Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Most Literate Nations

I recently ran across a reference to a 2016 study - The World's Most Literate Nations (WMLN) - conducted by Central Connecticut State University which ranks literacy rates and literate behavior in more than 60 countries around the world. Here's the chart which summarizes the results:

The first thing to note is that the United States is ranked seventh overall, behind five nordic nations and Switzerland. Seventh. First place goes to Finland.

Let that sink in for a minute.

The rankings were calculated using various literacy test results and five categories that constituted "literate behavior characteristics" - Libraries, Newspapers, Education System-Inputs, Education System-Outputs and Computer Availability. The size of each nation's population was also considered in order to establish per capita data. Here's my thinking on how the US ended up in seventh place ...

1. Libraries. Underfunded, underused, and underappreciated, libraries are among the first public services to be cut when money is short. The WMLN report ranks the United States as tied with the United Kingdom for twenty-ninth in this measure. Russia ranks 17th.

2. Newspapers. Circulation is dropping in favor of broadcast media and online outlets that can generate lots of reporting that's a mile wide and an inch deep and can drone in the background without providing context or requiring the need to read and think. The WMLN report ranks the United States twelfth in this measure ... right below Bulgaria.

3. Education System - Inputs. Our teachers are underpaid and underappreciated, and our schools are woefully underfunded and buffeted by the demands of political and religious special interests. And the Department of Education is headed by an individual who is utterly unqualified for the position. The WMLN report ranks the United States ninth in this measure ... Mexico ranks third.

4. Education System - Outputs. This measure ranks nations according to how their students perform on standardized tests of reading ability. We're tied with Germany for 12th place, and elected an unqualified, unprincipled, and churlish boor to be president. 'Nuff said.

5. Computer Availability. The WMLN study ranks nations on the percentage of homes that have a desktop or laptop computer (smart phones, tablets, and TV sets are not considered). The US ranks 23rd, behind the Slovak Republic ... perhaps because computers seem to be most often used for social media and gaming.

Seventh place overall. Why am I not surprised?

Have a good day. Read more, and think about what you read.

Come back tomorrow for another collection of Great Moments in Editing and Signage. More thoughts then.



John Hill said...

Good read.

Big Sky Heidi said...

I'm surprised it was that high.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

We only have to look at the POTUS to know that..considering that buffoon has probably never read a book in his life.

Anemone said...

I'm surprised we did as well as that.

Insane Penguin said...

Coming out seventh does not sound too shabby! Maybe our schools aren't so bad after all.

Cloudia said...

Great post

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Scandinavian countries have very high literacy rates.

allenwoodhaven said...

You've nailed it again, Bilbo. It's a sad commentary given what the United States could and, I'd say should, be.

Bulgaria?! I'm still hanging onto my print subscription of a local newspaper but more often read Washington Post on line.