From 1992 to 2003, adults made no progress in their ability to read sentences and paragraphs or understand other printed material such as bus schedules or prescription labels.
The adult population did make gains in handling tasks that involve math, such as calculating numbers on tax forms or bank statements. But even in that area, the typical adult showed only enough skills to perform simple, daily activities.
Perhaps most sobering was that adult literacy dropped or was flat across every level of education, from people with graduate degrees to those who dropped out of high school.
So even as more people get a formal education, the literacy rate is not rising. Federal officials say this trend is puzzling and worthy of research.
Adults with ability to perform challenging and complex reading tasks made an average yearly salary of $50,700 in 2003. That is $28,000 more than those who lacked basic skills.
The adults deemed illiterate in English include people who may be fluent in Spanish or another language but cannot comprehend English text at its most simple level.
However, under close supervision by unionized public school indoctrinators, school children can write letters to their legislators protesting or advocating this or that collectivist cause, even though they may lack an understanding of the cause itself. And they can RECYCLE!