The above image is a literacy certificate which one of our staff members brought to the office.

The certificate belonged to her father, who emigrated from Germany in the 1920s. It took him five years to become a citizen and two more years to pass the literacy test that used to be required for immigrants to vote.

Today, there is said to be a crisis of adult literacy. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 32 million U.S. adults can’t read.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic.” It might not be a bad idea if Americans – both immigrants and natural-born citizens – were once again made to prove their literacy capabilities before they head to the ballot box.