NLA Info -- "Changing of the guard"
bpeters at Logical.Net
Wed Nov 5 06:36:12 EST 1997
As all of the accolades are pouring in singing the praises of Bob
Bickerton, I just wanted to add our gratitude and appreciation for his
tireless efforts at the national level on behalf of adult learners. New
York State has certainly enjoyed the fruits of his labor, as have adult
learners around the country. I know that Garrett Murphy worked closely with
you, and my own mentors, Jack Mezirow, Stephen Brookfield, and others at
Teachers College' adult education programs spoke highly of Bob's dedication
and commitment to adult learners,
and legislation, policy, etc., which had/has a great impact on them. We all
wish you well, and thank you sincerely for that dedication "to the cause".
<bpeters at Logical.Net>
At 07:58 AM 11/5/97 EST, you wrote:
>As the chair of the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education
>at the time that Bob Bickerton graciously agreed to assume the role as
>Legislative Chair of the National Council, I must share with you the debt
>of gratitude that I feel and express from the National Council of State
>Directors and the Field as a whole for the job that Bob undertook on behalf
>of all Adult Learners. Bob worked tirelessly -- from sun-up to beyond
>year after year to affect change and to secure legislation that would
>opportunities for adult learners. Working side by side with him for at
>six years, I know the scope and magnitude of the effort he put forth. A
>thank you seems totally inadequate for all that he has done and I know will
>continue to do.
>Thank you, Bob on behalf of the field.
><ftracy-mumf at state.de.us>
>- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Original Message - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
>From: rbickerton at doe.mass.edu (Robert P Bickerton)
>Subject: NLA Info -- "Changing of the guard"
>Date: Wed Dec 31 19:00:00 1969
> Dear friends and colleagues:
> For the past four years I have had the exciting, challenging,
> rewarding -- and thanks to all of you -- productive role of
> legislative chair for both the state directors of adult education
> (NCSDAE) and AAACE. I have had the joy of working closely with Jon
> Randall (LVA), Bill Raleigh (LLA) and dozens of others on the national
> scene through the National Coalition for Literacy on matters of
> policy, funding and legislation. We've negotiated hard, struggled to
> hear as well as we talk, and managed to achieve a level of agreement
> and "common ground" that amazed us all. And most important, we've
> been able to work with many smart, dedicated, caring and supportive
> members of Congress and their equally talented staff (and with some
> who may not quite fit this bill,but whose support we needed and often
> won!) on behalf of adult education. And to a remarkable extent, we've
> been able to deliver to those who make this difficult field their
> mission in life and to the millions of under-educated and limited
> English proficient adults who deserve the very best from us and from
> our nation -- a better public policy, legislative and funding
> foundation than we thought possible in the current environment, and in
> some ways, better than we've had in the past.
> So it's with regret that I've decided it's time to move on and make
> room for (a) new legislative chair(s). Our work in Massachusetts is
> moving ahead so rapidly (and so well!) that I'm finding I no longer
> can make enough time to do the legislative chair's work the way it
> deserves and must be done -- often, with extreme rapidity since in
> policy and legislation, the key to success is often "timing, timing
> and timing." It can be pretty demanding, sometimes frustrating,
> doesn't pay a dime and sometimes requires more out of pocket expenses
> than anyone will tell you in advance, but it's also an opportunity to
> work with some of the most dedicated and talented people you'll ever
> meet -- and as we've seen, when we really, REALLY get our act
> together, you can get quite a kick out of how successful this all can
> I'll continue to contribute to this work at both the national and
> state levels (and I'll continue to serve on our national policy/
> legislative committees) -- I'm encouraging all of you to do the same.
> The fact is, most of adult education is working with a relatively poor
> and disenfranchised constituency. The net result is that most elected
> officials and policy leaders have not recognized these many people as
> a constituency at all. Our work has been to use grass roots
> organizing to make sure that we -- adult education students and
> practitioners -- ARE, in fact, recognized as a powerful constituency
> that is ready and able to move our common vision and agenda forward.
> Along the way we have cultivated many supporters and even "champions"
> in "high places," but we can NEVER depend on this for long to
> accomplish and sustain what needs to be done. Adult educators must
> recognize that a key part of every one of our job descriptions is that
> we must be a life long advocate and that poor and disenfranchised
> adults must be as well if they are to successfully use their newly
> acquired skills and abilities to achieve their own goals and
> Strategically, our success has also been built on the following:
> * the commitment of ALL major ABE/Literacy constituencies to
> agree to a "common vision" for ABE/Literacy/ESOL and to
> policy and advocacy has vastly increased our ability to SPEAK
> VOICE -- essential in a Congress that can too easily be
> even small differences in the message(s) we need to deliver.
> The joint sponsorship of the legislative chair by AAACE and the state
> directors of adult education helped bring all of the ABE/Literacy
> constituencies together under the banner of the National Coalition for
> Literacy. The high level of respect and trust that has been forged and
> the continued commitment to "speaking with one voice" must continue.
> Lobbyists can also bring important additional assets to our work,
> we can never overstate the impact of any lobbyist or lull ourselves
> thinking they can get the work done for us.
> MOST OF ALL, IT'S YOUR BELIEF THAT WHAT WE DO IS VITALLY IMPORTANT,
> BELIEF THAT OUR STUDENTS AND OUR FIELD DESERVE BETTER SUPPORT, AND YOUR
> COMMITMENT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT THAT HAS MADE US AND WILL
> MAKE US SUCCESSFUL.
> Anyway, I'm starting to ramble -- but it's proving hard to let go. So
> thanks once again for the opportunity to serve in this role for so long
> and for all the hard work everyone's done to make it so damn
> bob bickerton,
> MA Director of Adult Education and (until next week),
> legislative chair for NCSDAE and legislative co-chair for AAACE
> rbickerton at doe.mass.edu
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