Decline of Literacy & Budget Constraints
Decline of Literacy
"...literary reading in America is not only declining rapidly among all groups, but the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among the young."- NEA
According to a 2002 survey taken by the NEA literary reading has declined by 10% since 1982. They surveyed 17,000 Americans and determined that the largest decline was 28% among 18-24 year olds. It seems that, that demographic isn’t reading at all, but in reality they are spending most of their time reading blogs, and fanfiction stories. That just tells us to evolve, adapt to the new form of literacy.
Literacy needs to be redefined to account for the new forms of reading instead of your typical papers. Most news reading is read online instead of the newspaper. Also more fanfictions are being read instead of your typical novel. Fanfictions are the equivalent of short stories. Since People aren’t reading novels does that really mean that literacy is in a decline, or that we have moved on to a different form of literature?
The even start program is a program that offers grants to help local family literary projects. It is mainly to help low-income families. There budget grew to over 250 million dollars annually, but the Bush Administration has called this program ineffective and has cut its budget to $63 million for the 2008 fiscal year. Another program with minimal funding is the No Child Left Behind Law, which is used to improve standardized test scores. Low income schools have to stick to strict materials instead of giving the students valuable online skills, so they are falling behind in online literacies, which in turn is creating a larger decline in the literacy of the new age.
Budgets need to be adjusted to get everything we can out of the internet, and its functions. Project Gutenberg is one example of a free online Literacy program. They are trying to reach out to all communities by putting books online for free reading. "With the Internet becoming the dominant site for reading and writing, especially among young people, some scholars predict that eventually only a small "reading class" will ever read novels, book-length nonfiction texts or serious magazines." We need to have funds available to get low-income families computers and cheap internet so their family can have a fair chance at education. Also so more readings will be available for free online.
NEA = National Endowment for the Arts