9.712 literacy

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Wed, 10 Apr 1996 21:34:28 -0400 (EDT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 712.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Haradda@aol.com (18)
Subject: Re: 9.706 the idea of literacy

I have been thinking about Dr. O'Donnell's request about literacy. I have
read Dr. O'Donnell's web sites on Augustine and History of the Book. I seem
to have read much the same books as he has. I have been much impressed and
he has pointed me in the direction of several new books to read. I have been
following the books about "political correctness and education". Might I
suggest he might look at some of the books and publishings of John Taylor
Gatto. "Dumbing Us Down" is his one that seems to always be in print. But
he has made a number of speeches about education in the U.S. prior to the
formation of the public school systems . I have been looking at some of his
citations and they seem to hold up to me.
Perhaps you are seeing as the defining of "literacy" simply the result of the
formation of the public schools that were a way of "melting pot" the massive
immigration of the post Civil War America. There seems to be lots of
evidence that England and the United States had relatively high rates of
literacy. There are too many stories of people plowing in the fields reading
Descartes, Hume, and Paine. If you consider the amount of copies of Paine's
Common Sense that were published to the population. The literacy rate must
have been almost 100%.