[AAACE-NLA] Toward a Monument for Adult Literacy Educators
tsticht at znet.com
Wed Nov 17 16:21:10 EST 2004
Moe on the Proposal for A National Monument for Adult Literacy Educators
17 November 2004
International Consultant in Adult Education
There is no denying the fact that large numbers of adults who come to
literacy programs show great courage in overcoming shame, fear about their
abilities to learn, and other diffiulties. Many others, however, are not
particularly frought with shame or fear that they cannot learn. Many take
going to adult literacy programs in stride because the programs are there
for the taking. Historically, hundreds of thousands of young adults,
mostly men who fought in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War
I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and up to the present, have
benefitted from the literacy services of tens of thousands of adult
literacy teachers, vast numbers of whom have worked as volunteers in the
last two hundred years of our Nation's history.
Today, more than a hundred thousand teachers and tutors work in adult
literacy education programs, tens of thousands as volunteers or as
part-time paid workers. Without these devoted adult literacy teachers,
millions of adults annually who need and want to upgrade their education
and literacy skills would not have any place to go nor anyone to turn to
Recently, adult literacy educators have been the prime movers behind
getting adult learners to form alliances to speak out on behalf of adult
learners and to advocate for their needs for education services. But if
the tens upon tens of thousands of adult literacy teachers and tutors who
have devoted themselves to the needs of adult learners over the last two
centuries and up to the present had not existed and did not exist today,
it is extremely unlikely that the adult learner associations that have
arisen in the last decade or so would exist.
As I stated earlier, I have visited our Nations capitol and paid my
respects to those military personnel who have defended our freedom at the
World War II monument, the Korean War monument, and the Vietnam monument.
When visiting these monuments and reflecting on the sacrifices millions of
Americans have made defending our Nations freedom, I also think of the
hundreds of thousands of adult literacy educators who, through their
dedication to fighting illiteracy during wartime, have helped hundreds of
thousands of these military personnel succeed. But I have found no stone
monuments to the adult literacy educators.
In my earlier message: Toward A National Monument for Adult Literacy
Educators, I suggested three activities:
1. A monument to recognize and honor the work of adult literacy educators.
I would hope that the millions of adults who have turned to these
educators for education and literacy development would support this idea
of honoring these adult teachers.
2. A documentary, perhaps by the Public Broadcasting System, that would
document the work of adult literacy educators from the Revolutionary War,
through all our Nation's wars and up to the present, and the students with
whom they worked. This documentary would be used to educate our Nation's
citizens about the hundreds of years of work by adult educators and the
work that is still going on.
3. The writing of a comprehensive, well illustrated, history of adult
literacy education since our Nation's beginnings to the present. This book
could accompany the documentary or be studied as a stand alone in
university courses or anywhere else and by anyone interested in learning
about adult literacy ducation in the United States.
Through these actions, and perhaps others that might be taken, not only
would the work of adult literacy educators of the past and present be
recognized and honored, it would bring attention to the continuing need
for and the good works that contemporary adult educators are engaged in
today. My thought was that a relatively modest investment is these kinds
of advocacy-related efforts, could set the stage for a broader national
advocacy effort, and eventually lead to significant increases in federal,
state, and local funding for adult literacy education.
Thanks to those who have commented on the idea of this type of memorial
and advocacy activities up to now. Additional thoughts are welcome!
Thomas G. Sticht
International Consultant in Adult Education
2062 Valley View Blvd.
El Cajon, CA 92019
Tel/fax: (619) 444-9133
Email: tsticht at aznet.net
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