Reading is not what you think it is. It is so much more, and it is so much less. We do it so automatically we never think about what it is we are doing. Look at the perspective of the person who cannot read. Everything that they know, everything that they understand must be told to them, in person, or they must discover it themselves. They cannot hear the voice of those far away in space or time. They are cut off from the knowledge of the Ages and the Wisdom of the Sages.
We, on the other hand, are privy to all of this and more, and also less. Yes, we can read the thoughts of those who lived millennia ago, but not directly, only through a stream of symbols from which we abstract mental images and sounds, mental, not real. Yes, we are not turning out enough scholars to man and develop the complex jobs of the future. At the same time, those literate enough to do so, are largely sedentary. Meanwhile, those who are actively involved in moving and doing in the world are oftentimes not that literate. It is not just that they are unfortunate, but that we, the people, are out of synch.
We must regain our balance. Our government is poised to vastly expand the number of visas awarded to people with the technical and verbal skills that many of us are lacking. Why? Why not educate and train those who are here to do the jobs that are here? It is not that they lack the education, it is that we are imbalanced. If a people believe that they cannot educate their own, they are doomed. Parents, teachers, school administrators, political leaders, all of us, cannot say that we cannot teach our own without giving up the fundamental reason for our existence on planet earth. We have to stop hypnotizing ourselves with pessimistic news reports, pointless studies, meaningless test results and useless hand wringing and get to work!