NLA Answer from Andy: welfare reform
Janet_Isserlis at Brown.edu
Tue Jun 23 16:05:15 EDT 1998
Andy and all,
I'll try to clarify what I mean by rights:
[Andy Hartman wrote:]
> In terms of "rights," I guess I am not sure what you mean by that
> term. I think it is not good that certain types of training/education
> are being ruled out because of either real or imagined legal
> prohibitions. On the other hand, many welfare recipients were sent to
> adult education programs under the JOBS programs and we know from
> evaluations that there was not much progress in terms of learning
> gains or employment/earnings. So, going back to some "good old days"
> should not be an option, in my opinion.
I'm not correlating learners' rights to have a say in the programs in which
they participate, necessarily, with measurable outcomes. I understand that
measurable outcomes are the standards by which programs are judged and
often (re)funded. What I am trying to describe is what I feel to be a
clear need amongst learners to have access to educational opportunities and
I see it as the responsibility of this field to advocate for access to
education and not conscription into training.
For some learners, training programs are helpful, and useful ways into
subsidized employment. But for many they are not. Adults who were unable
to complete high school for a range of reasons, I believe, DO have rights
to access to education.
I am not arguing for a return to programs that don't work, but rather
wondering if there are things to be learned from the work of Deborah
D'Amico and others in terms of constructing and implementing programs that
Hope this clarifies my position.
and, in response to this:
> I guess this gets to your "suitable" program issue. Under JOBS, who
> was deciding what was suitable? Certainly not the adult who was
> referred to the literacy program. Having to do specific things in
> order to receive government money, I don't have a problem with, so
> long as they are appropriate to the goal of becoming self sufficient.
> If unsuitable services for this goal are pushed on people -- either by
> the welfare agency or the literacy program -- I think they are both
- While understanding NIFL's fine line between lobbying and not lobbying,
is there not a place for NIFL and others to advocate that suitability needs
to be examined from the perspectives of both participants in and designers
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