Why isn't literacy a key term to rhetoricians? Outside some key circles (Ong studies and the subset of Composition studies animated by Shirley Brice Heath), literacy is ignored by rhetoricians and embraced, instead by education thinkers.
Too often, literacy is remedial, while rhetoric is a term of art. That bugs me, too.
From the Minnesota Humanities Blog of today.
International Literacy Day
September 8, 2008 — minnesotahumanities
Today is International Literacy Day—a day to promote awareness around the fact that despite being well into the new millennium we as a global community are still struggling to educate the world’s people. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) “some 774 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women; 75 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.”
This isn’t just an issue for developing nations, either. Nationally, more than 20% of adults read at or below a fifth-grade level and if that still doesn’t hit home for you consider this: according to the Minnesota Department of Education, “8% of Minnesota’s adult population is at the lowest of five levels of functional literacy and 20% have “functional literacy” needs. (Minnesota Literacy Center)