[AAACE-NLA] Revive the NWLP
gdemetrion at msn.com
gdemetrion at msn.com
Sat Nov 1 07:29:23 EDT 2008
I scaned through the body of the report (first 17 pages) which, for those intersted in workplace literacy, is well worth taking a close look. I also like the way you laid out how a novice or even a seasoned pro could go back and forth from the reports and related literature through various pre, during, and post-reading activities, and sift the content in relation to what one experiences through observing and ultimately setting up workplace settings. The methodology of study that you lay out in these few pages, is obviously well applicable to other contexts beyond workplace literacy. Also, the functional-context theory which underlies all of your work is worth a continuous close examination of all of us in the field, regardless as to the specific foci of our programs and agencies.
Also, if I may, I'd like to recommend the third chapter of my book, Conflicting Paradigms in Adult Literacy Education, "Workforce Readiness in the Information Age. In addition to tracing the historical evolution of the relationship of the post-industrial vision to adult basic education from about 1960-2000, the chapter contains three substantial sections on some of the major reports of those decades, including, as Tom's report touches on, A Nation at Risk (1983), Johnson & Packer's Worforce 2000 (1987), the SCANS report (1991), as well as the National Education Goals Panel, established in the first Bush administration, and Forrest Chisman's influential Jump Start (1989). While a great deal of that chapter provides a fair amount of "thick description" highlighting the post-industrial/globalization vision, the last few pages in the chapter provides some fairly searing critical commentary. The critique is carried through in the next chapter on the WIA/NRS which points to some fundamental contraditions of preparing knowledge workers for the era of globalization on the one hand and low-level service workers on the other hand as a mechanism of what is referred to as "welfare reform."
George Demetrion> Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2008 13:50:30 -0700> From: tsticht at znet.com> To: aaace-nla at lists.literacytent.org> Subject: Re: [AAACE-NLA] Revive the NWLP> > Colleagues:> > It should be recalled that in hard economic times it is important that> America’s businesses, industries, and other job-creating organizations be> supported in their efforts to help our nation compete in the global> economy. The federal National Workplace Literacy Program (NWLP) of the> 1980s-90s was aimed not just at improving the literacy skills of America’s> workforce. Additionally, it was aimed at improving America’s> competitiveness internationally. This followed upon the 1983 report A> Nation at Risk which asserted that our nation’s competitiveness was at risk> because of the poor academic achievement of students coming through the K-12> education system. But also, the report indicated, because of widespread> functional illiteracy among adults in the workforce.> > I have placed online a report I wrote for the U. S. Department of Education> on how to evaluate NWLP programs. In the report I noted that the general> purpose of the NWLP was to provide grants or cooperative agreements> involving exemplary partnerships of business, industry, or labor> organizations and educational organizations for projects designed to> improve the productivity of the workforce through the improvement of> literacy skills in the workplace (see Chapters 2 and 3 in the report on> Testing and Accountability downloadable in pdf format at> http://www.nald.ca/Fulltext/sticht/testing/Testing.pdf)> > In the report I describe the method of evaluation which I called Developing> Organizational Effectiveness through Employee Development (DOEED-pronounced> DO ED). This makes the point that adult educators need to understand that> workplace Literacy, Language, Numeracy (LLN) programs must aim not only to> improve workers skills but that they must do this in a way that also> improves the workplace in some way.> > The two-way goals of improving both organizations and their workforces is> what distinguishes workPLACE literacy education from workFORCE literacy> education. The latter very often occurs as a form of what Paulo Freire> called a “banking” approach to education. That is, the skills and knowledge> of adults are improved in some general sense without any particular specific> workplaces in mind, and the person “banks” these skills and knowledge for> some future, somewhat nebulous application.> > The workPLACE adult educator must focus on the specific workplaces in which> education is to take place, what functions the workplace must perform, how> these functions can be improved through the implementation of a workplace> literacy program, and how the improvements in both organizational> effectiveness and the skills and knowledge of the employee can be> demonstrated for accountability purposes.> > While I believe that general workforce development is a valuable activity,> and indeed it is funded through the Workforce Investment Act, Title 2: The> Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, and other government programs,> workPLACE literacy education serves different purposes: the improvement of> the global competitiveness of our nations businesses, industries, and other> organizations that provide jobs, through the improvement of the LLN skills> and knowledge of the organization’s workforce. This purpose of the NWLP is> a national goal and should be funded by the federal government just as are> Early Head Start, Head Start, the Job Corps and other special programs of> national import. In this case, as in the past, the NWLP should also require> contributions from the workplaces that choose to participate, many of which> may have workforces that spread across various states. Further specifics of> a new NWLP can be worked out if there is sufficient interest in the adult> education field, workplaces, labor unions, and governments at local, state,> and federal levels.> > > Tom Sticht> > Note: In his 2007 report on Upskilling for the New Zealand government which> he has referenced, David Rosen states that in a conversation with Karl> Haigler, former director of adult education, who I knew had experience as> an Army Infantry officer, Haigler believed that, among other things, the> NWLP was stimulated by research I conducted for the US Military on> functional context learning. That research aimed at improving the> military’s ability to recruit from a larger pool of young adults,> specifically those with low levels of education and basic skills, and to> improve the literacy abilities of these young adults in both job-specific> and general literacy. That is, we aimed to develop organizational> effectiveness by improving its recruitment, training, and job performance> functions through improving the education of its employees: developing> organizational effectiveness through employee development (DOEED-pronounced> DO-ED).> > _______________________________________________> AAACE-NLA mailing list: AAACE-NLA at lists.literacytent.org> http://lists.literacytent.org/mailman/listinfo/aaace-nla> LiteracyTent: web hosting, news, community and goodies for literacy> http://literacytent.org
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