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Running with the Literacy Stampede

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Kristina Wynne

on 23 August 2010

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Transcript of Running with the Literacy Stampede

Running with the
Literacy Stampede You’re standing in a large field minding your own business when you hear rumbling sounds in the distance. The sounds begin to intensify, and at first you wonder if it is thunder you hear approaching. Because it is a beautiful, cloudless day you dismiss this notion. As the rumbling sound grows louder, you begin to see a dust cloud rising just over the ridge a few yards in front of you. Instantly, you become panicked because at that exact moment it dawns on you that the rumbling you’re hearing is the sound of hundreds of wild bulls stampeding over the ridge. There are hordes of them and they are bearing down right on top of you. They are clearly faster than you and there is no time to escape. What should you do? Survival experts recommend only one of the following actions:

A)Lying down and curling up, covering your head with your arms
B)Running directly at the bulls, screaming wildly and flailing your
arms in an attempt to scare them in another direction
C)Turning and running like heck in the same direction the bulls are
running (even though you know you can’t outrun them)
D)Standing completely still; they will see you and run around you
E)Screaming bad words at your parent(s) for insisting on a back-to-
nature vacation in Wyoming
When encountering a stampede of bulls, the handbook states, you should “not try to distract them…If you cannot escape, your only option is to run alongside the stampede to avoid being trampled. Bulls are not like horses and will not avoid you if you lie down—so keep moving” (Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook, Piven and Borgenicht 1999, p. 49).
If you don't want to be crushed by an oncoming stampede... You have to run with it! Few of us have ever been to Wyoming much less seen an actual stampede. But consider the following... •More information was produced in the last thirty years than in the previous 5,000 years combined. •A weekday edition of the New York Times contains more information than the average person was likely to come across in a lifetime in seventeenth-century England (1800’s). •Information is doubling every four years. •Approximately 20, 000 books are published each day. •The blogosphere is now doubling in size every six months. It is sixty times larger than it was three years ago. •The Internet is the fastest growing communications media in the world history. It took the Web four years to reach 50 million users (it took the radio 38 years, personal computers 16 years, and television 13 years to reach the same number of users) •Getting into college is more competitive than ever with admissions SAT requirements on the rise. The SAT test now requires a higher level of reading and writing than ever before. •The job market is rapidly changing. (1) Unskilled jobs are disappearing
(2) Technology is replacing menial jobs
(3) Unskilled jobs are increasingly outsourced.
This means—a person needs some form of extended education to meet the needs of the changing job market. •80% or more of the companies in the service of finance, insurance and real estate sectors (the corporations with the greatest employment-growth potential) assess writing during hiring. Tired yet? So...Consider the following question.

You are growing up in the dawn of the Information Age. More than ever before in history, the ability to read and write will determine how far you will go in this world. For the most part, people who read and write well will compete and prosper; people who read and write poorly will be left behind. Simply put, there is a literacy stampede approaching, and it is bearing down right on top of you. What should you do?

A)Go home, curl up on the sofa, watch a lot of MTV, and hope the demands of the literacy
stampede go away
B)Stare the Information Age in the face, screaming wildly and flailing your arms, in an
attempt to make it go away
C)Elevate your reading and writing abilities to the point that you can run with the literacy
D)Stand completely still. Pray that the Information Age will avoid you
E)Scream bad words at your parent(s) for conceiving you in the shadow of a literacy stampede
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