Flutterby™! : Dumbing down of congressional discourse

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Dumbing down of congressional discourse

2012-05-21 22:05:06.928046+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

The Sunlight Foundation: The changing complexity of congressional speech looks at congressional speeches since 1996 as analyzed by the Flesch-Kincaid test.

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)

Via MeFi

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comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2012-05-22 02:07:49.48532+00 by: meuon

LOL. WTF do ya'll think? Like the peeps are getting dummer or sumtin. Maybe we shulda made edumacacion learnin mo important.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-05-22 15:10:57.843415+00 by: TheSHAD0W

It's an enormous conspiracy, the entire purpose of which is to reduce the population's comprehension of what the word "infringed" means.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-05-24 20:00:59.42026+00 by: m

I am surprised that the Constitution and the Federalist Papers are evaluated to what I assume to be a graduate level (17+.) This does not say much for University, or even high school educations.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-05-24 23:01:55.38969+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think that the automated algorithm they're using for the grading gives a particularly high score to the sorts of long convoluted sentences with questionable punctuation that were used back in the day.