Word For It. . .

2Chronicles7:14-“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Zero Reading Level?

I know two illiterate individuals. They are not kin to one another and are from different generations. One is an older male while the other is a middle-aged female, each having chances to learn skills and get by in their own ways. Each one has raised several children, with the female still of childbearing age, which she considers her lot in life and the way to acquire necessities.

The man, identified here as “Joe”, was born around 1940. Joe is completely dependent on his wife to take care of bills and any other pertinent documents. Joe operates a small roofing company but living within limited abilities has made him cynical and suspicious-minded. How do you know who is cheating you and who is spreading the word to others, setting you up before jobs bids even begin? As difficult as it is for a literate person to avoid liars and cheaters, how much worse can it be if you are not sure what you’re signing? Joe is always respectful and carefully phrases his words around me but I happen to know he has somewhat of a personality disorder, to which he subjects those in his everyday world. I suppose anyone in Joe’s situation would have anger and I empathize, but have a problem as to why he refuses to learn how to read, not that it would make all the problems in his life disappear.

Joe is a Christian who hosted services in his home for a long time while his step-grandson was studying to become an ordained minister. When I ponder these things, I think back to times before Bibles were available to lay persons rather than priests only and wonder how someone can bear to be “told” what is written in Scripture. I know through personal experience and research, and many will agree, that propaganda permeates religious studies and it grieves my heart to think how many are misled because of ignorance and/or deception. Again, reading persons have the option of finding answers for themselves, although many tend to believe whatever is “preached at them”. It is unfathomable to consider not having the ability to seek answers for oneself.

I realized “Joan”, the female acquaintance, could not read when I went by her house to take a few items to her little girl. The little girl’s father was in prison, the grandfather had just died and things were bleak. And that was before I knew Joan could not read.

For some reason she did not want to see the mail carrier, so when the mail truck pulled up, Joan asked me to go out in the yard and get the mail. Once I brought it inside, Joan told me she needed me to read the letter from the school. She could make out that it was from the school and she recognized her son’s name, but that was the extent of her ability.

From that day to this, I have not figured out how someone born in the USA in the 1960s managed to overlook how important reading is, especially if you intend to raise children. Why does it take so long for “the system” to realize there is, indeed, a problem? People sometimes do not like to read because it takes effort but I have seen the same people wait for hours to get free food at the local charity house. Nothing against government or charitable programs, but why can’t we at least make a requisite of reading and other skills? What happened to the “Welfare to Work” program? Visit here to see: http://www.doleta.gov/wtw/  (Links open in new windows!)

NOTE: The Welfare-to-Work (WtW) program officially ended on September 30, 2004. For information on Welfare Reform, please go to: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/acf_services.html

The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

In other words, the US government considers retardation much more simplistically than what we understood it to mean in years past. I possibly qualify for a check! I do not demean anyone with a hindrance; I do take issue with the scammers and loafers!

Both of the people described herein, and I likely know others without being aware of it, have raised children who are combative to conforming, even though they are not actually conforming to anything. Reading is a privilege, a pleasure of which no one should be deprived.

How did our American children become so obstinate toward education? A better word would be “pigheaded” because of the ignorance and implications…

Word for it: Obstinate: firmly or stubbornly adhering to one’s purpose, opinion, etc.; not yielding to argument, persuasion, or entreaty.

This is not about third world countries or the destitute who have such overwhelmingly awful circumstances; it is about everyday Joes and Joans who cannot read and are ashamed to get assistance from qualified individuals or are satisfied to let others do the worrying over tedious details.

It’s reasonable to assume that certain demographics would be in place as causes but each of these people had opportunity and come from families with reading parents. It isn’t something I would boldly suggest, but I would gladly help anyone learn to read.


5 Responses to “Zero Reading Level?”

  1. mysticheart said

    I love you.

  2. Odale said

    Thank you! I love you, too! God Bless You.

  3. TheDeeZone said

    Public Law 94-142 — Education for All Handicapped Children was not passed until 1975. Prior to 1975 providing education for special needs children was not mandatory. Mental retardation is not the most common cause for reading problems. Dyslexia is the most common cause for reading problems. You seem a little quick to assume that the people didn’t want to learn to read. It is most likely a cause of not being able to rather than not wanting to. Check out this post I wrote about Dyslexia.

  4. wordforit said

    The “retardation” term came from the gov’t link provided. I was surprised (as I thought was clear) that the information would make many doubt their child’s ability (except those who work in that department, of course.).
    This post leans more toward the fact that I take issue with excuses and those who scam the government, thereby us, and is why I find it difficult to be sympathetic to “Joe” and “Joan”, whose entire background I did not go in to. Regardless of how many laws are passed, I don’t think it wise to depend on government schools to cover everything and much needs to be done otherwise (at home, communities, churches). I am a proponent of homeschooling, to say the least.

    As a former teacher, I did not comment on your post about teachers hindering you b/c I know that does happen, unfortunately. I no longer teach for many reasons, but a lot of people do not realize teachers’ hands are tied in many respects. I don’t think many outside of the school building realize how combative students are and how difficult it has become because of ‘the blame game’. Not to excuse anyone not doing their job, though, because I saw and heard some pretty outrageous things.

    Exceprt from post and where I said the US Government considers retardation in simplistic terms and “I do not demean anyone with a hindrance” I also said, “Why does it take so long for “the system” to realize there is, indeed, a problem?”:

    “In other words, the US government considers retardation much more simplistically than what we understood it to mean in years past. I possibly qualify for a check! I do not demean anyone with a hindrance; I do take issue with the scammers and loafers!

    Both of the people described herein, and I likely know others without being aware of it, have raised children who are combative to conforming, even though they are not actually conforming to anything. Reading is a privilege,. . .”

  5. TheDeeZone said

    For several years the government has had more than one standards for mental retardation. The standards for receiving aid has been lower than that for receiving special education services.

    As for my own past, the teachers I had prior to 4th grade were for the most part excellent. The worst teacher I had between K-4 and third grades was an outstanding teacher. The pre-school I attended was one of the best in the state and the elementary I attended from 1st-3rd grades was the district’s best school. The teachers were willing to try new things and as a result we were involved in many test programs. However, things changed drastically when we moved from 4th grade on I had only 4 teachers even care enough to find out why I did poorly in school: my music teacher, homemaking teacher, business teacher, and an English teacher. I consistently did very well on achievement tests and had good grades prior to 4th grade. Most of my teachers never bothered to find out why there was a huge gap between my academic performance and my test scores. As a teacher, I believe that is inexcusable. Those 4 teachers rarely had problems with me because they took the time to find out why even though I was bright I had problems writing. I am fortunate that I had a good educational foundation the first few years I was in school and parents that were able to provide help as well. For me learning to read was a difficult process. In first grade the only students who read worse than I did were in special education. I learned to read because my mom forced me to learn, we read every night and it was not a pleasant experience for anyone. By the time I reached third grade I was reading on at least a 6th grade level and was one of the top students in my class. My teachers in kindergarten, first and third grade spent a lot of individual time helping me overcome my learning problems. These teachers cared about students not just getting a paycheck.

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