(American Thinker) -- In his 1984 book about American education, Samuel Blumenfeld pointed out that "[n]othing has mystified Americans more than the massive decline of literacy in the United States. Children spend more time at school and the government spends more money on education than ever before. Yet, reading ability keeps declining. What has gone wrong?"
You have probably heard this lament. But here's where it becomes really alarming. Blumenfeld looked back seven decades to the year 1915. That's when the literacy figures for 1910 were published by the U.S. Bureau of Education and quoted in a weekly publication, School and Society, edited by James McCain Cattelll, one of the luminaries in the Progressive education movement. School and Society stated that:
Statistics compiled by the Bureau of Education for use at the Panama-Pacific Exposition, show that of children from 10 to 14 years of age there were in 1910 only 22 out of every 1,000 who could neither read nor write[.] ... The following states report only one child in 1,000 between ages of 10 and 14 as illiterate: Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, and Washington[.] ... It is evident that the public schools will in a short time practically eliminate illiteracy.
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