Why We Ask: Our mission and operations are funded 100% by conservatives like you. Please help us continue to extend Liberty to the next generation and support the 2024 Patriots' Day Campaign today.

March 2, 2020

Illiteracy — A True Denial of Civil Rights

It’s National Reading Month, but many Americans are left behind in literacy.

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” —Frederick Douglas

Americans can’t celebrate their love for books during National Reading Month without also questioning the literacy of our most vulnerable citizens — our youth.

The argument for school choice grows stronger as more research outlines the roadblocks to literacy in our public schools.

According to the latest data administered by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), nationally, only 35% of fourth graders read at a level that is proficient or above. In my home state of Tennessee, as well as in Hamilton County where my family resides, the numbers average about the same, with little over a third reading above the aforementioned level. Pay a visit to an eighth-grade classroom and the numbers don’t get any better. According to the NAEP data, nationally, only 32 of students could read at a proficient level.

The statistics go on to suggest that students who are “socioeconomically disadvantaged” — including African Americans and Hispanics — show a trend of underperforming in literacy compared to their Asian and Caucasian counterparts.

Why does this matter? According to a study published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, if children cannot read by the fourth grade, not only are they four times more likely to drop out of high school but nearly half of the classroom material will be “incomprehensible.”

But what you won’t see are headlines and articles highlighting this state of emergency in our education system. Instead, you’ll read social-media campaigns about how students are exceeding key “improvement” measures (that of course obfuscates whether these children are actually academically competent).

Our kids can’t read, yet in Hamilton County the school board approved a new four-year contract renewal for current superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson, which also comes with a promised 2.5% pay increase for teachers.

By this logic, you could go into a five-star restaurant, order a sirloin steak, receive chicken strips instead, and still pay a premium and a tip. The order is wrong, yet we must still pay for it somehow. Illiteracy is not the ticket item any of us asked for.

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), however, allow us parents to take our money elsewhere. (I make my case for this in a previous article.)

With March being #NationalReadingMonth, I urge parents to read between the lines and look closely at what your local legislators are telling you (and not telling you) about the state of our education. Before they ask for your money, ask them for proof of their service. Because for many children, literacy is their one ticket to freedom. To leave our kids illiterate would be a true denial of civil rights.

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Please join us in prayer for our nation — that righteous leaders would rise and prevail and we would be united as Americans. Pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please lift up your Patriot team and our mission to support and defend our Republic's Founding Principle of Liberty, that the fires of freedom would be ignited in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2024 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.