


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