Buried deep within a WaPo article on Washington DC public schools, there is this little nugget:
[M]ore than a third of all city residents are functionally illiterate, according to a 2007 report.
There are several ways to play this information. We could, for example, do as the WAPo does and use this factoid to help illustrate the failure of Washington DC’s public schools. Of course, since Washington DC is essentially run by the US Congress, we could also use this factoid to help illustrate the failure of the national government.
However, if ever there is a chance to go the easy route and engage in snark rather than a substantive policy discussion, we will take the low road every time. It’s a sickness. We can’t resist.
So here goes.
This stat does not speak of school children, but of DC residents, so this would include government workers. Assuming that this ratio is equally distributed among DC residents (and why shouldn’t we make this assumption?), more than one third of your federal government is functionally illiterate.
And that, friends, is all you need to know about the mess in Washington. Most of our nation’s problems would be solved if Congress, the denizens of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and the SCOTUS were enrolled in a summer school program to boost their reading skills. Sadly, as the WaPo article points out, there is a waiting list to enter their program.
(H/t Matt Ygelsias)