Literacy and Poverty: How Tragic

While I do think and write about the demise of literacy (see Beyond Literacy), I always insist that exploring post-literacy is a visceral way to emphasize the extraordinary power of literacy. I may speculate about a post-literate world but I do not deny the fundamental importance of being able to read and write in the contemporary world.

So when I read the recent column in the New York Times by Nicholas Kristof (“Profiting From a Child’s Illiteracy“), I was crushed.

Here’s the lead paragraph:

“This is what poverty sometimes looks like in America: parents here in Appalachian hill country pulling their children out of literacy classes. Moms and dads fear that if kids learn to read, they are less likely to qualify for a monthly check for having an intellectual disability.”

Poverty + Government Policies + Safety Nets = Illiteracy? (!)

How can this be so?


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