Education: Losing the War of Letters

A Government study finds that one of eight Americans cannot read

"We are creating a new generation of illiterates." With those words, Robert Barnes, an official of the U.S. Department of Education, last week released a chilling analysis of a basic literacy test given by the Bureau of the Census to 3,400 Americans age 20 and over. Thirteen percent flunked the test, able to answer only 20 or fewer of the 26 multiple-choice questions. (Sample: Don't allow your medical identification card to a) be used b) have destroy c) go lose d) get expired by any other person.) "It was a pretty simple test," notes Barnes dryly.

Atop the dismal failure rate,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!