Jonathan Kozol speaking at a meeting hosted by the Minnesota Literacy Council. Kozol’s address was on illiteracy in United States. Kozol is a graduate of Harvard University. He is a Rhodes Scholar and has taught at Yale. Kozol has been researching illiteracy problems for more than two decades. His newest book is entitled "Illiterate America".
Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.
(00:00:00) Many of you will find it hard tonight to hear and to believe the numbers of illiterate adults in our society. If it is hard for you. It is every bit as hard for me. Illiterate people are not recognizable by any outward sign. Neither by the gold stars worn by the Jews of Germany nor by the black skin, which identifies the great-grandchild of a former slave in the United States. Only three weeks ago in New York City. I was once again can tell to face the fact or of invisibility among American non-readers. after an interview on ABC Good Morning America about this very issue after I had explained at length how difficult it is for us to recognize non-readers in our midst. An illiterate man who had been flown in to Manhattan all the way from, California. In order to be questioned with me. Stroll downstairs after the after the interview and in that sense of respite and relief one feels after considerable tension. He asked if I would like to get something to eat. Now this is an amazing memory for me because you know, I've written this book and thought about this issue for so long and here the two of us had just appeared in front of 15 20 million people. explaining why non-readers are invisible? Well, since we were guests today BC at a nice hotel in Central Park. I thoughtless thoughtless Lee suggested to him that we go into the dining room to eat. It's a nice place. the French menu part in English part in French eclectic Central Park eclectic and then of course, I made one additional mistake. when the waitress came out of misguided courtesy I said to him. You go ahead and order first. Then in the Panic of his eyes, I suddenly remembered what this tragic story is about the menu huge expensive and elaborate would have would have been intimidating to most anybody in his case. It totally defied his comprehension. In his alarm something quite strange and frightening took place curiously as in a as in a dream the man reverted to a time when he was just a kid in Mississippi where he had been born. He looked at the waitress. He swallowed hard. He said. I'd like I'd like rolls and gravy. Now mind you there. We are in this hotel the st. Moritz on Central Park. I doubt the waitress. And ever heard (00:04:08) a request like (00:04:09) that. rolls and gravy the waitress look appalled. She stared at the man as if he were a reptile who had just crawled out of the primordial mud to desecrator morning. What she said? the man literally Frozen simply said the same again. I like some rolls and gravy. For an instant I had no idea what to do. I was panicked is he in fact all three of us were three inept Americans get caught in his painful triangle. Suddenly what little Ingenuity I have came to the floor. And narrowed my eyes looked at the waitress with complete conviction. I stared up at her and said I have Frozen gravy too. Looked alarmed. twice in one morning She began to shake. I'm sorry. She said we don't have roles in gravy on the menu about this time. I whip myself into a Mania of Rage not at her of course, but at the situation I roared at her what kind of restaurant is this? Let's get out of here. Is that and find a decent place? And we went upstairs and ordered breakfast from room (00:06:08) service. (00:06:12) My friends the hour is late. The cause is great. The price in human pain is very very high. 60 million American adults over one-third of the adult population cannot understand the Bill of Rights. At least for public housing and ordinary daily paper. a Weekly Magazine the antidote instructions on a can of kitchen cleanser a tax form if they have a job welfare rules and regulations if they doubt the word of God within the Bible or the word of man within the verse of Milton or the tales of Tolstoy or the US Constitution. Recent figures indicate some International comparisons the top five nations in their literacy levels are the Netherlands Australia looks in Borg Finland and the Soviet Union. The United States depending on which figures you believe rack somewheres between 15 and 50th. Forty-five percent of u.s. Adults do not read newspapers only 10% abstain by choice. The rest can't understand it. four and ten bostonians read and understand the Boston Globe five and ten New Yorkers cannot read the news the New York Times sees fit (00:08:05) to print. (00:08:07) Forty percent of recent military recruits read somewhere is between the 5th and 8th grade levels. Army's been forced to issue books resembling Comics to serve as manuals of instruction five page comic book is needed to explain how to unlatch the hood of a Jeep. We may wonder how long is the comic books to tell a soldier what to do with the cruise missile? Instruction manuals for the B-1 bomber system must be written down for personnel who read it only grade school level. According to the New York Times the cost of dumbing down the manuals for the B1 system will exceed 1 billion dollars. 60% of prison inmates 85% of juveniles who come before the courts are unable to read or do so only at a meager level 47 percent of young black adults are functionally illiterate that figure will rise to 50% within the next four years. Figures are higher but women and for men. young non-white women mothers of young children are most likely to be those unable to read not only for themselves but to pass that gift and power to their children. Twenty-two percent of all adults across the board cannot write a check that will be processed by their back. Same number can't address an envelope. Well enough to reach its destination 1 million teenagers read at the third grade level. That's the same number that took the SATs. Not the same people needless to say when the SAT scores were released recently lost Springs figures. There was a point seven. Seven tenths of 1% I'll Point improvement over the year before her a said Secretary of Education Bennett American education is on the mend. He didn't tell us that 1 million people did not manage to survive 12 years of school to take those tests at all. If the SAT scores tell us anything at all. It tells us that America's favorite children might be doing slightly better or more likely that their teachers now are teaching to the tests, but that the children of the silent the illiterate the poor are in a greater Danger. other case it seems to many of you that this is primarily a problem. Is it immigrant? Non-white those in the large Eastern cities. Consider the state of Utah almost entirely white almost entirely native-born. I spoke in Utah for year ago to 2,000 members of the Nea. There was only one white. There was only one non white person in the room. one black person in the whole room And it turned out she wasn't from Utah she came from she was from Washington. She'd come to hear my (00:11:50) speech. (00:11:53) What will you tell has the widest place I've ever been except, New Hampshire at Christmas. And yet in Utah 200,000 people cannot cannot read a daily paper. It's in a state the population of less than a million. The annual cost in dollars is above 100 billion dollars a minimum of 14 billion just for prison costs and Welfare maintenance attributed to the unemployability of illiterate adults. tens of billions more in lowered G NP That of course is the argument that seems to win support in Washington, DC. the dollar cost But there's another loss which cannot be reflected in the GNP. It is the insult to democracy. The compromise of it all that is suggested by our wistful reference to a Jeffersonian ideal that rests upon the true participation of our people whether a nation so divide it can Prevail for long without erosion of our Democratic dreams. Becomes a question with disturbing implications. illiterate citizens rarely vote Those who do a force to cast a vote of very little worth it cannot make informed decisions based on serious print information at best. They may respond to knee-jerk stimuli condition by the 22nd paid political advertisement. 60 second news clip on TV For 60 million total marginal and functional illiterates in our society. The amputated present tense television represents the end and the beginning of cognition. How do they vote? They vote for a face a smile or a style not for mind the character or body of beliefs? The number of illiterate adults in the United States exceeds by seven million the entire vote cast for the winner in the 1984 election more important it exceeds by over 40 million the differential in the vote one by the winner and the loser in the same election, whatever our political position no Republican or Democrat can look upon this fact without Al our democracy cannot survive the forced exclusion of one third of the electorate. Freedom of press is compromised as well. What does it mean to those who cannot read? I'm free, of course to write the book. I like but 60 million people cannot read it nor can they write their own? Newspapers are written between 10th and 12th grade level. A third of the nation cannot read above the eighth grade (00:15:02) love (00:15:03) all the instruments we take for granted as as the methods of discourse in a Jeffersonian Society are meaningless to an illiterate adults. We're taught in school that when we have a problem. I used to teach this to Fourth Graders when you have a problem. What do you do? Write a letter to the mayor. If the mayor won't answer. Or he can't read. You write a letter to the governor. if she won't answer. What do you do you write a letter to your Congress person? But even the most decent mayor most decent Governor or decent Congress person cannot answer letters that illiterates can't write. Of course. Can I write press releases? Two years ago President Reagan told us in a highly publicized report our nation is at risk. because of the collapse in literacy skills If an unfriendly foreign power had inflicted this upon us. We were told we would regard it as an act of War. I do not want to create bipartisan division here tonight illiteracy is viewed by some left-wingers as an issue of the right. I've heard many people on the left say to me don't touch that issue. It's a plot of a plot contrived by folks Like Pat Buchanan. They want to drive the nation Back to Basics. Ironically certain conservatives regarded as an issue of the left. It is not an issue of the left or right. It is an issue for America. Neither party. Neither Republican nor Democrat has acted as it should upon this issue President. Reagan's words were right but government policy for which both parties are responsible as failed to give an answer to the danger that the president described present policies are not encouraging 100 million dollars is the total federal allocation for adult basic education the largest civilian literacy program in the USA. The problem is costing us as we have seen above 100 billion dollars every year. Federal allocation comes to something like a dollar 65 for each illiterate adult per year recent Federal actions on the literacy front are no less troubling. Requested cut and Title 1 now chapter 1 the federal reading program for the children of the poor requested abolition of the library services and construction Act. Zero funding requested for the ACT that libraries have just begun to use to Startup literacy programs. Requested cuts and student loans that might provide incentive for young people to learn how to read reductions and work-study money used in many States including Minnesota to recruit young student volunteers and sweeping Cuts in Vista, which provides the local literacy coalition's with essential paid staff workers. Three of the finest examples of which I have met right here in Minnesota. All of that and in addition, of course respect request for legalized School prayer. Now even though I am an agnostic. I think prayer in view of all those other policies. My well be a good idea. Not forced in school. I think we should do it all day long. In fact, is that getting older and older? I'm getting less and less agnostic. These policies do not make sense. In either ethical or Democratic terms. We need a local Federal partnership in this Society. The local Partners right here in this city and this state are doing well. It is the federal government that has not been a loyal partner up to now. Five months ago. I flew back to my home in Boston thinking to have a rest after 80 Days in 40 cities of the USA. My rest was interrupted by a call from Nightline asking me if I'd debate with Secretary of Education William Bennett. I did so and mr. Bennet asked by me and mr. Koppel what he planned to do to meet this Danger. Answered that illiteracy is not a federal obligation. Asked who was responsible. He said it was the fault of parents who did not read to their kids. After 60 million adults who cannot read books can possibly assist their kids. He seemed to give a careless and anesthetized shrug. It was not his concern. I do not think he serves the president well, The states alone can't do it. One ambitious literacy Drive takes place in California, California spends three million dollars yearly on a library based program that serves about 5,000 people at this stage, California a be eserve 600,000 more but there are six million illiterate adults in, California. The city's alone can't do it New York spend seven million dollars yearly. This comes out to something like $3 per literate per year. I live in a small town north of Boston few of you will have heard of it. It's called Newburyport. I grew up. I moved there about two years ago to write this book. Newburyport is the only town in the United States to my knowledge in which George McGovern won last year's presidential primary you see how Difficult it is for me to rejoin the mainstream, but I do believe anybody partisan consensus and I try. Corporations alone can't do it either no matter how they tried only one percent of corporate training funds is used for literacy. And usually corporate money goes to train those already employable as Polaroid says we take a good employee and make him better. But what if those who never got to read the want ad in the first place? What then of volunteers? Volunteers can help tremendously. Not only to stem the tide of growing numbers, but also to create a Grassroots ferment in this land which might it someday. Down the line demand a federal answer. But volunteers can only do this with unprecedented corporate support. The two largest volunteer groups in the nation laubach literacy and lva together serve 70,000 people. Think what volunteers could do with adequate support? all programs together federal state private church volunteer serve four percent of the illiterate adults in our society President Reagan challenged us to years ago let the lights burning late. He said in the church basements in the libraries and across the kitchen tables of America as neighbors teaching each other how to read there are hundreds of thousands of volunteers who would stay up all night. Trying to teach America to read if we only had the money to keep on the lights. Let me speak a moment about secretary Bennett's view that this is not a federal matter. The problems like is belong exclusively just at state and local (00:24:33) levels. (00:24:38) I don't view this as I hope you don't as an ad hominem attack. I'm sure that secretary Bennett would like to do what's right. He simply hasn't. Had enough time yet to get the proper information. Now I know I've been told there are a few Republicans here tonight. I hope when you see Bill Bennett next you'll hand in one of the recent books have been published on this subject and sit him down and make him read it then. Let's talk about this state and federal issue. illiterates cross state borders constantly cross state borders in search of jobs in search of better welfare terms literary people come to Massachusetts and to Minnesota for that reason. The flawed products manufactured by illiterate workers in New Hampshire. I purchased by consumers in Ohio. Criminals, of course do not respect state borders. And when we fly across the sometimes not so friendly Skies. in a commercial plane and something suddenly goes wrong and there is fear and every eye we do not ask whether the airline's final safety check was done by an illiterate from San Diego Cleveland or st. Paul. We are all held hostage to each other in this nation. It is simply not the truth that education is a local matter any longer. Why do our children go to school they go to school to be Americans? I have stood in class with children now for many years and when we start the school day and we place our hands across our hearts. We swear allegiance to One Nation indivisible. Not to Boston. Not to San Francisco. And when young men are sent to war to die. They do not Place their lives in service of Virginia. We're New Mexico. They die beneath the stars and stripes. We are one nation. We live as one we undergo the dangers of mortality as one. And no matter what our pride in local efforts, Grassroots struggle. It is as one nation that we must now confront this pestilence within our midst. Beautiful postage stamp was issued a year ago. There's the optimistic words a nation of readers. Photograph is of Abe Lincoln reading to his son. 30 million us adults cannot read the word beneath the words under the picture. 60 million cannot comfortably read a book to their own child. It's a beautiful stamp if you have it framing. Can't use it. Anyway, it's 20 cents. Around the time. I saw that Stan. I heard the words of an illiterate young mother. I can't read to them. She said she was talking about her children or two little boys. I can't read to them. Course trying to get her voice just dry. It was kind of an Arkansas a twang course. She said that's leaving him out of something. They should have Donnie answer younger boy, Donnie. He wanted me to read a book to him. I told Donnie I can't read. I tried it one day reading from the pictures. Didn't work Donnie looked at me. He said Mommy that's not right. He's only 5 he knew I couldn't read. And then she swallowed hard and seemed about to cry and she said this. Oh it matters you believe it matters. Prayers like that should not remain (00:29:19) unanswered. (00:29:22) Minnesota is in certain ways the national Pacesetter. B Dalton's Roll by any standard is spectacular led by wise Executives inspired by to quite remarkable and tireless women Betty Fenton and Jean hammock. This is a corporation which displays the best in Civic decency that coincides with farsighted self-interest. Joined by corporations such as cray research the st. Paul companies the Saint Paul foundation and many others forged into a Statewide Coalition backed by the Statewide Minnesota at a reading campaign led by people like John Davis. This is a city which has taught me in short order and might teach our nation. Exactly what the word Community can mean? May I say that you have been particularly blessed to have an advocate like that? He Fenton. I seen as women are in several parts of the United States always exhausted. From Washington DC to San Francisco pouring out her strength after exhausting travel God help her on United Airlines. Thoreau said that he marched to A Different Drummer. Betty Fenton looks nothing like so a row but you have fortunate to have this patient and Relentless drummer in your midst leadership and prominence. However, bring with them some formidable obligations The Eyes Of The Nation now looking at this city. When I was asked some months ago by a producer in New York where to go to find a good community in action. I suggested San Francisco and El Paso and this city Minneapolis and st. Paul Network attention and a Newsweek cover story. Now in preparation will intensify the spotlight on your courage. With 5,000 people being served already by work-study students and retired persons and a multitude of other volunteers with local corporations giving at the rate of 5 percent far in excess of any national Norms the Twin Cities representative vital metaphor Grassroots aspiration in our land and so the stakes for us in what you do are very very high. If you fail you will betray the nation if you succeed you will have won a place in history. Where do I cited in illiterate America? the British scientist and author CP snow spoke of the (00:32:34) dangers (00:32:37) of a crumbling deciduous culture is speaking of Great Britain and the USA alike. I can't help thinking he wrote. I can't help thinking of the Venetian Republic in its last half century like us they had been fabulously lucky. They had become rich as we did by accident. They had acquired immense political skills. Just as we have a good many of them were tough-minded patriotic men. They knew just as clearly as we know that the current history had begun to flow against them many of them gave their minds to working out ways to keep going it would have meant breaking the pattern into which they had been crystallized. They never found the will to break it. Whether we can find that will during the years immediately ahead. May tell us whether we may yet Escape the Fate of other civilizations that have lacked the wisdom to transcend their narrow and short term illusion of self-interest to guarantee their cultural survival the answer to that question and considerable degree will be given to our nation by the local energy and corporate commitment. You can muster right here in this state. If you can't do it, no one can if you won't do it. It's hard to know who will. There are Business Leaders. in some other states not here. Who wonder why we ought to be involved? There may be one or two in, Minnesota. Some are reluctant to address this issue fearful that a spotlight on a literacy may be a disincentive to investment. I've heard that often. Are afraid it will discourage relocation into their home towns by major corporations. They do not understand that as the smokestack Industries Decline and are replaced by more sophisticated high-tech manufacturer. Only those communities that can guarantee prospected industry a well-prepared and literate employee will be able to fend off the certitude of economic failure. This is y El Paso is inflamed with passion now about this issue El Paso there on the North Grand North Bank of the Rio Grande where first world faces third world divided only by a hundred yards. El Paso now sees the phenomenon of twin plant Industries. The same Corporation as one plant on the Mexican one on the American side of the Border all the low level jobs have been exported and only the sophisticated labor now is done with in El Paso. El Paso city of half a million people its largest newspaper has a circulation of 55,000. No wonder the city of El Paso is alarmed. It's important that local Business Leaders understand this there are Chambers of Commerce in some cities, which they don't talk about this issue. It will keep new industry Away business Executives aren't that dumb? They'll find out they know what what parts of the United States can give them the employees that they need and which (00:36:35) cannot (00:36:39) There are others still raise a different issue. They asked people tougher disposition. They ask why we should bother with those people who for reasons. They don't wish to understand have failed to learn the skills required for a dignified existence in America. Bob Novak columnist posed that kind of question to me, you know particularly friendly terms. He's tough. The mood is tough and hard today people like this. The American defense in purely military terms a tough a nation. They believe with taller missiles better intelligence and more skillful diplomats will give us all the power. We require to those who speak in terms like these we need to have the courage to reply and to reply in very clear and strong unflinching terms. They're in the wrong. They're on the wrong side with the wrong friends and the wrong foes in the wrong decade of the wrong century. and their views no matter how polemic must not be permitted to prevail. We're in does the nation's true defense reside does it exist in weapons of Destruction or in weapons of the mind and if we lose the precious dream that Thomas Jefferson held dear even with the best defenses what then will remain to be defended. I was in Washington two weeks ago Senate testimony on this issue. When people in Washington DC speak of the literacy issue, it's interesting. I know they never mention books. They always speak in either military or commercial terms. They speak of our Competitive Edge against the Japanese. Russians the West Germans It's interesting in contrast to hear what illiterates say, I often ask a literate people. Why do you want to read people who show up it literacy programs many of these are people who have tried a number of times and for whatever reason. Have not yet succeeded and here they are again for the fifth time knocking on the door. I say. Why are you here? Nobody ever answers? to beat the Japanese beat the Russians beat the West Germans Toyota's on the docks of San Francisco. No, those are the arguments you here in Washington their answers are more eloquent and profound. I hear three answers almost every time first. I want to read the Bible. Second. I just want to read good books. Third I want to help my kids. I don't want them to be forced to be like me. after that, sometimes they speak about a better job of cash competition and the other mechanistic points exalted by our recent National commission's perhaps the masses whether literate are not a wiser and more sensitive than many of our governmental leaders know, when women summed it all up in a single phrase And I said to her why do you want to be she leaned forward and kind of whispered to me. I I want to read. inscriptions inscriptions. I thought that (00:41:11) strange (00:41:14) I thought of epitaphs. I suddenly had this thought of. thousands of low-back volunteers going out with your students through graveyards America the flashlights. It would be interesting. No, that isn't what she meant. Of course that all I looked I looked at her and because I looked perplexed. She said to me. Isn't that the word for scripture for the Bible then? I understood and I said yes. She like many of us needing validation for her word felt reassured and said it now again inscriptions. I'd like to read inscriptions and then she tossed her head in a delightful wistful way and she said this I'd kind of like to leave behind my own inscriptions to Oh that took my breath away. I thought you know, here's a woman who whose longings are so Elemental she wants to read the past. Retrieve the words written on tablets brought down from Mount Sinai. Four thousand years ago. She also wants to send her message to the Future. And when I hear when I hear woman like that, I asked myself each time how much Beauty must be stillborn in our nation every year how many tales were going told how many sons and son or son but not recorded how much of our possible aesthetic wealth is annually diminished. This will not appear in figures about G&P. Some of you might think it should for that too is a part of what we lose today. It may prove in retrospect to be by far the greatest loss of (00:43:43) all. (00:43:47) I know it's I know it's a better thing to praise the light than to bemoan the darkness. But it would be fatuous to praise the light where it doesn't exist. I've lived with this ordeal for almost 20 years. In a book I published back in 67 death at an early age. I told of one of my students. Oh boy eight years old named Steven. A child I saw destroyed before my eyes within the Boston Schools. That was in the good old days. We had tough discipline. We didn't fool around we whipped slow readers the rat and stick and good old-fashioned Boston in those good old fashioned segregated schools. Stephen when I met him that at 40 teachers before me he had never had a permanent teacher since he'd entered School in fourth grade alone. I was his 13th teacher. He laughed and giggled to himself. He didn't tell hope of learning how to read. I had him only for 4 months 5 months. He's to see him take it out of the basement to be whipped. He came upstairs. We were tough. We had standards. We had discipline. Help those kids to learn to read. Stevens not a little boy today. He's 29 years old. Call me on the telephone one night while I was working on it illiterate America. Steven is illiterate. He called me from prison. He asked me to assist him in his trial which was coming up last fall. He was on trial for murder. This little boy. Am I remembered this gentle soul. Here just knifed and killed a man. Why because that man somehow enticed him to his home? Cheated him and then insulted him. As quote and illiterate subhuman. And Dan is Steven did not take out a knife and kill him. Stevens now been convicted to a term of 20 years in prison. Stevens mother was illiterate. His father was dead. She couldn't read to him when he was a small child. His grandparents were illiterate as well. They couldn't read to him. What parental curse didn't destroy was killed off finally by the underfunded overcrowded Urban schools. Silent violence is repaid with interest. It'll cost us 25,000 dollars every year to keep Steven in prison. Only cause 12,000 to go to Harvard. We spend a dollar 65 for each of literate per year. 25000 dollars every year to keep this broken soul in prison. That's 100,000 every four years. Perhaps a million in a lifetime. That's one price. a high one two We all pay for it and I taxes or one way or other. But what is the price that's been paid by Stevens victim? What is the price that will be paid by Steven? And what is the price that will be paid by this Republic? For my own part. I cannot escape a sense of painful shame. I had deserted him and hundreds of other people like him why I'd left Boston for the first time in 18 years moved out of his neighborhood in order to find the selfish Solitude in which to write this book. It is one of the painful iron ease with which I live and moved to a small town in the country on the Merrimack River. No doubt thinking myself Thoreau Sat by the wood stove and attempted to achieve that calm dispassion that would satisfy the con dispassionate literary critics of New York. I always tend to damn my most recent books. They always say unlike his earlier classic. Then they refer to the last book they attacked this work shows an excess of emotion. So in a sense I had moved to Country in order to dehumanize myself hoping I could sound like somebody who writes for the New Yorker. temperate like an editorial in the New York Times Damn it, then there was that call from Steven. I was reading Matthew Arnold's essays on the night. He called that's what I read when I'm trying very hard to be (00:49:49) dispassionate (00:49:52) there. I am reading. Flipping the pages calmly looking at my dog. (00:50:02) sitting (00:50:04) by the old consoling wood stove phone rings Stevens voice hadn't heard him for two years and he is in a prison and all this happened in a year in which I had escaped his grief in order to describe it. And revise it. And to State it well and cautiously and with good balance. He had killed a man and sealed his fate and I had sacrificed another child to my grand Ambitions as an author. So if there's guilt I share it. If there's shame I know it and if there is a long arm for the survival of democracy, I feel it. I am afraid for our Republic. Those of you who live and die by power of the written word must share that Tara too. I plead with you to hold this in your hearts. Thank you. Question is what percentage of illiterate adults in America might be suffering from brain disability or dyslexia. My own suspicions is very modest number or rather to state that better small percentage though. The number might be substantial perhaps this is wistful. Perhaps I say this simply because I'm an eternal optimist and it's hard to Once people tells you that once once people tell you that there is a specific physiological problem. It tends to deter us from trying or else we start to we start to view it as potentially irreversible. Naturally wherever good referrals that possible. I'm all in favor of early diagnosis of a problem, which is truly physiological my own suspicion. Is that the majority of the vast majority of the people whom we we see today as illiterate adults are not people who would brain damaged but Society damaged. The question asked for any possible correlations between poverty and illiteracy. It seems to me on the basis of all the figures that I've seen earlier studies for example by the Ford foundation and the hundreds of people whom I interviewed in order to write illiterate America that there is a very close correlation an intimate correlation. The people who are most likely to read poorly tend also to get the worst Health Care to have the most deficient nutrition. The worst housing least likely to have a telephone and their children are most likely to go to underfunded Public Schools. Having said that however, it's very important to add that. There are many people who are not children of dire poverty who nonetheless fall through the cracks as we know well I do think however, the it would be somewhat like trying to walk around the Mike trying to pretend we didn't see the emperor this non-existent clothes. If we were to avert our eyes from some obvious causes. Let me speak of my own home state of Massachusetts because I don't I know very little of Minnesota accept accept the good things the ideal guest in Massachusetts according to the reputable Boston Globe. The wealthiest school districts spend four times as much per child per year as the poor school districts, the range goes from something like six thousand dollars per year to 1,500 per year in the poorest school districts of Massachusetts. Those of you who have been been in the Boston area will recognize some of these towns Chelsea poor working-class neighborhood Lawrence Lowell old industrial Mill towns schools are so are so are so close to financial bankruptcy right now. They have cut out all art programs all music programs virtually all remedial reading programs and with the cuts in chapter 1 Title 1 They have no more very little Federal recourse. We are often told that the federal money constitutes a very small part of the education budget and that is true in absolute numbers, but because it's targeted money into terribly important force in helping to helping to equalize education and helping to make up for the built-in Injustice constituted by the property base property tax as a base for education. I don't know any way to go about that. I doubt that any town in Massachusetts or in Minnesota is likely to it's likely to reverse a tradition so old as a property tax, there is one way to counteract the unfairness and that is by equalizing funds some states do this to a degree. I am told that Minnesota differs in many ways from the city's I know in the East and if so, I I do. Thanks very much for having me here in Lake Wobegon. It's not as local As It Seems. I do. Thanks very much for having me here in Lake Wobegon. It's not as local As It Seems.