[AAACE-NLA] Presidential Candidate Responses: George W. Bush
jataylor_1 at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 13 07:38:36 EDT 2004
We have received responses to the Literacy President campaign questions from U.S. Presidential candidate, George W. Bush. You will find the questions we asked and his responses below. These will also be posted on the Literacy President Web site at http://litpresident.org/
On behalf of the Literacy President Group,
David J. Rosen
1. Access to Quality Programs
What should be the commitment of the federal government, if any, to ensure that all adults in the United States have guaranteed access to quality adult education and literacy programs to improve their academic skills, regardless of income, location, age, and national origin?
I believe that we must do more to assist adults in becoming literate and obtaining the skills needed for employment and self-sufficiency. My Administration has supported a comprehensive agenda to accomplish this goal. These programs are part of an overall system of adult and worker training that ensures America has the best trained workforce in the world. The Adult Education State Grant program is an important program in this effort, as demonstrated by the $34 million increase in funding since 2001.
2. Full Funding
What will you do to ensure full funding for adult education and literacy programs?
I am committed to providing increased support for our education and job training programs. My 2005 budget includes $590 million for Adult Basic and Literacy Education, including State formula grants, National Leadership Activities, and the National Institute for Literacy.
My budget requests $6.7 million for the National Institute for Literacy, with the expectation that new authorization legislation would continue support for its communication and capacity-building activities. In addition, the budget provides $9.2 million to continue high-priority research, demonstration, and evaluation initiatives funded under National Leadership Activities.
3. Training/re-training for the New Economy
Many U.S. workers function at low literacy levels. Some of these voters watch their jobs being "outsourced" to foreign countries, but are not being given adequate access to the training and education that will allow them to function in the new "global, knowledge-based economy." How would your administration re-focus priorities to address the disappearance of the American dream for the 90 million US citizens functioning at the two lowest literacy levels who cannot compete without additional education?
My budget provides a record $23 billion for job training and employment assistance a 12 percent increase over 2001 levels. I have proposed reforming our job training programs to double the number of workers trained under them by giving governors the flexibility they need to meet their workforce and adult education needs. I will consolidate the Workforce Investment Acts four major training programs into a single, flexible grant to states. By limiting the overhead expenses, we can ensure more funds are spent training workers rather than growing a bureaucracy. I will also encourage the use of Innovation Training Accounts which give workers more control over how and where their training dollars are spent, including the flexibility to use the funds for adult education classes. In addition, my Jobs for the 21st Century initiative includes $250 million to help community colleges train workers in high-growth fields.
Finally, I am proposing a $50 million Personal Reemployment Account pilot program. These accounts provide workers with additional flexibility in selecting the services needed to help them return to work. Eligible unemployed workers can receive $3,000 to be used for whatever training and services they believe will help them get back to work, such as child care, adult education classes, or transportation. As an incentive, recipients can keep the balance of the account as a cash bonus if they find a job within 13 weeks.
4. Intergenerational Literacy
Children need education. Those who do not get education now will become adults who need literacy skills. If you teach adults, they will help their kids. What are you willing to do to improve adult literacy programs?
We must increase the focus of adult literacy programs on strengthening skills in basic reading, math, and English acquisition for adults who have weak literacy skills or want to earn their high school diploma or a GED. As a result, I have proposed a blueprint for key areas of change in current legislation including:
Requiring States to establish more effective and accountable programs that set challenging expectations for students, use meaningful assessments, and align instruction to meet those expectations;
Improving the performance accountability system;
Enhancing the emphasis on research to build a stronger foundation of knowledge for improving adult education; and
Strengthening partnerships with the One-Stop delivery system under Title I of Workforce Investment Act.
I will also continue to promote literacy programs through Head Start, Early Reading First, and Title I. I will develop a comprehensive web-based literacy tool for adults, which would be made available in public libraries, community colleges, and at social service offices, including Head Start Centers and One-Stop job centers. This literacy tool will increase adult literacy across the United States.
This summer we began a program to train Head Start parents. The Head Start Parent-Mentor Training Program is helping parents enhance their childrens language and literacy skills and helping them learn how to mentor other parents to do the same with their children. This stresses the importance of supporting parents and families in rearing their children and reflects the Administrations commitment to helping parents enhance their childrens growth and development. Over 1,200 parents participated in the training, which they considered helpful and were excited to share with other parents. Head Starts goal is to train 3,000 volunteer parents, who will in turn train thousands more. Training for Hispanic/Latino parents was conducted in Spanish, and Spanish-speaking parents reported that they learned a lot and were honored to have received their instruction in Spanish.
5. National Adult Literacy Initiative to Address Issues of the Working Poor
Since it is the goal of this nation to create "new" jobs, employ the "working poor" in "better" jobs as an ongoing goal of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Welfare Reform) and to help colleges and universities manage their growing adult student population seeking new skills, what steps would you propose as a national adult literacy initiative to help address these issues?
Welfare reform has been an unquestioned success. Millions of Americans have moved from welfare to work. In fact, welfare rolls are at their lowest levels in 34 years. Now Congress must reauthorize compassionate welfare reform, so that even more men and women can know the pride of independence, self-reliance, and strengthened families. Education and job-skills training are vital tools to help people get back on their feet. That is why I have proposed significant reforms to the major Federal worker training programs to double the number of workers receiving job training, ensure those programs work better for Americas workers, and close the skills gap so every high-growth job is filled with a well-trained American worker. Welfare assistance must be a step up to a better life, not a way of life in itself. By encouraging work, we will help more Americans provide for themselves and their families and give them an opportunity to succeed in every facet of their lives. I look forward
to strengthening our successful welfare reform law and enhancing our job skills and training programs consistent with these principles.
In addition, the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education adds the following two questions. We would be pleased to publish your answers to these, as well.
6. Health Literacy
What should be the commitment of the federal government, if any, to ensure that all adults in the United States have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health care decisions?
Limited health literacy is a serious problem involving poor reading skills and difficulty with numbers, which can translate into difficulty understanding dosages, taking prescriptions, reading food labels, and filling out informed consent forms. I am committed to preparing all children to read and succeed and giving adults the basic education necessary for every aspect of society, including the workplace and the doctors office. Achieving health literacy also includes doctors and health care providers presenting information in a simple, user-friendly way. Last year, the Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the American Medical Association, and the American Hospital Association launched a campaign to help educate physicians and patients about the importance of effective communication. My initiative on health information technology will also help by automating many bureaucratic and administrative tasks in doctors offices so that doctors have more time to spend with
patients and ensure that patients understand the complex health issues facing them.
7. English for Speakers of Other Languages
What should be the commitment of the federal government, if any, to ensure that immigrants have opportunities to learn the English language and civic participation roles so they are able to realize the opportunities and fulfill the responsibilities of living in this country?
The Institute for Education Science, in the Department of Education, is conducting research on the most effective instructional techniques for children and adults learning English as a second language. I will also develop a comprehensive web-based literacy tool for adults, which would be made available in public libraries, community colleges, and at social service offices, including Head Start Centers and One-Stop job centers. This literacy tool will increase adult literacy across the United States.
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