Metasebya a tsige (Meti) Prof. Ruthie Grant English 103 Literacy and Education Today in America

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Metasebya A Tsige (Meti)

Prof. Ruthie Grant

English 103


Literacy and Education

Today in America



Literacy and Education

Today in America


When literacy statistics are discussed, we have a tendency to discount the number simply because it seems impossible to believe that so many millions of American people are considered functionally illiterate. We might ask ourselves who do I know that cannot read? We may think everyone goes to school, so there must be some mistake, but according to the U.S. Department of Education report, twenty one percent (21%) of adults are functionally illiterate, reading at or below a fifth grade level and another twenty-five percent (25%) of adults are actual illiterates, meaning that they can’t understand, interpret, and apply written material to accomplish daily tasks.

Beyond the basic definition, there is significance in the shocking statistics about the functionally illiterate. What illiteracy means is that millions my not be able to understand the directions on a medicine bottle or be able to read their telephone bill, make correct change, find and keep a job, or read to a child.

It really depresses me when I look at these statistics and think of International students like me. We have come away from home into a completely different country, a completely different culture, only because of the educational opportunities here and are paying twice, the amount an American resident is paying in tuition but most of the nationals don’t seem to have recognition or the realization of the facilities that they can avail, all just because they do not have enough time to waste on "thinking" about these matters.

Education is the only solution that I know to these dilemmas. Education, understood not as technique or training, not as schooling but as part and parcel of “ the engagement of being human,” that is the shared act of making meaning of meanings inherited from others. Only the remaking of meanings can build our connections to others and overcome loneliness; these connections to things we would rather forget or rather not know. Education understood in this way is rarely easy is often dangerous, but through its dialogue with others, always affirms our humanity.

Education is the key to the development in any area of life of an individual. Education seems to pertain to all-important aspects of one’s life reflecting upon personal ideas and thoughts. I seem to believe that the mind of today’s generation are from all aspects, no less creative than those who we might look up to for their intelligence or creativity. The brains of the present are intelligent but numb, requiring a little exercise before reaching its true capabilities. Even though one might be intensely involved in what they are doing, rarely have I found someone who really understood, and thought about what they do, why they do it and what is it that they really want. It is somehow just taken as a fact of life.

Basically, I am from a Third world country where the masses are mainly illiterate. Generally, people have blind faith in the fact that what their fore fathers have been practicing is the best and only way in which they are to lead their lives. It so appears that a farmer’s son is to be a farmer, tailor’s son is to be a tailor and a doctor’s son is to be a doctor. We are living in a world where we do not even have the freedom of thinking for what exactly we want without being influenced by how others might perceive it .All we seem to be concerned about is how the society feels about a certain thing, and as for our own minds, they are set to rest and go stale.

If only we could sit down once in a while, and think of all that we have achieved, and all that we would want to achieve. Be grateful for what we have, and think of ways of getting what more we want .The regular creative use of the brain, accompanied by good education would definitely help in making peoples lives a whole lot happier and peaceful.

The fate of the world is in the hands of literacy. Literacy has a relation to many parts of society’s existence, including individual cultures, the ideology of those cultures and the spoken work of the people. In addition, proposing standards of “good” English could affect literacy. Literacy is the skill to understand, respect, and seek out knowledge. Those who are literate have a higher capacity for happiness and pleasure because they can comprehend the preciousness of a beautiful thing. If the key is improvement, then each adult must assume responsibility for his or her own individual development.

Emerson begins “Self-Reliance” by saying that we need to trust ourselves and what we are thinking. That to create our own ideas and to believe in them is “genius.” And also he discusses society’s view on individuals: “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.” Society, Emerson argues, doesn’t teach its individuals to be self-reliant, but instead wants dependency on the society. Likewise, he emphasizes that individualism is key in a society that wants to remove you of your opinion.

Emerson's Essay 'Self-Reliance' proposes a code for living that defies all previous constructs and encourages a societal outlook foreign to many minds. He encourages the reader to free himself from the constraints of conformity and give himself over to his nature, which he supposes, "no man can violate" (Emerson). His theory is that everything in nature operates in tune with divine Providence, and that by conforming oneself to societal conventions, man cuts himself of from that rhythm which dictates all life. The essay then proceeds to encourage man to get back to that state. To strip itself of the routine thought associated with the rigidity of society, and to live in tune with his law of the spirit, which he insists, will not mislead; cannot mislead in fact, because the spirit is inherently attuned to the will of the Most High power. "Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string" (Emerson).

Emerson emphasizes over and over again that in order to gain ones own independence, one must first abandon all learned things and seek to accumulate thereafter only the knowledge which one attains firsthand and deems pertinent to be assimilated into ones own truth. "Nothing is at last sacred, but the integrity of your own mind" states Emerson, because "Nothing can bring you peace but yourself".

Moore states in his “Stupid White Men” book about president George W. Bush that “ sadly, you may be a functional illiterate. One thing is clear to everyone – you can’t speak the English language in sentences.” Our nation is at risk; In order to improve the problems facing America today, people are going to have to learn to depend less on the government and become more independent and self-reliant. In the end, life will be better because we will have more choices and more control over our money, and over our civil right. We must reduce these inefficiencies by reducing the role that the government plays in our lives.

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