Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"The Human Cost of An Illiterate Society"

In this article by Jonathan Kozol, he discovered that after graduating from Harvard University in 1958 that while teaching in the public school systems in Boston's inner city that he made a startling discovery. It was published in his first book, Death At An Early Age that the schools failed to provide an adequate education to the poor, mostly concerning the minority population. One of his most profound works was Illiterate America in which he begins to examine the human and financial costs that illiteracy can have in the United States.

One quote that was important to me that summed up the life of an illiterate person was when a woman stated, "you don’t choose" you take your wishes from somebody else (page 207, The Human Cost of An Illiterate Society, Jonathan Kozol.) The reason that I selected this quote was because it's true that if you can't read you are pretty much at the mercy of someone else dictating a world to you that you have no say in. You basically just live in the shadows of the literate society in which you hopefully don't get lost in the mix.

The term that is critical to the text is illiterate (page 203, The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society, Jonathan Kozol.) The reason that this term is important to the text is because it’s the premise of the whole article. If you can't read in this society that is driven by text then you are at a disadvantage. You have trouble being able to simple tasks such as writing a check, being able to recognize labels on food, to being able to travel freely.

Of all the blogs that I had to right about this is the one that touched me the most. I never realized how difficult life can be if you aren’t provided with the tools and skills necessary to be able to function in this word dominated world. You basically have to be "babysat” through simple tasks. This can lead one to be taken advantage of since you aren't able to understand the meaning behind the words.

Our schools have to be held accountable so it’s up to our schools to stop this trend of producing illiterate kids and change this vicious cycle. I practice being proactive instead of reactive when it comes time to teaching our youth. Its time that we teachers begin to reverse this trend, stand up, and shout "I WILL NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN AGAIN!! This is when I quote Barack Obama and say to myself "change you can believe in."

1 comment: