UPDATED: New Webinar Series for Advocates: Using PIAAC Data

(Updated 4/8/15 with date and registration information for Webinar 2)

This two-part webinar series, Framing Effective Advocacy Messages: Using PIAAC Data, will strengthen your ability to advocate for adult education using the most recent data on U.S. adults’ skills from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). Each webinar will combine a focused presentation on the research findings with a segment on effective messaging and a research-to-practice response by a local adult education advocate.

Webinar 1: Literacy, Numeracy, and Problem Solving

Friday, April 10, 2015, 3:00-4:30 pm ET

This webinar will provide a broad look at findings related to adult literacy, numeracy, and the ability to solve problems in technology-rich environments. Presenters:

  • Margaret Patterson, Research Allies for Lifelong Learning
  • Dan Rafter, Spitfire Strategies
  • Roberta Soolman, Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts


Webinar 2: Health Literacy Through the PIAAC Lens

Monday, May 4, 2015, 3:00-4:15 pm ET

This webinar will focus on the connection between adults’ skills and their health and health literacy. Presenters:

  • Goodling Institute / Penn State University representative
  • Dan Rafter, Spitfire Strategies
  • Allison Kokkoros, Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School


Made possible through the generous support of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

National Coalition for Literacy Urges Congress to Make Adult Education a 2016 Budget Priority

NCL 2016 Budget Letter - March 2015This week NCL sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to draft a budget resolution that supports adequate funding for adult education under Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). As noted in our letter, the federal investment in adult education state grants has been steadily declining in terms of real dollars since FY 2002. Unlike many other programs, adult education state grants did not have  its sequestered funds restored in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act. The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 included a $5 million increase, but that was $26 million less than the pre-sequestration level of $595 million.

In addition, we asked that the budget resolution provide the appropriations committees with the flexibility to consider full restoration of “ability-to-benefit” under the Pell grant program.

For more details, we encourage you to read the entire letter.

The congressional budget resolution establishes overall revenue and spending totals for a given fiscal year (in this case, for fiscal year 2016). It allocates spending among major government functions, set limits on discretionary spending programs, and establishes target levels for mandatory spending.

The House and Senate Budget Committees are drafting their two respective budget resolutions this month. They are not required to follow the President’s budget, but they often use it as their starting point.

National Coalition for Literacy Supporting Policy and Advocacy Strand at COABE 2015

(This post has been updated. See below.)

The National Coalition for Literacy is pleased to once again partner with the Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) on the Public Policy Advocacy Strand at the 2015 COABE Conference in Denver Colorado, April 21-24, 2015.

This year’s presentations and panels include:

Adult Education or Developmental Education? Issues in Moving Career Pathways forward under WIOA
WIOA has created an environment that encourages Adult Education and Community Colleges to work together. Many adult education programs and community colleges provide programs that successfully transition students to college and employment. Such transitions were given further support recently with the restoration of financial aid eligibility for adults without high school diplomas, under a rule known as “ability to benefit” (ATB), provided they are enrolled in a career pathway program. How can adult education programs and community college’s work together to help all students succeed? What are the challenges? What types of reform are occurring in higher education? Join us to find out.


  • Jim Hermes, Associate Vice President of Government Relations, American Association of Community Colleges
  • Jennifer Foster, Senior Director, Community College Board, Illinois
  • Reecie Stagnolia, Vice President for Adult Education, KY Council on Postsecondary Education
  • Casey Sacks, Ph.D., Grant Project Manager, Colorado Community College System

All Politics Are Local—Begin Advocacy Now
Adult education nonprofits, colleges, and often state agencies shy away from” advocacy.” This session will help a center put together an education plan that does not “lobby” but does educate your local elected officials for a long-term appreciation of adult education.

Presenter: Paulette Church, Fort Lewis College

Immigration Measures and their Potential Impact on the Adult Education System
From the DACA program for unauthorized immigrants who came to the US as children, to broader immigration executive actions by the President and bills before Congress, impacts of current and potential immigration measures on the adult education system are many. This session will provide a review of these measures and their likely impacts on adult education, ESOL, and community college programs that serve immigrants with diverse educational needs and goals.


  • Margie McHugh, Director National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, Migration Policy Institute
  • Jill Casner Lotto, Director, Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education

Champions of Advocacy: A 50 year perspective of adult education and workforce development
Session will provide background of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Activities to put advocacy practice into action will be presented. Valuable strategies and examples of national advocacy efforts will be highlighted.

Presenter: Marie Steinbacher, Shippensburg University and PAACE

Issues and Opportunities in Implementing WIOA
Join Adult Education State Directors to explore the issues and opportunities with the new legislation that provides for adult education: the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Adult Education State Directors from a variety of state offices will share issues and opportunities they see as they work to fully implement the new legislation by July 1, 2016.


  • Jennifer Foster, Senior Director, Community College Board, Illinois
  • Margaret Kirkpatrick, State Director, Adult Education and Family Literacy Services, Center for at-Risk Education
  • Reecie Stagnolia, Vice President for Adult Education, KY Council on Postsecondary Education
  • Patricia H. Tyler, Director of Adult Education and Literacy Services Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning, Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

The strand will also feature presentations by senior staff at the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education, including a keynote address from Acting Assistant Secretary Johan Uvin.

For schedule details, and to register for COABE, visit: http://www.coabe.org/conference2015.html.

UPDATE 3/10/15: Updated the “Issues and Opportunities in Implementing WIOA” panel description to reflect a change in the panel configuration.

NCL Joins With NDD United to Advocate for Eliminating Sequestration

In 2013, the Bipartisan Budget Act negotiated by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) provided partial, temporary relief from sequestration. Unfortunately full sequestration is due to return in 2016. In response, NDD United, an alliance of organizations working together to protect nondefense discretionary funding, has renewed its efforts to bring an end to sequestration.

On February 18th, the National Coalition for Literacy joined more than 2,100 nondefense discretionary (NDD) United organizations to urge Congress and President Obama to work together to end sequestration. This letter, co-signed by NCL, emphasizes (1) the importance of NDD programs, (2) the harmful effects of budget cuts to date, and (3) the equal importance of both defense and nondefense programs in America’s security at home and abroad, and thus the need for equal sequestration relief.

Cuts to date have had significant impacts on the lives of Americans as demonstrated in NDD United’s 2013 report “Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Make Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Secure.”

“Unless theses restraints on federal spending are loosened, it’s unlikely that even the marginal funding  increases authorized by the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) will ever see the light of day,” notes Jeff Carter, President of the National Coalition for Literacy.

Deficit reduction measures enacted since 2010 have come overwhelmingly from spending cuts. So far, Congress and the President have been unable to agree on a plan to replace the damaging cuts. As work begins on the 2016 budget, NCL will continue to press the Congress and the President to eliminate or replace sequestration.