Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

K-12: Illiteracy can kill us
Renew America ^ | Sept. 12, 2019 | Bruce Deitrick Price

Posted on 09/30/2019 8:09:56 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice

Every time I hear about an industrial accident or a Navy ship catching fire, I wonder if the real cause is that the workers can’t read the manuals.

On the good side, we have a stampede of wonderful new gadgets and apps to play with. On the other hand, that means many new instruction books to comprehend and many features we never figure out. An instruction book for even a thirty-dollar item can go on and on. Personally, I wing it a lot. And I can read. What happens to all the people who can barely read? They are accidents waiting to happen.

All these thoughts came together when I recently watched the video of a professional mechanic taking apart a new Supra B58 engine (from Toyota). A beautiful high-tech marvel with hundreds of parts. I am in awe of people who can work on something so complex. This mechanic quickly and smoothly extracted the parts and arranged them on his workbench.

But at 10:19, the mechanic says, “Now we flip the engine over and start pulling the short block apart. This bolt is actually reverse rotation. I have been reading the service manual on this, and this is one of the reasons why you always want to read the manual if it’s available because a bolt like this can really give you a bad day if you don't realize its reverse rotation. You keep turning it counter-clockwise to try to loosen it and you may end up breaking it or something. I knew ahead of time, turned it clockwise and it came right out.”

In the middle of this engineering masterpiece, they hid a booby trap. And if there, one could be anywhere.

You naturally assume that it’s unscrewed counterclockwise. Imagine there’s an emergency, a fire is starting, some guy who’s only a semi-pro is trying to fix something quickly. He'll probably try to force the screw and break it. The guy in the video is a top pro and he was clearly shocked to find such a surprise.

We have almost 50,000,000 functional illiterates. For these people, life is full of surprises you can hardly imagine. They can half-read. They can half-understand. They can guess and skip, as instructed. These people could be called semi-literate, or semi-illiterate. They can't read for pleasure. They can't read quickly and confidently, that's the main point. They can’t be sure they have understood the instructions.

Many observers believe that Progressive educators, wanting to level the society, deliberately created this vast vulnerability by the simple device of using instructional methods that don't work. And now our semi-literate are everywhere. Probably millions have drivers licenses and do complex work. They learn just enough to get along. That's what the phrase “functioning illiterate” means.

The risk to these individuals, and the society, is a serious problem. According to the Literacy Foundation: "Illiterate individuals have more workplace accidents, take longer to recover and more often misuse medication through ignorance of health care resources and because they have trouble reading and understanding the relevant information (warnings, dosage, contraindications, etc.).” Imagine all the billions of dollars wasted by these mistakes.

Five-year-olds can learn to read so why do we have this unnecessary and dangerous problem? Reading is the essential skill, the pathway leading to all the other subjects. Maybe that's why it was the first skill that John Dewey and his Progressives started undermining 90 years ago.

Professor G. Stanley Hall, one of Dewey’s mentors, opined that illiterate people can have pleasant lives in spite of their handicap. Dewey wanted to teach reading later and more slowly than was normal. Start in the fourth grade, that was his plan. Dewey hated the idea of a kid curled up with a book. She wouldn’t become a good socialist because she could withdraw from the group. Sight-words were intended to be the final solution for American reading. Everyone ends up a crippled reader.

The secret to understanding our current illiteracy problems is to grasp why sight-words don't work. The English language is vast, almost 1,000,000 words. Criminally foolish educators claimed that children can memorize English words one at a time. A hopeless project unless someone has a photographic memory. Children should be reading in the first grade. If they are not, you know the school is using a bogus method.

QED: Make sure your local schools are doing a good job with literacy. This might save some lives.

By the way, watching a video about a motor is not as esoteric as some may think. Almost three million people watched it in several weeks after it appeared.

Bruce Deitrick Price's new book is "Saving K-12 – What happened to our public schools? How do we fix them?"

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Education; History; Society
KEYWORDS: accidents; death; illiteracy; injury

1 posted on 09/30/2019 8:09:56 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

I am an above average reader. I always have read despite poor vision.

But there is plenty to be said for watching a video on how to do something. I am one of many who can watch something be done, and who can see something and understand how to do it a lot better than reading how it’s done.

But yeah. Far too Americans cannot read and write even on an elementary level.

2 posted on 09/30/2019 8:26:40 PM PDT by Responsibility2nd
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

Well the ideas public “schools” are pushing certainly are killing us.

3 posted on 09/30/2019 8:35:54 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not Averse to Going Bronson.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd
Rudolph Flesch explains what caused and is causing this in his books,

In the 1950's, "Why Johnnie Can't Read", and in the 1970's, "Why Johnnie STILL Can't Read".

Follow the money.

4 posted on 09/30/2019 8:53:42 PM PDT by Mogger
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd

This is funny

I have to read complex manuals all the time and figure out how to wire program and start inverters and sometimes even I make mistakes but then I just reviewed the manual again and I go OK that’s the disconnect and that’s the circuit breaker

5 posted on 09/30/2019 9:02:14 PM PDT by Truthoverpower (The guvmint you get is the Trump winning express !)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

My mother had a great system - she’d hand us a book and say read three chapters before you can go out and play. All of us learned to read - and to read fast...

6 posted on 09/30/2019 9:36:43 PM PDT by GOPJ (Did Quid Pro Joe's son pay taxes on the $50,000 A MONTH 'earned' from Ukraine graft??)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Truthoverpower

And then there are the GD manuals that were apparently written by someone whose third language is English, written from an office, with no hands on of the product for which they are writing the manual.

7 posted on 09/30/2019 10:46:22 PM PDT by Hardastarboard (Three most annoying words on the internet - "Watch the video")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: BruceDeitrickPrice
THE HATEFUL CAT (by SLADE HORNET): Splintered Series Kindle Edition ($0)
8 posted on 09/30/2019 11:14:45 PM PDT by Berlin_Freeper (Another day younger and wiser.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Berlin_Freeper
Emergence Series (Books 1-3), A Post-Apocalyptic Thriller Kindle Edition ($0)
9 posted on 09/30/2019 11:16:40 PM PDT by Berlin_Freeper (Another day younger and wiser.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

Back in my early 20s I read about the reading and math wars, most of it thanks to Thomas Sowell. On the one side you had the ‘traditionalists’ who said that phonics and old-style math (without calculators) were the way to go. They were also conservatives. On the other side, you had the liberals saying that was all wrong and it whole language and ‘technology’-based math was the way to go. They said that the old ways were ‘drill-and-kill’ and that kids needed to understand the beauty of the written word before worrying about whether they could actually read it (and that’s true).

I figured that since the Left was wrong on literally EVERYTHING they touched, they were almost certainly wrong regarding how to teach little kids. So my kids proceeded to learn phonics and were reading books by 4 years old, and excellent readers by 5 years old - and they learned math the OLD WAY, which put them years ahead of their competition...which allowed them to graduate years early and is now paying dividends in their careers.

I told the people who knew my kids what I did and they smiled, and then sent their kids back to their ‘wonderful’ public schools the next day. I told them the political motivations of why the Left prevents kids from learning reading and math when they are young and they thought I was from another planet. My thinking was that their kids could do the same (which was certainly true as my kids were nothing special, and certainly not self-motivated to learn), but the way they saw it, I was telling them that they were crappy parents. It took me about 15 years to figure that out...and I agree, they were crappy parents.

10 posted on 10/01/2019 1:11:06 AM PDT by BobL (I eat at McDonald's and shop at Walmart - I just don't tell anyone.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BruceDeitrickPrice
I discovered that semi-literates and near illiterates were not uncommon in fairly high positions as civilian employees in government owned and operated industrial repair and overhaul facilities. Many of the engine and other mech system techs had learned by ‘monkey see-monkey do training and were utterly unable to describe the process they did and the relationship to the overhaul plan. I met a good many second and third level supervisors who were unable to compose any written document. All they knew how to do was sign what was put in front of them. Having significant numbers of supervisors who were effectively illiterate in an industrial facility helped engender what I called ‘anti-managerial mindset’ in much of the organization. It was quite enlightening and made me wonder how similar were commercial maintenance and overhaul corporations, particularly the cluster of such companies at Miami International Airport. We were directed to divert certain workloads on older technologies to several vendors at this location and the times I had reason to go there disclosed an organizational ‘us-them’ attitude among many of the Hispanic employees. Many would pretend to not understand English to stonewall answering as to why certain grossly dysfunctional maintenance protocols were being used. The overhauled systems from these shops were being sent to several Latin American air forces as a part of military aid. I wouldn't want to fly on any aircraft that contained the products of any of those companies overhaul lines.
11 posted on 10/01/2019 3:58:45 AM PDT by robowombat (Orthodox)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: robowombat

Fascinating stuff. I worry everything will get worse.

12 posted on 10/01/2019 1:11:29 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice (education reform)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson