Non-readers are imprisoned by a skill they don't possess
"When the press is free and every man able to read, all is well."
So said Thomas Jefferson, one of the nation's Founding Fathers. Jefferson understood, more than 200 years ago, that those who cannot understand the debate on the issues of the day are seriously handicapped by their inability to read.
Today, to emphasize the importance of reading - and understanding what's been read - we celebrate International Literacy Day. Elsewhere in today's Herald-Mail newspapers is a story about what the literacy issue means to Washington County. But those local folks who can read shouldn't assume the issue doesn't affect them.
In 1999, Washington County officials estimated that 17 percent of all local residents couldn't read at a sixth-grade level. What does that say to prospective industries which need employees who can read and understand technical manuals and communicate with suppliers and service providers?