[AAACE-NLA] In what state agency should ed be located?
tsticht at znet.com
tsticht at znet.com
Thu Mar 27 14:07:40 EDT 2008
David: I vote for the Adult Education and Literacy System (AELS) of each
stae and at the federal level to be in the Department of Education, not
Department of Labor or Workforce Development, etc. The following note is
relevant here. Tom Sticht
July 16, 2005
Moving the Adult Education and Literacy System From the Margins
to the Mainstream of Education in the United States:
Grounds For New Hope From the U. S. Senate
International Consultant in Adult Education
The recent Senate Appropriations Committee bill concerning adult education
contains important information about how the Committee regards the Adult
Education State Programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education,
Office of Adult and Vocational Education, Division of Adult Education and
Literacy. By providing funding for FY2006 at the same level as in FY2005,
the Committee rejected the Bush administrations request for more than $375
million in cuts in the State Grant funds which provide the federal
governments support for the Adult Education and Literacy System (AELS) of
the United States.
Importantly, the bill passed by the Committee redirects the focus of adult
education and literacy development away from the workforce focus that
engulfed the AELS when the original Adult Education Act of 1966 was
incorporated into the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The Committees
language is direct in challenging this workforce focus for the AELS, and
states, "The Committee recognizes the diverse population eligible for
services under this program, ranging from adults striving to complete their
secondary education to workers requiring better English skills to benefit
from employer-provided job training and to grandparents desiring the skills
necessary to help grandchildren to learn to read."
This shows that the Senate Committee understands that the AELS aims to
provide educational opportunities for adults that will help them achieve
multiple outcomes. Importantly, the Committee report goes on to say, " The
Committee also notes that while some participants cite employment as their
reason for enrolling in an adult education program, many program
participants do not establish this as a goal." This directly indicates that
the Committee understands that the AELS is primarily an education system,
not a job training and employment program.
The fact that the Committee recognizes that the AELS is an education system
and not a job training or employment program is further evidenced by the
Committees statement that, "Furthermore, even if employment is a goal,
increased earnings might not be associated with the career goals of the
more than one-third of adult education participants currently employed.
Therefore, the Committee has recommended level funding for this program,
and urges the Department to consider these facts when assessing program
performance under the Adult Education program and the appropriateness of
including this education program under the Administration's initiative to
identify common measures for job training and employment programs."
In making this statement, the Senate Committee is admonishing the Bush
administration for evaluating the AELS using "common measures for job
training and employment programs" and using these inappropriate measures
for justifying the Draconian cuts in the administrations request for
funding for the State Grants in FY2006.
I am especially pleased to find these comments in the Senate Committees
bill because they are consistent with recommendations I made in a March
2001 paper entitled "The POWER of Adult Education: Moving the Adult
Education and Literacy System of the United States From the Margins to the
Mainstream of Education". In that paper
(http://www.nald.ca/fulltext/sticht/power/cover.htm) I argued that an
informational activity needs to be undertaken to let those in positions to
determine what the AELS should be held accountable for to understand the
many educational activities and outcomes that the AELS produces. In this
regard, I suggested that the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) should be
renamed the Adult Education, Literacy, and Workforce Investment Act
(AELWIA) to recognize the fact that while the AELS does produce returns to
investment in terms of workforce development, it goes well beyond that and
produces many other returns to investment in adult education and literacy.
In another part of the paper I enumerated various returns to investment
that result from participating in the AELS such as benefits in health,
parenting, citizenship, community service, etc. (and I notice that the
Senate Committee added benefits in grandparenting!).
In my March 2001 paper I argued that "Today, the Adult Education and
Literacy System is positioned to take its place alongside the K-12 and
Higher Education systems as the third branch of the structure of public
education in the United States." In our efforts to move the AELS from the
margins to the mainstream we have had to overcome severe roadblocks,
including the introduction of the National Reporting System which drove
hundreds of community based programs and their students out of the AELS,
and the drastic cuts to the State Grants requested by the Bush
administration for FY2006 resulting from applying inappropriate measures to
evaluate the benefits of the AELS.
Now, with this statement from the U. S. Senate Appropriations Committee, the
adult education and literacy field has received a great boost forward in its
advocacy for the AELS. Once again the field of adult educators can pick up
the banner and rally around the cry for moving the Adult Education and
Literacy System from the margins to the mainstream of education in the
And once again, as I did in the March 2001 paper, I call upon the U. S.
Department of Education to include the Adult Education and Literacy System
(AELS) as an integral component of any graphic displays of the educational
structure of the United States that the National Center for Education
Statistics or any other government agencies provide in reports of the
status of education in the United States. While this is a small action, it
is an important symbolic action that can provide recognition for the
hundreds of thousands of teachers and tutors who daily strive to provide a
quality educational experience for millions of adult students yearly.
Thanks to the U. S. Senate Appropriations Committee, there is renewed hope
for the AELS and the millions of adults it serves. The AELS can move from
the margins to the mainstream of education.
¡Si, se puede!
Thomas G. Sticht
International Consultant in Adult Education
2062 Valley View Blvd.
El Cajon, CA 92019-2059
Tel/Fax: (619) 444-9133
Email: tsticht at aznet.net
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