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Literacy and Status in Our Society

            In our society there is an ever-growing concern that the number of literate individuals maybe on a rapid decline. Many are quick to blame and boast that television is corrupting the minds of our youth. Others insist that our education system is not demanding enough literacy building skills from students such as head start reading programs and back to basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic. What is to blame for this steady decline in literacy? I believe that the answer to this question is that society is limiting its own literacy.
             In his essay, "Literacy and the Politics of Education-, C. H. Knoblauch establishes the links between literacy and politics. He goes on to define the four general categories that most people fall into. The first category introduced by Knoblauch is the functionalist perspective. The functionalist perspective focuses on "pragmatic emphasis on readying people for the necessities of daily life ┬»writing checks, reading sets of instuctions ┬»as well as for the professional tasks of a complex technological society- (Knoblauch, 124). The second category described by Knoblauch is cultural literacy. This idea focuses on the idea that literacy "includes an awareness of cultural heritage, a capacity for higher-order thinking, even some aesthetic discernment- (Knoblauch, 125). The third point presented by Knoblauch is the literacy-for-personal-growth argument. This argument presents the idea that "language expresses the power of the individual imagination- as well as harbors the idea of "educational and social change- (Knoblauch, 126). The fourth argument is the critical literacy argument. This argument's primary focus "is to identify reading and writing abilities with a critical consciousness of the social conditions in which people find themselves, recognizing the extent to which language practices objectify and rationalize these conditions and the extent to which people with authority to name the world dominate others whose voices they have been able to suppress- (Knoblauch, 127).

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