Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


What Do Detroit And Afghanistan Have In Common?

From James Taranto's Best of the Web Today:

If You Can Read This, Thank a Teacher?
"According to a new report, 47 percent of Detroiters are 'functionally illiterate,' " Detroit's WWJ-AM reported last week:

WWJ Newsradio 950 spoke with the Fund's Director, Karen Tyler-Ruiz, who explained exactly what this means.
"Not able to fill out basic forms, for getting a job -- those types of basic everyday (things). Reading a prescription; what's on the bottle, how many you should take... just your basic everyday tasks," she said.

We were reminded of this by a report from

The U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) training mission in Afghanistan predicts that only about 50 percent of Afghan military forces will be able read and write at the 1st grade level by January 2012, according to a Department of Defense report mandated by lawmakers.

Another thing Detroit and Afghanistan have in common is they both have a lot of American-built schools.

Categories > Education

Discussions - 8 Comments

CNSNews ?? Please.

Anyway, Justin, unless you're going to be busy helping to destroy and/or fix things in Afghanistan (whatever brilliant formulation conservatives are endorsing lately), perhaps you could put some of your expertise to work in Detroit? Head up there and do your Christian American duty to make that city a better place. Maybe volunteer for a literacy program? Best wishes to you.

I'm from Detroit ... that doesn't make me an expert, but it does make me a more-than-average interested party.

What would you suggest for Detroit, Craig?

In my 50+ years I've seen all manner of ideas "tried" in Detroit. Most involve money spent on this or that ... usually in a wasted fashion because of corruption and graft that runs throughout the very DNA of the city establishment there.

My suggestion - for Justin to volunteer his skills and expertise to help improve Detroit - wouldn't cost a penny.

Also, since when is "AZ" an abbreviation for Detroit ?

(Are you originally from Detroit, now residing in Arizona? How often do you go back?)

Often enough. And you have no idea where my charitable contributions go.

My question was serious ... I'm not sure your response was.

Detroit has proven itself incapable of serious self-governance for decades. There is, no doubt, considerable private citizen volunteer work going on in that city. If those who control the city -- bureaucrats, unions -- actively oppose meaningful reform ... then what is the answer?

Serious question.

Answer: not much, a higher percentage of detroit is functionally illiterate because there is a large supply of english teachers who want government grant money, that is contingent upon literacy. Detroit is not actually so bad, but it tries hard to bend its numbers in order to get additional funding. Also if 47% of detroit is illiterate, then maybe its citizens didn't fill out the census correctly, loosing that kind of census population certainly has a monetary impact, and it is certain that detroit will be contesting census results.

Things are "bad" in Detroit in part because if things were better it would get "worse". Detroit is like a car that keeps argueing for an oil change, statistically it always seems to be at 3001 miles.

So in some sense Detroit and Afghanistan have something more fundamental in common. Our ability to know how bad they actually are is somewhat remote, and boosting demand comes down to how bad things are, there is big money in Detroit and Afghanistan being bad, just as there is big money in terrorism being a real threat. There is also big money in fighting mexican cartels.

Speaking of which I also hear Arizona is going to run out of water (big money in that). How is dying of thirst and being kidnapped by the Latin Kings and Mexican Mafia working out for you?

Detroit has been a liberal/progressive/blue city for over 40 years. Looks like Detroit has proved my point. Liberalism is a mental illness. Don't feel bad though Detroit - my home state California is right behind you.

Option: Home School your kids and keep them out of the liberal public education system.

Like abortion, there is an upside to this issue. If they can't fill out a job application, then they won't be able to fill out a ballot. Less democratic voters.

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