[AAACE-NLA] Fall From the Literacy Summit
sgabb412 at hotmail.com
Tue Sep 4 12:24:21 EDT 2007
Great and passionate statement, Deb Yoho! Having worked with adult literacy since 1971, I have seen the rise and fall of support for the idea of 'literacy for all' and life long learning. I agree wholeheartedly that those who have created and continue to direct WIA are primarily interested in creaming those students from the ABE population who can be of use to the work force as designed by international capitalism. This indeed leaves little room for those most in need of our support. I agree that our students are the most eloquent advocates for a progressive AELS: only through their stories, and their action can we hope to mount the kind of political and economic advocacy necessary to create a system that supports people, not profit.
I want to put in a word for VALUE, the national student leadership organization that carries the voices of ABE learners to WAshington. By supporting student leadership in each state, and at the national level, we can enhance the strength of the student advocacy movement. Support for civic education and involvement, and student leadership development is the key.
Developmental Reading Specialist
Bristol Community College
Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2007 14:13:13 -0400From: george.demetrion at lvgh.orgTo: yohogclc at earthlink.net; aaace-nla at lists.literacytent.orgSubject: Re: [AAACE-NLA] Fall From the Literacy Summit
These issues, too, are thoroughly discussed in Conflicting Paradigms, especially chapters 3-5 and more fundamentally throughout the book. Ch 3 discusses the globalization thesis underlying the vision of the post-industrial economy/society which sparked a lot of imaginative forecasting from the 60s on. Ch 4 focuses extensively on the politics and policy dynamics giving both the Workforce Investment Act-National Reporting System under the Clinton administration. Ch 5 discusses key field-based responses.
For additional info, see the following review: http://reading.org/Library/Retrieve.cfm?D=10.1598/JAAL.49.6.10&F=JAAL-49-6-Kazemek.html
From: aaace-nla-bounces at lists.literacytent.org [mailto:aaace-nla-bounces at lists.literacytent.org] On Behalf Of Debbie YohoSent: Tuesday, August 07, 2007 12:13 PMTo: aaace-nlaSubject: [AAACE-NLA] Fall >From the Literacy Summit
Colleagues: Tom Sticht's sober summary of the state of the AELS is a reality check we need to heed. In a few months we will reach the 10th anniversary of the Workforce Investment Act. Tom is right to pause and take stock of what, if anything, has been achieved in the past decade.
The WIA was passed, in my view, because business interests succeeded in highjacking the adult education agenda and recasting it as an "investment". Putting aside the ineffectual rhetoric of the 2000 Summit that called for a "system of...lifelong learning services", the AELS has instead bought into the notion that opportunities for continued education for ALL adults is the same thing as job training. An "investment" is a one-time infusion of effort with an expected measurable result over a short timeframe. Well, we have tried for ten years to make the case that the AELS should move from the margins to the mainstream because it is a good "investment". and we have failed. Tom's summary of the data says clearly that we are worse off than we were in 1998. So I ask; whose fault is this? Tom points out that no one seems willing to discuss who is at fault or why we have stood still, and moved backwards, for 10 years. I think it is incumbent on the members of this list to start talking about it.
At first glance I would say that this failure has much to do with the fact that the primary tool used to move "from the margins to the mainstream" has been the NRS, an accountability system based on the business concept of "investment". But I think the fundamental issue is much more complicated. For the past several months I have been intently studying globalization. The combined forces of technology and a global economy have institutionalized social darwinism. This means "survival of the fittest" in the marketplace. It also sets up the mindset that "winnowing out" the weakest among us is a good thing. Much of the business community, to put it bluntly, couldn't care less about adults of little skill or education who can't compete or contribute. The business of America is business, (to quote a twentieth century president) and always has been, and now the business of the world is business as practiced by American capitalists.
In short, I believe it is a waste of effort to continue to argue that the AELS is a good investment. 10 years of doing so has gotten us nowhere. We must re-frame the message, and counteract those who are co-opting us.
I think the time has come to assert lifelong learning for all as a human right when we advocate. I think educators need to forge partnerships less with businesses and more with social activists. I think a major priority of the AELS should be to get behind the development of learner leaders who are skilled in speaking up for their rights. I think we should focus less on skill building in our classrooms and programs and more on critical thinking, persuasive writing, oral expression and civic action. I have always thought these things. I know these ideas may be received as "liberal" or "political" or "subjective", and may even make some people mad. But what have we got to lose? Bipartisan compromises aren't working. We are being "winnowed out". It is time to cry "foul!" and appeal to compassion and a sense of right, and gather around us some new friends.
Division Director, Turning Pages
(formerly the Greater Columbia Literacy Council)
a community service of Volunteers of America Carolinas
803-765-2555 fax 803-799-8417 yohogclc at earthlink.net
2728 Devine Street, Columbia, SC 29205
yohogclc at earthlink.net
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