Literacy improves quality of life and is essential to many jobs. Texas lags the nation in literacy rates, with particularly low levels in some counties. Improving the situation could lead to notable economic benefits.
Literacy is defined as "the ability to understand, evaluate, use and engage with written texts to participate in society, to achieve one's goals, and to develop one's knowledge and potential" by the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC--part of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)). Through my economist lens, another aspect of literacy is that it greatly enhances job opportunities for individuals and provides some near-term relief to the workforce shortage.