One in four Scots can’t read this

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Away with ye fancy “Hooked on Phonics” nonsense, laddie! Scotland is suffering from an epidemic of illiteracy that is affecting as many as one in four adults, the GUARDIAN reports.

According to estimates by the Scottish government, up to 1 million Scottish adults are functionally illiterate, 400,000 lack the basic skills to hold a job, and 1.2 million can’t calculate how much change they should get when making a purchase. This is the first ever attempt to measure illiteracy in Scotland (it’s unclear whether that’s because no one in Scotland could do the required math until now). “The problem has got to the stage where it has to be addressed,” said Henry McLeish, the Scottish enterprise and lifelong learning minister. “It is unacceptable in a modern society.”

In nearby England and Wales, there are laws requiring that adults be provided with a basic education, but in Scotland it is discretionary. The shortage of people who can even operate a cash register is apparently having a drastic impact on Scotland’s economy, which has about the same number of job vacancies — 120,000 — as it does people out of work.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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