The average person has more education than they did 50 years ago. My guess based on what little I've seen... coming out of school, kids are more advanced in all subjects including English. At the college level though, probably less advanced than 50 years ago –because back then the average person didn't go to college, so the standards were higher. So the average person is more literate than 50 years ago, but someone with a higher education less literate. That's just my guess.