NLA Discussion: A Thorny Issue
alzbec at interaccess.com
Fri Oct 17 13:12:49 EDT 1997
Regarding David Rosen's posting:
In some cases public/private partnerships can work. Some businesses are
willing to pay generously for customized classes for their employees.
These funds can be used to pay teachers well, especially when in
partnership with government programs. Other businesses, however, are not
willing to pay anything. If their workers want to study, they must
depend on government subsidized classes in or near their communities or
in some cases private classes. Also, partnerships with other government
subsidized institutions such as libraries and public schools can
leverage funding. But none of this means that sheer determination on
the part of administrators will open up sources of sufficient revenue
within our current funding levels.
It is important that innovative funding ideas be shared, but we must
acknowledge that raising money, especially for community-based programs,
is not an easy task. I belive government support is essential.
I think your idea of limiting services while concurrently organizing
students to demand more classes is a good model. However, it will only
work if there is a comprehensive organizing effort with wide support.
This is not an easy task for overworked adult education workers and
potential students who may require support to stand up for themselves.
We need to hear about states that were successful on both fronts.
An additional barrier in Illinois is that legislation currently
prohibits community-based organizations from receiving state adult
education funds, only LEAs can receive such funds. There have been
several unsuccessful attempts to change this legislation, continuing to
divide educators at CBOs from those at LEAs.
<alzbec at interaccess.com>
David J Rosen wrote:
> NLA Colleagues,
> I think the discussion on salaries and benefits for adult literacy workers
> is getting at some important issues. I also hope we can hear more
> from teachers for whom salaries and benefits are _not_ a problem. (Are
> there any, you may ask?)
> To begin, I was talking with a colleague a couple of days ago, a talented
> teacher and curriculum writer who has chosen to remain an adult education
> teacher for many years even though that has meant having at times to be
> ridiculously underpaid, and always uncertain about how long any of the
> grant-funded teaching positions he has held might last. He told me that
> he finally has a teaching position where he is paid at a level which is
> comparable to someone with his number of years of experience in the K-12
> He's teaching in a new workplace education program, one supported
> by private and public funds. I think this is important for many reasons.
> First, it shows that we _can_ pay adult education teachers fair salaries
> and wages if, when we design new programs, we are _determined_ to do so.
> And it suggests that one answer may be more public/private partnerships
> because some companies _expect_ to pay good education workers what they
> are worth. If there are enough programs which pay fair salaries I think it
> may change the market and more programs will then have to pay decent
> salaries in order to get qualified teachers.
> Teacher salaries versus the number of students who can be served has come
> up in this discussion. I would like to weigh in on the side of limiting
> the number of students who can be served. Our experience in Massachusetts
> has shown us that we will be able to serve more students -- and serve them
> better -- if we _limit_ the number of students. A contradiction? No.
> Here's the way it works. Reduce the number of openings for students so
> that although you can serve fewer people you serve them better
> (more service intensity, more program and staff development support, more
> student access to technology, serious investment in curriculum
> development...and more reasonable teacher salaries.) This results, of
> course, in waiting lists. Because there are fewer openings, but also
> because as programs improve, there will be higher demand for their more
> effective services. Waiting lists are an important part of an advocacy
> campaign to bring to the attention of legislators the pressing demand
> for adult literacy education services. If there is no demonstrable demand
> (not just need, but people pounding at the door who want classes) there
> will only be small or no increases in resources. When there is demand,
> and when constituents are pounding at legislators' doors, too, resources
> flow to meet the needs. Granted, it's not quite that simple. It requires
> a lot of hard organizing work. And it doesn't happen overnight. But
> waiting lists _are_ an important ingredient. Especially if people on
> waiting lists routinely send postcards to their state and federal
> legislators informing them of how long they have to wait to enroll in
> David J. Rosen
> <DJRosen at world.std.com>
Phone: (773) 267-0746
Fax (773) 478-5091
E-mail alzbec at interaccess.com
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