Educating Monkeys

 Just feeling more snarky than usual…apologies, maybe. Here’s what set me off:

 46% of New Mexican adults can’t read above a 5th grade level, reports the NM Coalition  for Literacy www.readwest.org which is seeking volunteers for its adult learning program.  

 46%?? Hmmm, says the snarky historian.

 But here’s the bigger picture from Readwest website: “The National Adult Literacy Survey found a total of 21% of American adults function at a Level 1, the lowest literacy level, finding difficulty in reading, writing and computational skills considered necessary for functioning in everyday life.”

 At the same time, of course, the state is in the usual tizzy over the “education” question—it’s usually wrap in terms of “business wants an educated workforce.” Actually, business wants a trained work force. That’s why we have a “Workforce Training Center,” not a “Workforce Education Center.” We tend to get those two terms confused as per the official City of Abq. website:

  The University of New Mexico continues to score well in national rankings, and Central New Mexico Community College is among the nation’s best community colleges. Both schools have been flexible and innovative in meeting the changing demands of employers, and they’ve working together and with private industry and the national laboratories to improve education and training. (emphasis added)

 Word to the  wise and the clueless: you can train a monkey but you can’t educate it.

About Hana Samek Norton

I am a historian who writes 'history with a story' in off-duty hours.
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