Literacy in ‘Merica…Still an Issue.

Let’s look back a bit. Kevin Ross, John Corcoran, Tom McMillen.

Stumbled across this saved article from ESPN, dated 2002. Speaks to illiteracy in the US and uses the examples of Kevin Ross, Tom McMillan, and John Corcoran.

The John Corcoran Foundations estimates the 93 million people in the USA are semi-literate to illiterate. Their reading-writing skills are well below average, while many today still cannot read or write-in 2021. John himself didn’t learn to read until he was 48 years old.

CORCORAN – Well, you know, we’ve institutionalized illiteracy. This is nothing new. This has just been perpetuated for 50 years. We’ve been socially promoting kids for a long time. We did not know what to do with little boys and little girls like John Corcoran who had difficulty learning how to read, write, and spell.

LEY – Well Tom, you brought up the issue of academic integrity. I’m going to bring in a piece of tape with Jon Ericson of the reform minded Drake Group; what he calls the big lie having to do with college athletics.

JON ERICSON, DRAKE GROUP – It is that you can take an under-prepared student not — does not have the skills to do academic work in higher education, then, take that student, give him a job 30 hours a week where he will be tired when he does come to class — he’s also excused for maybe seven — maybe eight or nine classes and expect him to acquire anything close to what we would call a university education.

MCMILLEN – It has to do with — you know, it’s the lure of money. It’s the lure of commercialism. I mean, the athletic tail is clearly wagging the academic dog in our — for many of our institutions of higher learning in this country and this is a very flawed system. I think it needs some real serious looking at because it’s going deeper and deeper into our elementary schools and though our high schools now and serious consequences to American education.

MCMILLEN – Well, it’s all about, you know, who should get into our colleges. And when I was in congress, we passed the “student’s right to know bill” which was once disclosed graduation rates and we fully were aware that schools were going to try to circumvent those statistics. I mean, statistics can be manipulated, so, you know, raising/lowering the standards — you know, at the end of the game, should an individual go to our institutions of higher learning? Are they equipped to do it? Are they of similar caliber of other students?

Those are the questions and the NCAA is really unable at this point in time to self-reform itself because the money is so large. They’re going to do whatever they can to preserve this commercial monster, which is producing billions and billions of dollars. That’s the bottom line. 

ROSS – Which is why his other job at his old junior high is so important to him. Kevin Ross is also a substitute teacher. He hopes to save enough money to return to college and get his degree. For now, his 96 credit hours for Creighton fulfill the substitute-teaching requirement in Kansas.

ROSS – OK, one more …

SALTERS – When you’re in the classroom, how much of Marva Collins is in the classroom as well?

ROSS – She taught me everything that I know.

SALTERS – And you’re passing that on?

ROSS – That’s it, I’m passing it on.

Illiteracy is still a problem in the United States, even today in 2021.

If you need help or for more info see your local remedial education department of your public school system. Perhaps you can help educate adults in need.

Contact the John Corcoran Foundation at:

John Corcoran Foundation, which since 1997 has provided one-on-one literacy tutoring for young children, disadvantaged youth, second-language learners, and children with disabilities including autism, dyslexia, speech impediments and hearing impairments.

The foundation offers online web-conference tutoring, and supplies each online learner with a free computer, broadband internet access and literacy software. It also has 2 tutoring centers in California and Colorado.

In the past 16 years, the organization has tutored more than 4,000 students, trained more than 250 tutors and provided 2,000 free computers.

Contact the Drake Group at:

The mission of the Drake Group is to defend academic integrity in higher education from the corrosive aspects of commercialized college sports. 

Tom McMillan is a retired NBA player, Congressman, businessman.

Kevin Ross is a retired primary school teacher.

John Corcoran is a retired teacher and founder of the John Corcoran Foundation.