[AAACE-NLA] COABE Policy Session
Jackie A. Taylor
jackie at jataylor.net
Mon Mar 8 12:20:12 EST 2010
Hi Tom and All,
Actually, we had someone on the panel with experience at the state level.
Unfortunately travel was an issue and he had to cancel unexpectedly.
However, Jeff Fantine, State Director of Adult Education, Maine Department
of Education, will be joining us to share his perspective with respect to
the debate topics.
Thanks for your interest!
COABE Policy Chair
NCL Policy Co-Chair
jackie at jataylor.net
From: aaace-nla-bounces at lists.literacytent.org
[mailto:aaace-nla-bounces at lists.literacytent.org] On Behalf Of
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Sent: Thursday, March 04, 2010 4:48 PM
To: aaace-nla at lists.literacytent.org
Subject: [AAACE-NLA] COABE Policy Session
Colleagues: I found the quote down below on the schedule of concurrent
sessions for the COABE/ProLiteracy conference in Chicago later this month.
I was struck by the fact that this is being chaired and assisted by folks
from community based organizations with no indicated direct representation
in the program leaders from the state directors of adult education which
operate the vast majority of education programs for adult learners in the
nation through the Adult Education and Literacy System (AELS). The latter
refers to the 3000 or so programs that are funded in part by federal funds
from WIA Title 2: The Adult Education and Family Literacy Act.
The two topics indicated in the extract from the COABE program deal with two
very important topics: the funding for learners at the lowest level of
educational achievement and if the AELS should be under the jurisdiction of
the Dept of Education or the Dept of Labor at the federal level.
In a paper entitled The Adult Education and Literacy System (AELS) in the
United States: Moving From the Margins to the Mainstream of Education
(February 2, 2000)I outlined four steps I thought should be taken to move
the AELS from the margins to the mainstream of education. The fourth step
that I called for was given in the following quote from the paper
"Step 4. Symbolic Moves. First, we should agree upon a name for the system
that I have been calling the Adult Education and Literacy System (AELS). I
have used this name because that is the name of the federal government
office that administers the AELS system at the national level. This name
also emphasizes that the system aims to help those with the least literacy
skills to develop their skills, and to provide continuing education to
those with other needs.
Second, given that we have agreed upon the name as used herein, the
Workforce Investment Act (WIA) should be renamed the Adult Education,
Literacy and Workforce Investment Act (AELWIA) to recognize the many
returns to investment in adult education and literacy development beyond
the very important, but limited goal of improving the employability and
productivity of the workforce. As data presented in this report have
indicated, the adult education and literacy system helps millions of adults
become more effective as parents, it helps their children do better in
school, it helps adults become better managers of their own and their loved
ones health, and it assists adults in becoming more active in the civic
activities of their communities. Given these many different returns to
investment in adult education, the AELWIA legislation should reflect the
primary and more encompassing goal of investing in adult education and
literacy development to achieve all of the important outcomes that the
system presently delivers, including workforce development."
>From the foregoing I think you can see that I believe that the AELS should
be regarded as an education system not a labor development system and
therefore I think the AELS should be located within the Dept of Education.
Further, I think the AELS should be regarded as an adult education SYSTEM
not a PROGRAM. I don't know of anyone who refers to the higher education
system in the nation as a "program" nor is that the way we talk about the
K-12 system. I think we should move toward a greater recognition of the
AELS as the third leg of a three-legged stool of education: the pre-K-12
system, the higher education system, and the Adult Education and Literacy
Here is the extract from the COABE list of concurrent sessions:
"For the first time ever, the COABE, ProLiteracy and the National Coalition
for Literacy are hosting a town hall meeting and public policy debate on
hot policy issues that affect adult education in the US today. This lively
discussion will explore diverse points of view, including yours! The debate
will be moderated by David Harvey, President and CEO of ProLiteracy. Marsha
Tait and Jackie Taylor (National Coalition for Literacy Public Policy
Committee Co-Chairs) will assist. Topic 1: whether and to what extent
should federal and state monies be invested in the lowest level of learner
in an economic and political climate that is focused almost entirely on
jobs creation economic stimulus. Topic 2: whether, in the context of the
current political and economic climate, adult education should be a
stand-alone program under the jurisdiction of the US Department of
Education, or whether it should be re-focused as a fully integrated
workforce skills program under the jurisdiction of the US Department of
Perhaps some of the subscribers to this discussion would like to express
their views, too. Particularly those who may not be able to get to the
AAACE-NLA mailing list: AAACE-NLA at lists.literacytent.org
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