warrl,You made some good points. The research I've done seems a bit hazy, but basically, several studies have shown that between 60-80% of the prisoners in US prisons read at a 3rd grade reading level or lower.That's a legitimate problem.My gripe was when people get upset because some 4th-graders read below the average level of 4th-graders. Unless we impose a real lock-step, preventing *any* variation - in either direction - from the expected level of reading skill, some kids will be below average.(And such a lockstep is impossible unless we take all children away from their parents and institutionalize them - probably by age 2, since I've known 3-year-old children of hyperliterate parents who could read at approximately 4th-grade level. Whether it would be possible even with such a system is questionable. But it certainly wouldn't be desirable.)There should be an expected minimum level of reading skill for kids that age with no blocking disabilities, but it shouldn't be called "average" or defined by reference to the average. In fact, to be achieved with even 80% reliability it must be well below the expected average.Last winter, I went into one state prison, in uniform, and spoke to roughly 200 prisoners, in 4 groups, who were in a GED program.The prison told me roughly 75% of the prison inmates, 1150 prisoners, do not have a high school diploma.The principal of the school in the prison told me he thought it was safe to say that roughly 75% of the prisoners in the US didn't have a HS diploma, based on his experiences and his studies.So, the way I look at all of this is this way.If we can get kids reading more, over time, we will increase their reading level.If police officers would copy me and start going into classrooms,I have another thought to go along with that... get some of these prison officials (and prisoners?) to go into schools to talk to the kids about reading.
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