Too many kids (high school kids) could NOT read or writer properly. Grammar has gone out the window and flown down the street to the dump to throw it self out. Half of the kids in high school I went too couldn't read to save their lives. I remember in one class a teacher said to the class when it was reading out loud time and he said "if you cant pronounce a word just say the first letter of the word then say the word period after it." And people would be saying G period W period went to P period. Just think entire sentences that are longer than 4 letters long would be would dumbed down. Then some kids I remember got their phones taken away because of texting and the teacher asked "why are you texting in english when you said you can't read it?" and to my surprise i head the dumbest thing ever, they replyed with "thats not english, texting and english are two different languages". This was all in high school of senior year so a bunch of 17, 18 and 19 year olds who can't read or write for their lives.
It's important for communication, the ability to work, and raise a family, and even to fully enjoy life. Illiteracy is far too common and its a shame. I go so far and say, Language is one of the most important subjects for a children to learn. Yes, I hope schools continue to require this.
And this effective learning is only measured through the passing requirements in each subject. Literacy reading is an important deal and can put light on many aspects of failure in teaching / learning. This way, it is not something outrageous to expect that students have to pass exams with at least minimum requirements,
Children are too illiterate these days. Everywhere I go, I see horrid grammar, children can't understand words that they should understand, and reading levels have gotten so far behind. (According to news sources, "Sapphire" is a six or seventh grade level word?) I want literacy to be required to pass. (Am open to anybody who wants to debate this issue with me.)
Language is evolving, and not in a nice way in my opinion, among the young as it did with every generation before it but I am at a loss as to why there should be additional testing and mandates when the literacy rate for the entire planet is extremely close to 100%.
NAAL states that collectively something like 12% of Americans have below basic reading skills and the number hasn't shifted in a decade. The CIA factbook lists America as 98.X%+ for students who complete 5 or more years of school in 2008.