Year of Publication


Season of Publication


Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)



First Advisor

Dr. Roy Singleton

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Grimes

Third Advisor

Dr. William Herrold


Millions of United States citizens are functionally illiterate. Included are persons who cannot read or write or perform simple arithmetic at all. The reasons for failure of voluntary literacy are reviewed, and consideration given to mandatory literacy as a solution to the problem. The effect of functional illiteracy on the military is examined, as well as the relationship of illiteracy to poverty and crime. A survey of educators reveals an awareness among them of this illiteracy problem, and also reveals that some of these educators favor mandatory literacy. The issue of civil rights in relation to mandatory literacy is discussed, along with the dangers and drawbacks of functional illiteracy. Suggestions are made for initiating a campaign to eradicate functional illiteracy from American society.