Neoliberalism & Critical Adult Literacy Education: Impact and Implications
Discussions about education tend to revolve around K-12 schooling; adult education is generally not a part of the conversation even though it was an incubator of social change and progress at many points in history. Much has been written about the influence of neoliberal ideology and policies on K-12 education, but how has adult literacy education been impacted by the rise of neoliberalism? In this paper, I explore the role of critical literacy pedagogy and neoliberalism as “public pedagogy” in adult education and consider the interplay of these antithetical pedagogies; I also investigate the implications of this interaction on both adult literacy educators and adult literacy students, as well the role of the urban space. I find that neoliberalism has a pervasive impact in adult literacy education, limiting the practice and access to critical literacy pedagogy and constricting possibilities for adult literacy educators and students, while the context of an urban space adds an additional layer of complexity.