NLA Discussion: 21st Century Act
David J Rosen
DJRosen at world.std.com
Sun Apr 27 17:31:24 EDT 1997
Bob (Bickerton) and others who have helped craft the
Adult Basic Education for the 21st Century Act,
Thanks for your good work here. If its provisions are enacted,
the "field's bill" would indeed push us forward on many fronts. I
hope all NLA subscribers will take the time to download and
read this fine piece of work. I also hope that we can have a
dialogue about it here.
To begin the discussion, I would like to highlight some features
and also ask for some clarification:
Highlights (for me at least):
+ first and foremost: the call for an appropriation of
$1,000,000,000 for FY 1998 and similar or increased sums in
subsequent years. This goes a long way to providing the
resources needed to do the job that needs to be done.
+ the explicit emphasis on improving the quality of adult basic
education services "so that students stay in programs longer,
learn more and advance further toward their goals." The
mention (section 105) of "appropriate and sufficient intensity
and total hours of instruction and support to ensure quality
results" is important, and could also use further definition.
+ the repeated, and insistent emphasis on "direct and equitable
access" to all eligible providers. I am aware that in some states
(fortunately not mine) some kinds of providers do not have
equitable access to federal adult education funds now.
+ the specific inclusion of programs for the homeless,
workplace education programs and "other special services for
which funding has been eliminated" (which, I assume includes
+ the identification of $10 million "dedicated to foster the
increased use of technologies in adult basic education programs"
(this is a good beginning, but probably not enough money unless
it is matched by significant state, local and private funding)
and (in section 113) the required investment of not less that 2.5%
of the State's adult education basic grant for technology when the
appropriations exceed $450,000,000 (also a good beginning, but I
think a figure closer to 5-6% would be more realistic.)
+ the identification (section 108) of unions and businesses (among
others) as stakeholders with whom the State Director of Adult
Education must coordinate.
+ the requirement (section 108) that "the state education
agency shall develop the state plan for adult basic education
using a participatory planning process that is inclusive of all
public and private adult basic education stakeholders".
+ the call for a "unified and coordinated policy framework" for
policy, research & development (section 202)
1. It appears to me that this would allow programs to
serve adults who, although they may have a high school
diploma or GED, still "lack the educational foundation expected
of a high school graduate." If this interpretation is correct, I
think this allows us to serve an important -- and often
neglected -- population in need of services. Is this correct?
2. I wonder if the definition of "family literacy services" is too
narrow. It appears to focus only on parents and their children,
and perhaps only their youngest children. Could this be
broadened to include other adults in the family, at least other
adult care givers, and could it explicitly include children
3. I wonder why, (in section 107,) adult education services
provided in workplace contexts is called "workforce education"
not "workplace education." My understanding of the term
"workforce education" is broader than (but inclusive of)
What do other NLA members think of this bill? What are the
highlights for you? What are your questions?
David J. Rosen
<DJRosen at world.std.com>
More information about the Nla-nifl-archive