Skip to comments.K-12: Illiteracy can kill us
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 cant 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 its 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 its unscrewed counterclockwise. Imagine theres an emergency, a fire is starting, some guy whos 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 cant 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 Deweys 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 wouldnt 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?"
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 its done.
But yeah. Far too Americans cannot read and write even on an elementary level.
Well the ideas public “schools” are pushing certainly are killing us.
In the 1950's, "Why Johnnie Can't Read", and in the 1970's, "Why Johnnie STILL Can't Read".
Follow the money.
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 thats the disconnect and thats the circuit breaker
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...
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.
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.
Fascinating stuff. I worry everything will get worse.
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.