Adult literacy is an essential public policy concern.
It must not be dealt with in isolation, but rather integrated with other policies and programs.
The global competitiveness and economic security of our nation and well-being of our citizens are all seriously held back by widespread(*) low literacy in the U.S. The success of policies and programs dealing with early childhood education, health care, welfare, retraining the American workforce, and maintaining a strong military with capable recruits are all linked to having an adult population with better literacy skills.
(*) The U.S. Department of Education's 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy finds that 90 million adults in this country have literacy skills at the lowest two levels of the survey, "basic" and "below basic."