House Adult Literacy Caucus

Literacy Caucus Co-Chair Phil Roe
Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN), House Adult Literacy Caucus Co-Chair, gives welcoming remarks
at the 2011 Literacy Leadership Awards. Photo: Larkin Goff

The House Adult Literacy Caucus aims to bring attention to the adult literacy issue and promote local, national, and global adult literacy initiatives. The caucus calls attention to the connections between adult literacy and national priorities like economics and health.

The Caucus was formed in 2010 by Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN) and Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) (who has since retired). “As we continue to try to get our nation’s economy back on track, the need for educating and training adults who have been out of school for years will become more and more important to adapt to changing workforce demands.  I am hopeful that through the Adult Literacy Caucus we will be able to give voice in Congress to those who need additional help and education,” said Congressman Roe at the time.

That need remains great in 2017. Roughly thirty-six million US adults have low skills. One in six US adults have low literacy skills and one in three have low numeracy skills (see NCL Response to PIAAC Time For US to Reskill for more information on these statistics). Many of these adults live in poverty, lack a high school diploma, and struggle to find and keep living wage jobs. Children of parents with lower literacy levels start school at a disadvantage. This inequality can continue well into a child’s education and into their later years.

Nearly half of the adults in our nation have difficulty understanding and using health information, impeding their ability to make good health decisions and increasing the likelihood that they will incur higher health care costs.

Adult Literacy Caucus Members, 115th Congress

Republicans

Phil Roe (TN-1), Sponsor and Co-Chair
Diane Black (TN-6)
Dennis Ross (FL-15)
Joe Wilson (SC-2)

Democrats

John Yarmuth (KY3), Co-Chair
Yvette Clarke (NY-9)
Gerry Connolly (VA-11)
Charlie Crist (FL-13)
Elijah Cummings (MD-7)
Lloyd Doggett (TX-35)
Mke Doyle (PA-14)
Raul Grijalva (AZ-3)
Hank Johnson (GA-4)
Jim Langevin (RI-2)
Gregory Meeks (NY-5)
Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC)
David Price (NC-4)
Jared Polis (CO-2)
C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (MD-2)
Gregorio Sablan (Northern Mariana Islands)
John Sarbanes (MD-3)
Paul Tonko (NY-20)

How to Help

You can help by asking your member of Congress to join the Adult Literacy Caucus. House Members can join the House Adult Literacy Caucus by contacting Otto Katt (Roe) at otto.katt@mail.house.gov or Erica DiCio (Yarmuth) at Erica.DiCio@mail.house.gov. For reference, here is a copy of the Dear Colleague Letter.