NLA Info/Action: FFY2000 Appropriations Campaign
j.randall-lvagovrel at worldnet.att.net
Mon Mar 8 15:41:50 EST 1999
LVA Washington Update: March 8, 1999
National Coalition for Literacy Launches FFY 2000 Appropriations Campaign
for Adult Education and Family Literacy
The 28 Sustaining Members of the National Coalition for Literacy (NCL) have
agreed upon a single recommendation for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2000
appropriations for adult and family literacy programs. The NCL has developed
a comprehensive advocacy strategy to advance this recommendation. This
article will outline both the strategy and the recommendation. As co-chair
of the NCL's policy committee, I will be asking literacy supporters around
the country to do specific things at specific times. This Washington Update
recommends you take only one action at this time. The action to take now is
to invite your Representative and your Senators to visit a local literacy
program in their district or state. My next Washington Update will provide
suggestions for how to arrange such a visit.
FFY 2000 APPROPRIATIONS CAMPAIGN FOR ADULT EDUCATION AND FAMILY LITERACY
The NCL Policy Committee developed the following action plan for a
grassroots advocacy campaign to secure FFY 2000 appropriations increases for
adult education and family literacy programs. Many of these steps occur
To win the increases we seek, we will need the advocacy efforts of students,
volunteers, and staff in literacy programs around the country during the
next seven months. A lot of what we need to do must be done between now and
Memorial Day. It will involve impassioned and appropriately timed letters,
phone calls and visits. As I will outline below, the timing is right for a
huge increase. We stand a reasonable chance to get it if we speak with one
voice as we write, call and visit.
FFY 2000 Appropriations Campaign Action Steps:
1. Agree upon campaign action plan and consensus recommendation ... It took
the NCL's Policy Committee only a week to finalize the action plan. It took
the Coalition a full month to reach consensus on a recommendation we all
could support. We did though. Read more about it below.
2. Secure services of paid part-time advocate ... The NCL has agreed to hire
someone to assist model local adult education and family literacy programs
in key States and Congressional Districts to arrange visits by Senators and
Representatives to their literacy programs. These model programs will be
identified by NCL member organizations. Robbin Sorensen has been hired to do
this. A number of you will be hearing from Robbin in the coming weeks.
3. Organize targeted States and Congressional Districts ... We have targeted
the States and Congressional Districts of lawmakers who are on the House or
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for the Departments of Labor, HHS, and
Education for special attention by grassroots advocates in their State or
district. We have included the Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority
Leader and the ranking minority leaders for special attention too. You will
be hearing more about this in a future Washington Update.
4. Mobilize the grassroots of the entire literacy field for specific
portions of the campaign ... I will post Action Alerts to the NLA and NCL
listservs when specific actions are needed by the field. The State Directors
of Adult Education are working to identify advocacy network point-persons in
each state. We need to be able to mobilize the entire field and also
literacy supporters in specific States or Congressional Districts as needed.
5. Prepare handouts, sample letters and talking points ... I will coordinate
Coalition efforts to prepare materials and adapt them as needed during this
campaign. We will try to adapt them, as needed, during the campaign based on
feedback from grassroots advocates and Hill staffers.
6. Provide assistance, as needed, for related White House and OVAE events
... The White House and the Department of Education's Office of Vocational
and Adult Education are considering holding events this spring to signal the
importance of adult education and family literacy. The NCL will provide
assistance, as appropriate. The White House is looking for opportunities for
the President and Vice President to speak on this subject. They're looking
for opportunities to gather new support, not preach to the choir. All leads
are appreciated. Send suggestions to NIFL's Alice Johnson.
7. Compile impact data and success stories ... Fran Tracy-Mumford has agree
to spearhead the collection of impact data and concise success stories that
we all can use in advocacy efforts. This data and the success stories will
be posted to the NCL's web site and made available via the NLA list and
disseminated by Coalition member organizations.
8. Submit written testimony to House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees
... Representatives of the NCL member organizations have agreed to draft
specific sections of testimony for the House and Senate Appropriations
Subcommittees. I will compile them into a single document and shoot it back
out to the Coalition for edit. A single document of written testimony on
behalf of the 28 Sustaining Members in the NCL sends appropriators a
9. Provide assistance for House and Senate "Dear Colleague letters" ... As I
write, we are working to identify key leaders on both sides of the aisle to
be the lead sponsors of House and Senate "Dear Colleague letters." Once
identified, I will ask grassroots advocates to push to get our
Representatives and Senators to become cosigners. These letters from all who
agree to sign on will ask the Appropriations Subcommittee to support funding
increases for adult education and family literacy.
10. Develop and implement feedback and follow-up system ... Each
organization will solicit feedback from its members and funnel that to me.
We need feedback on who to count as a supporter, who is on the fence and who
to give up on. We need feedback on our advocacy arguments: What questions
are being asked that we didn't anticipate; what points are pushing the right
buttons; and what's pushing the wrong buttons or no buttons at all? For this
campaign to be successful, we must have this information and act on it.
RECOMMENDATION FOR FFY 2000 APPROPRIATIONS FOR ADULT EDUCATION AND FAMILY
Here is the carefully crafted official NCL Position re: the FFY 2000
Appropriation for Literacy. These provisions, both in their concept and in
their exact wording have been carefully crafted to win acceptance from all
NCL member constituencies, i.e., the whole literacy field. No one in the
field is expected to strongly support all the provisions in this
recommendation. However, the NCL hopes that everyone in the field can find
parts they strongly support and can live with the rest.
It took the NCL a full month to reach consensus. Achieving consensus among
as diverse a membership as the National Coalition for Literacy can be very
complicated and frustrating at times. In the end, we did achieve that
consensus though because we all knew how important it is to speak with one
voice. The success our field has achieved on Capitol Hill is due, to a great
extent, to our commitment all to advocate for the same thing - to speak with
one voice. Through the NCL, the literacy field resolved differences
internally and adopted the following consensus position. This is critically
important because on Capitol Hill, opposing views on any issue cancel each
other out. By speaking with one voice, policy-makers hear our views clearly.
Speaking with one voice means that we all agree to support all the
provisions of the recommendation. However, speaking with one voice doesn't
mean you have to give all parts of the NCL's recommendation equal weight in
your letters, calls and visits to lawmakers and their staff members.
Advocate for those parts you believe in most strongly. Discuss the parts you
strongly support as part of the whole recommendation by a coalition made up
of the leading national organizations in the field of adult education and
family literacy that is speaking with one voice on this matter.
Here is the official NCL Position re: the FFY 2000 Appropriation for Adult
Education and Family Literacy ...
"The National Coalition for Literacy strongly recommends that Congress
appropriate the following for FFY 2000:
1. Adult Education and Family Literacy Act State Grant Program ... $568
million to achieve core indicators of performance mandated by Section 212 of
the Act and as a critical step toward a five-year goal of $1 billion for the
state grant program. Based on the needs in each state, funds will be used to
(a) The number of instructional hours per student
(b) The number of full time teachers
(c) The number of computer stations available at adult education centers
(d) The amount of child care and counseling services offered by adult
education and family literacy programs
(e) The capacity of programs serving adults functioning at the lowest
literacy level, NALS Level 1, especially the capacity of volunteer literacy,
private not-for-profit, family literacy and library literacy programs
(f) Access to high-quality English language instruction linked to practical
instruction in civics and life skills
2 Adult Education and Family Literacy Act National Leadership Activities ..
$116 million to build infrastructure and improve program capacity. Funds
will be used to:
(a) Assist states to provide high-quality instruction, especially English
language instruction linked to civics and life skills
(b) Increase adult learners' access to technology, including, but not
limited to, public/private partnerships
(c) Enable communities to measure progress toward improving literacy and
lifelong learning and assess whether or not individuals have the literacy
skills needed for available jobs in the community
(d) Enable system-wide improvement of program effectiveness and outcomes
measurement by national networks of programs that serve the lowest level
learner, especially volunteer literacy, private not-for-profit, family
literacy and library literacy programs and coalitions
3. The National Institute for Literacy ... $7M to help literacy programs
improve quality, build capacity and integrate technology into adult learning
In addition, the National Coalition for Literacy strongly recommends that
Congress appropriate for FFY 2000 the following child and family literacy
1. Even Start...$145 million for early childhood education, parenting
instruction, and adult education
2. Reading Excellence Act...$286 million for child and family literacy
(end of recommendation)
You may notice that the NCL recommendation looks somewhat like the request
made by the President in his FFY 2000 Budget Proposal. This similarity is
intentional. The President's request for adult education and family literacy
was not rejected out of hand by Republican lawmakers, as is usually the
case. Representative William Goodling, Education and Economic Opportunities
Committee chairman, and Senator Peter Domenici, Budget Committee chairman
both spoke favorably about increases of this magnitude for education
programs. We hope the NCL's recommendation will enjoy support from the
Administration and both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill.
There are four key differences between the NCL recommendation and the
President's budget request:
1. Under the state grant provision, the Coalition recommends items (e) and
(f) in addition to (a) through (d) recommended by the President. The NCL has
added and additional $100M to the President's request for the State Grants.
2. Also under the state grant provision, the Coalition recommends measuring
success using the Core Indicators of Performance mandated in the Adult
Education and Family Literacy Act. The President's request included
numerical goals for items (a) through (d) which would establish another set
of performance measures on top of those required in the legislation. The NCL
asserts that it is impractical to have dual performance measurement systems.
3. Under the National Leadership Activities, the Coalition recommends item
(d) in addition to (a) through (c) recommended by the President. The NCL has
added an additional $15M to the President's request for National Leadership
4. The Coalition also recommends $1M more than the President's requested for
the National Institute for Literacy.
Here are the numbers ...
Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, State Grants ...
FFY 1999 actual appropriation ... $365 million
President's FFY 2000 request ... $468 million
NCL FFY 2000 recommendation ... $568 million
Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, National Leadership Activities ...
FFY 1999 actual appropriation ... $14 million
President's FFY 2000 request ... $101 million
NCL FFY 2000 recommendation ... $116 million
National Institute for Literacy ...
FFY 1999 actual appropriation ... $6 million
President's FFY 2000 request ... $6 million
NCL FFY 2000 recommendation ... $7 million
Even Start ...
FFY 1999 actual appropriation ... $135 million
President's FFY 2000 request ... $145 million
NCL FFY 2000 recommendation ... $145 million
Reading Excellence Act ...
FFY 1999 actual appropriation ... $260 million
President's FFY 2000 request ... $286 million
NCL FFY 2000 recommendation ... $286 million
The time is right for the literacy field to secure a significant funding
increase. The President has requested one. U.S. opinion polls indicate that
the public favors spending more for education. The Democrats and Republicans
may engage in a bidding war to demonstrate which party supports education
more. Our nation enjoys a budget surplus. The jury is still out on how that
surplus will be spent. Most plans being considered call for some spending
increases. We must be at the table making the case for an increase for adult
education and family literacy.
The picture is not all rosy. There are budget caps in place that prevent
such spending increases. Mr. Porter's Appropriations Subcommittee may wait
hoping the House Budget Committee will raise the caps. However, the Budget
Committee may not have time to increase the caps before the Appropriations
Subcommittee must finalize its numbers. If that should happen, our hope will
rest with the Senate. We must push hard in the House first though. Even if
they are procedurally unable to pass spending increases in the House, we
must lay the groundwork for House support for increases passed by the Senate
when the spending bills go to conference committee.
What to do with the budget surplus and whether or not to raise the spending
caps are huge macro-economic issues that are best addressed by economists
and policy-makers. All we can do is speak with one voice in advocating for
an increase and watch the news for word on these big picture issues. We must
act now and not wait until the big picture becomes clear. When it does, the
little pieces will fall into place quickly. We must work now to make an
increase for adult education and family literacy one of those little pieces
that falls into place. It's a gamble with a huge potential payoff.
LET'S GO TO WORK!
Director of Government Relations
Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc.
8413 Park Crest Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20910-5404
Office: (301) 588-5304 Fax: (301) 588-5353
jrandall at literacyvolunteers.org
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