NLA Discussion: Teenagers in ABE
AndresM at epcc.edu
Wed Nov 10 12:47:15 EST 1999
I am glad that you bring this up. African Americans have very low educational attainments compared to other ethnic groups. Socio-cultural background and socio-economic conditions have an impact on educational attainment, and sociocultural understanding of potential participants also has a tremendous impact on success. Yet, when talking about adult literacy we rarely focus on these facts to explore ways to improve adult ed. Yet, researchers continue to find that considering these factors is not only important but essential in improving education in this country.
A while back I was a reader of literacy grant proposals . This competition found universities asking for monies to conduct research on the state of adult literacy. The proposals made almost no reference to the multiple research on sociology and anthropology that shows the impact of economy and culture on educational attainment, nor anyone proposed to conduct research on this. Furthermore, most researchers were white.
This is one of the first times that I see the word "African American" in this listserve.
>>> <rkrawiec at mindspring.com> 11/09 11:12 pm >>>
I have no hard statistics, but I can say that I rarely see African-American
or white men sign up for adult ed programs unless it's a mandatory shelter
program, classes related to drug recovery issues, or a program that is seen
as leading directly to a job. When I talk to men on the street, trying to
recruit, I get the same response - 'I'm too old for education." I get this
from men who are 25, 35, 45, and up.
The bigger issue being ignored in this discussion is why education isn't
valued in and of itself. And along with that, why is there little real
discussion among adult educators as to the 'purpose' of education.
Maybe men aren't coming to our classes because we haven't defined this
'purpose' in any meaningful way. Are programs spending so much time chasing
grant money, and adapting their programs to fulfill the needs of funders,
that they are no longer capable of defining the value of education?
From: Coleman, Preston <pcoleman at dtae.org>
To: nla at world.std.com <nla at world.std.com>
Date: Tuesday, November 09, 1999 1:16 PM
Subject: NLA Discussion: Teenagers in ABE
>I work in the state of Georgia's Office of Adult Literacy in
>Atlanta, and I handle a lot of the statistical data concerning adult
>education programs. Across the state, 16-18 year old black and white males
>are far more likely to attend adult ed programs than 16-18 year old black
>and white females. 19-24 year old black and white males are slightly more
>likely to attend adult ed programs than 19-24 year old black and white
>females. After age 25, black and white females are far more likely to
>attend adult ed than black and white males, and this continues right past
>I don't have any evidence to explain this difference, but I suspect that
>it's primarily cultural. For example, among Asians, females are more
>to attend adult ed at all age levels except 60 and over, where males and
>females are equally represented. Among Hispanics, males are more likely to
>attend adult ed up to age 45, after which females are more likely to
>I can't say precisely how different cultures or subcultures might account
>for the differences, but it seems clear that there are sex-based
>circumstances and expectations that influence who drops out of high school
>and who attends adult ed programs.
>Do other states or regions experience similar patterns of attendance based
>on age, race, and sex? And does anyone have a theory that might explain
>Preston Coleman, Ph.D.
>Georgia Dept. of Technical and Adult Education
>1800 Century Place, N.E., Suite 400
>Atlanta, GA 30345-4304
>pcoleman at dtae.org
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Sally McIntosh [SMTP:grandeur at corinthian.net]
>> Sent: Tuesday, November 09, 1999 7:50 AM
>> To: nla at world.std.com
>> Subject: NLA Discussion: Teenagers in ABE
>> I find the majority of the teens who come into my program are truthfully
>> seeking a continuation of their education. Many had some discipline
>> problems in high school, but feel the circumstances were out of their
>> control. The remainder are "good" students who cannot work in the
>> disruptive environment of the present day high school. For the most part,
>> these youth learn quickly, and will work for 4 hours straight without a
>> break, very much in the same manner as their older adult ed classmates.
>> course, if you are the kind of instructor who needs a quiet classroom,
>> these young people will add some noise. My classes have a consistent 60%
>> under 21 ratio to the 40% over 21 age. The classes are all day, five
>> per week. By the way, I'd like to ask about the difference in the sexes
>> classes. Almost all youth are male, with a few female who try half
>> heartedly. I have a few theories, but no hard research on the social
>> pressures and economic issues that cause this imbalance. I teach full
>> in a small, rural, economically depressed county in Georgia.
>> Sally McIntosh
>> Marshallville (Macon County) Georgia
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