Was 1950 the high point of literacy in North America?
An interesting if depressing piece here: Post-Literacy and the Refusal to Read.
The author notes that the post-literate individual resembles the person from a pre-literate oral culture in many ways, BUT:
On the other hand, post-literacy is not a relapse into orality, which, in its intact form, has institutions of its own such as folklore and social custom that codify the knowledge essential to living. Post-literacy can draw on no such resources, for these have only been preserved in modern society in literature, and post-literacy has not only lost contact with literature, but also it simply no longer knows how to read in any meaningful sense. It cannot refer to the archive to replenish itself by a study of its own past.
…which implies, of course, that people in post-literate societies are more susceptible to manipulation than are those in either oral or literate cultures.
Note also the description of the private college which is so desperate for tuition revenue that it forces its professors to tolerate almost any level of bad performance and outright laziness from its students. As I’ve observed before, the idea that “non-profit” institutions are inherently morally superior to for-profit entities is ludicrous, and increasingly obviously so.