Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Congress Speaks Like Tenth Graders.

According to the Sunlight Foundation, our representatives in Congress speak at a tenth grade level.  Here's what they have to say:

Congress now speaks at almost a full grade level lower than it did just seven years ago, with the most conservative members of Congress speaking on average at the lowest grade level, according to a new Sunlight Foundation analysis of the Congressional Record using Capitol Words.

Of course, what some might interpret as a dumbing down of Congress, others will see as more effective communications. And lawmakers of both parties still speak above the heads of the average American, who reads at between an 8th and 9th grade level.

Today’s Congress speaks at about a 10.6 grade level, down from 11.5 in 2005. By comparison, the U.S. Constitution is written at a 17.8 grade level, the Federalist Papers at a 17.1 grade level, and the Declaration of Independence at a 15.1 grade level. The Gettysburg Address comes in at an 11.2 grade level and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is at a 9.4 grade level. Most major newspapers are written at between an 11th and 14th grade level. (You can find more comparisons here)

Normally I'd poke fun at such a statistic, but I really can't.  See, as much as I would like for my representatives to be intelligent (and therefore speak with an air of intelligence and reason), that's far too much to ask for from a country that averages as 8th-9th grade readers. 

Maybe there IS something in our drinking water after all...

One more thing to put this whole statistic into perspective.  THESE are sophomores (10th graders) in high school:

Young, right?  Now how do you feel about our congressmen and women speaking like tenth graders?

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