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View Poll Results: What is the highest level of education you have completed?
Less than High School 7 3.17%
High School 32 14.48%
Associates 26 11.76%
Bachelor's 74 33.48%
Masters 64 28.96%
PhD 18 8.14%
Voters: 221. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-04-2011, 04:48 AM   #31
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Yes, the degrees, especially doctorates, are very misleading. For example, I have one daughter with a J.D. which she obtained in 3 years following college (U.S.). My other daughter is married to a Navy physician who is still "in school" having obtained his M.D. in 4 years, board-certified in Ob-Gyn, then his specialty in Gyn-Oncology in 6 additional years of specialty fellowship which is nearly finished.

In my case, I was a chemistry major which required five years for a PhD plus a year of post-doc work. So I learned to read slowly and carefully, somewhat unlike a literature or political science or education major who could rip through text books. Consequently, my background in 'literature' is very weak and I'm still a relatively slow reader, so despite my terminal degree, I'm sure I'm far behind most readers here in terms of 'literature.'

Interesting poll for fun, but hardly definitive or even significant. There are a lot of highly brilliant school dropouts - Bill Gates and Michael Dell come to mind ...
I think it's obvious that technical books require a completely different mode of reading from that required for literature or history. I ought to know -- my degree is in mathematics! But one can develop different techniques for different types of reading. In fact, I wonder whether people with humanities degrees are as adventurous in their reading as we techies are more or less forced to be.
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:24 AM   #32
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Well put, @DMB. I am gaining some speed with literature since I retired and no longer need nor choose to read chemistry-related journals, but I also find that I must occasionally monitor my 'default' speed and tell myself to read faster. My eReader has helped greatly in that regard, by the way, being lighter than many books to hold, and providing instant page turns.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:12 AM   #33
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Interesting poll. I have a Bachelors Degree, but if you posted this poll a month ago I would have selected High School as I just got my degree.

I personally feel a persons personality and profession has more to do with what type of reader they are. I love to read, but since going back to work (new profession, don't shoot me but as an Accountant) of late after spending all day pouring over books and papers etc I don't feel like sitting down and reading as much as I use to. The same probably goes for other office type professionals. Yet when I was in my old mind-numbing job I used to read far far more for pleasure, even whilst studying.

What I have found when it comes to readers are those that I know who have or are still in the defence force. I don't know one who doesn't read, and when I say read, I mean a book a week.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:40 AM   #34
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I'm inclined to think that an early familiarity with books, not later academic achievement, engenders lasting reading habits, and that said familiarity is deepened by the quality of our earliest education: habits taught to us by our parents, as well as our teachers from kindergarten through middle school.

Reading is an art as well as a skill, which means one must be initiated into it as well as taught. The same is true of its frequent object, literature.

The trick is early immersion. We don't go to college to learn how to swim, we master that skill as children. People who win Olympic medals tend not to start their training in their late teens.

I always tell parents to play classical music in the background during meals, and to leave books filled with photos of paintings and sculpture on low tables for their young children to explore. Don't try to say profound things about art to children. Just put the materials in their proximity, so that they learn to think of art as natural and familiar, rather than some desiccated mummy striking poses in concert halls and museums.

For an art to become vital to everyday culture, people have to become conversant with it.

Reading must become an activity people enjoy with their old friend, the tome, and not simply a required task involving some imposed and tedious end.

Adolescents who aren't exposed to Hadrian's Villa, Vermeer, Scarlatti, Bartok, Monteverdi, Beethoven, Durer, Corelli, Edgar Allan Poe, Hart Crane, Dostoyevsky, Giotto, Fra' Filippo Lippi, the Parthenon, El Lissitzky, Redon, Robert Browning, Stockhausen, Jacques-Louis David and Khlebnikov might not learn to incorporate these into their thoughts, nor will the brain employ them in its construction of the foundation of memory. Whereas those who are surrounded by art make a lasting place for it, so that it can rise up in the mind and offer substance whenever required.

When people say they've met smart people who never went to college but have also known clueless and/or uncultured people who did, they're often contrasting those who benefited from a good early education (Abraham Lincoln, Arnold Schoenberg, Ezra Pound) with those who grew up in sterile environments and then found themselves pursuing university-specific careers.

I used to see such people at Brown University, where they'd settle in to worship this or that professor. Their positions benefited, of course, but the quality of their work did not.

Last edited by Prestidigitweeze; 08-04-2011 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:49 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by odiakkoh View Post
I almost failed 3rd grade because I was too busy reading to do homework lmao.
Don't feel bad odiakkoh I ended up taking 1st grade twice because I had some learning difficulties early on. Later they tested me (at age 13) and I had a High School Senior's reading level. I do have a College Diploma (in Office Machine Repair) though as I recall my teacher in College didn't learn his business in a College. He'd learned how to fix typewriters and such by actually working out in the field. I think that if a person is a reader they are likely to learn things that a non-reader might not. College degree's are good in that they prove you know what you're doing or talking about when talking to a potential employer, but there is a difference between knowledge and intelligence I think. Anyone can learn something, but not everyone can make the leap to application of that knowledge.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:56 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Prestidigitweeze View Post

When people say they've met smart people who never went to college but have known clueless and/or uncultured people who did, they're often contrasting those who benefited from a good early education (Abraham Lincoln, Arnold Schoenberg, Ezra Pound) with people from sterile environments who then found themselves in universities.
I remember when I was in college in the late 80's early 90's (I forget exactly when) I was in the break area with a bunch of other people, teachers and students and one instructor was bemoaning the fact that a lot of his students seemed to have such bad reading comprehension skills. I asked him if that wasn't something they were supposed to have learned way back in grade school and he said that was his point. Apparently a lot of his students somehow fell through the cracks or something and didn't learn the trick of understanding the meaning of the written word. Kinda sad really. I got my first library card at age 3 and have had one ever since. Family sometimes joke about me being a branch of the public library. lol.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:00 AM   #37
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I don't know if 'some college' falls under Associates or not but I did get a diploma in College (Blackhawk Tech) in Office Machine Repair so I have got a diploma and chose Associates on the poll since you didn't have anything else between High School and Bachelors.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:19 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by taming View Post
See: America's Most Literate Cities 201, a study by Central Connecticut State University (http://www.ccsu.edu/page.cfm?p=8227) St. Louis, btw, ranks in the top 10 overall, but is #46 in educational attainment. It is in a tie with Portland Oregon in the overall rankings. Portland ranks 4th in educational attainment.
Quote:
Top 10 Cities:

1. Washington, DC
2. Seattle, WA
3. Minneapolis, MN
4. Atlanta, GA
5. Pittsburgh, PA
6. San Francisco, CA
7. St. Paul, MN
8. Denver, CO
9.5. Portland, OR
9.5. St. Louis, MO
I love the fact that the most literate city in the States is one of our most diverse.

Pity that Seattle trounces Portland on that list.
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:23 PM   #39
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This is an interesting question (and I'm not sure that the poll will really help us answer it).

My guess would be that there is a large gap between people without a HS degree and people with a HS degree (for many reason, including the fact that most actual illiterates would be in the non-HS degree group). There may be a small gap between HS degree holders and bachelor's degree holders. I suspect that there is little - if any - difference between people with a bachelor's degree and a more advanced degree.

As other posters have suggested, at least for people with a bachelor's degree and beyond, what the person studied is probably more relevant to their reading than the actual degree. I.e., the reading habits of a person with a Ph.D in English lit are likely to be more similar to the reading habits of a person with an BA in English lit than they are to the reading habits of a person with a Ph.D in Finance. (And the person with the Ph.D in Finance will probably have similar reading habits to the person with the BA in Finance).

I would be interested in seeing data that tracked the educational level of various readers based on specific books, too.

Re: most literate cities - I like the idea, and there may be a way of making a decent ranking like this...but I don't think that this ranking succeeds in doing so. The study is based on six factors: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources. But I'm not sure that many of these are good proxies for literacy.

1. Newspaper circulation - in 2011, I don't think that this number is meaningful at all. None of the literate people that I know subscribe to a newspaper.

2. Number of bookstores. This probably has some validity...Amazon notwithstanding, bookstores won't survive without literacy.

3. Library resources. There is probably some correlation between library resources and literacy, although "resources" is a kind of weasel word and may obscure more than it reveals.

4. Periodical publishing resources. I'm not exactly sure what this means - I suspect it has to do with magazines being published in that city. I don't think that this is a proxy for literacy at all.

5. Educational attainment. This is probably roughly correlated with literacy, although perhaps not above the bachelor's level. But a city with 15% college grads is probably less literate overall than a city with 45% college grads.

6. Internet resources. Again, I'm not sure what they mean by "resources," but probably an area with only dial-up would be less literate than an area with broadband. However, I don't think that having 25/5 mbit service would make a place more literate than a place with 10/2 service.

Another statistical problem with this type of survey is that the variables are not independent - locations with higher educational attainment will also be areas with higher income and thus greater internet and library "resources." In fact, I would be curious to see how the rankings would change if they only included educational attainment. I suspect not much.

But there is an easier way to find this kind of information out - just conduct a statistically valid poll of a representative sample of the population, and then rank the results.
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Old 08-04-2011, 03:00 PM   #40
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I have a MA Hon. as well as various professional qualifications but would claim that the most important part of my education was self-taught. I was brought up in a home that had no books and was so hungry for reading material that I read everything in sight from women's magazines to sauce bottles. The most important event in my young life was when a library opened in our mining village. This was literally life-changing and I withdrew a great many books but being totally ignorant could not discriminate. The result was, at age ten or eleven onwards I was reading Charles Lamb, Hazlitt, Coleridge and all the authors of antiquity along with all of the modern writers. School, I found an impediment rather than a help.
I delivered the morning papers from six in the morning to eight-forty then off to school before evening delivery at five lasting to seven-thirty. Not being able to afford comics. I read those being delivered and was a speedy reader as well as a speedy runner.
If you are a reader then you will read, and the type of education or the complete lack of it will not influence this one whit.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:43 PM   #41
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I voted High school because there was no 'other'

Some college, and US Navy Electronics schools (used to count as a technical part of a AA at many employers.)
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:17 PM   #42
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I have three siblings. Of the four of us, I have two degrees (B.A. and B.Ed), one of my sisters has a degree, and my other two siblings have high school diplomas. So 2 of us have university degrees, two have high school diplomas - we're all equally rabid readers.

My husband has two degrees (also B.A. and B.Ed) and he reads, but I wouldn't call him an avid reader. He's been reading more now that he has an eReader, but if I weren't such a horrible influence he'd probably be doing something else.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:37 PM   #43
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I have the equivalent of an Associate's degree, but the actual point I'm at in my education is third year of my Bachelor's.

Chris has a Bachelor's and a Master's and is working on his second Master's.

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Old 08-05-2011, 02:42 AM   #44
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Cool Wow.............

I note that so far, most have had Degree-level qualifications.

Thinking back many years to my own days as a student, it's quite surprising so many of them survived into ereader-hood...........
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:35 AM   #45
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I note that so far, most have had Degree-level qualifications.

Thinking back many years to my own days as a student, it's quite surprising so many of them survived into ereader-hood...........
What did you get up to?
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