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Coffee Break with Liz and Kate » Headline, 50 essays the ways we lie »

Imagine my happiness when Kate called the other day to point out a new button on our site, which rates Coffee Break with Liz and Kate at a solid 97 percent! I was thrilled, I tell ya.

Until she went further into details of what kept us from getting a higher grade.

Apparently – according to this website grader – Kate and I need to dumb it down, as it were. I was appalled. And quite frankly, I think you should be appalled, too. This isn’t rocket science here. It’s a coffee break, for crying out loud. A place where we get to talk to you guys about a little bit of everything, hopefully giving you a good laugh or a fabu recipe, a helpful piece of advice or a reason to cry (we are two sentimental gals, after all).

And now we need to dumb it down? Are you kidding me? Not gonna happen, Harry.

I remember years ago in journalism school how surprised I was to discover that most newspapers are written at no more than a fifth-grade level.  So maybe this dumbing down thing shouldn’t be a shock.

What it is, though, is totally unacceptable.

I did a quick bit of research that points to a few other unacceptable truths when it comes to reading, et al:

  • U.S. adults ranked 12th among 20 high income countries in composite (document, prose, and quantitative) literacy.
  • Approximately 50 percent of the nation’s unemployed youth age 16-21 are functional illiterate, with virtually no prospects of obtaining good jobs.
  • 21 million Americans can’t read at all, 45 million are marginally illiterate and one-fifth of high school graduates can’t read their diplomas.
  • 44 million adults in the U.S. can’t read well enough to read a simple story to a child.
  • 50 percent of American adults are unable to read an eighth grade level book.

Dumbed down, indeed. Check out more interesting statistics on literacy here. Just be prepared when your head starts spinning.

Needless to say, we’ve made an executive decision here at Coffee Break. We will not be dumbing down our website in an effort to increase our website score, fit into the norm, or otherwise buy into some politically correct notion that in order to gain mass appeal, we must appear dumber.

We think more highly of ourselves than that. By the same token, we think more highly of our readers than to pull a stunt like that. And we certainly hope you’ll agree.

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