Adult literacy has become hostage to a workforce model. Librarians who work with literacy providers may wonder why literacy is not a central policy focus. In George Demetrion's clear and insightful book, Conflicting Paradigms in Adult Literacy Education: In Quest of a U.S. Democratic Politics of Literacy, the workforce readiness model prevalent in the U.S. is explained. I have found this approach inimical, for the most part, to the librarians' commitment to human capabilities. Demetrion helps us all to learn that there are alternative models and gives us the intellectual tools to implement them-- if we have the will.
For anyone who has felt that the National Institute for Literacy has shifted right-- away from concern for the individual's development and more to concern that he/she be a good worker--Demetrion provides understanding and analysis.
Conflicting Paradigms in Adult Literacy Education: In Quest of a U.S. Democratic Politics of Literacy (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005).