National Coalition For Literacy Calls for Omnibus Appropriations Bill

This week NCL sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to approve an omnibus appropriations bill before the end of the calendar year, rather than passing a continuing resolution based on FY 2014 levels that inadequately supports adult education (along with many other important programs). In addition, the letter calls for an increase in funding for Adult Education to at least the $609 million level proposed in the Labor-HHS-Education bill released by Representative Rosa DeLauro in September; urges restoration of the “ability-to-benefit” provision under the Pell grant program; and endorses a call by the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce to provide at least $250 million in WIOA implementation funding.

You can read the entire letter here.

You can help! Contact your members of Congress urging them to enact an omnibus appropriations bill, with an increase in adult education funding, as soon as possible.

Coalition Announces New Board Members and Officers

The National Coalition for Literacy welcomed four new members to the organization’s Board of Directors in September: Jean Fleming, representing the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE); Silja Kallenbach of World Education; Deborah Kennedy of the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL); and Amy Schmitz of ProLiteracy.

Jean Fleming will serve as AAACE’s president for 2014-2015. She has over 30 years of experience in adult, community, and higher education, including positions in adult basic education, in workforce oriented community based organizations, and as a faculty member and advisor in higher education.

Deborah Kennedy, Associate Vice President for Adult English Language Education at CAL, leads CAL’s programs and activities in English language acquisition for adults from ABE/ESL to business and professional English. A specialist in English for specific purposes, she has extensive experience in designing, developing, conducting, and evaluating workplace communication skills programs and professional development courses for adult educators.

Silja Kallenbach, Vice President of World Education’s U.S. Division, has more than 30 years of experience as an administrator, professional development provider, program developer, researcher, and teacher. Silja is the author of numerous reports and articles that bring the lessons of her diverse project work to the field.

Amy Schmitz is the Director of Marketing and Communications at ProLiteracy, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing adult literacy and basic education. Her work focuses on rebranding and strategic communications; developing advocacy and public policy messaging; and developing and disseminating unified messages and priorities, including the organization’s social media strategy.

The new board members were installed as of September 11, 2014, and will serve three-year terms.

In addition, the Board of Directors elected new officers at its September board meeting. Jeff Carter, Director of Adult Education Initiatives at Digital Promise, was elected President. Jeff Fantine, representing COABE, was elected Vice President. In addition, former NCL President Marty Finsterbusch of VALUE and Margaret Patterson, Senior Researcher at Research Allies for Lifelong Learning (R-Ally), were elected Treasurer and Secretary respectively.

Board members whose terms expired in September include Marcie Foster of CLASP; Jane Hugo of ProLiteracy; Geri Mulligan, recently retired Director of the Center for Literacy, Education and Employment at the University of Tennessee; and John Segota of TESOL.

“Serving on an active, hands-on board like this one requires dedication, time, and a genuine commitment to the idea that working together across organizations makes our field stronger and better,” noted incoming NCL President Jeff Carter. “Our members are incredibly grateful for their service. In particular, we are deeply appreciative of Marty Finsterbusch’s willingness to step in and serve as President of the Board for multiple terms. Without his dedication we wouldn’t be in the position of strength we are in today.”

Carter continued: “I’m looking forward to working with the new members of the board, who bring with them a unique set of talents and a fresh perspective. I know that their service will provide tremendous benefits to our board and to the coalition as a whole.”

 

AEFL Week Wrap-up

Now that Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2014 has drawn to a close, we wanted to highlight a few more of last week’s activities from around the country:

Hacienda La Puente School District (CA) celebrated “this important week by [giving] books to children and having their parents read to them. For many of our students, this event is one of a very few opportunities they actually get to sit and read with a parent.”

To raise awareness “of the continued need for adult education in the local communities” during AEFL week, Kishwaukee College [IL] Vice President Dr. Mark Lanting shared his personal experience with adult education: “The road has been long and challenging from dropping out of high school, to getting my GED, all the way to getting my Ed.D. However, I am convinced that with determination, motivation, and vision, anyone can transcend difficulties and challenges in order to reach whatever goals one sets.”

Bowie-Cass Adult Education Cooperative (LA) celebrated AEFL Week in a September 26 special event recognizing “the national celebration of adult education and family literacy programs and the achievements of adult literacy students.”

In an earlier blog we wrote about the ongoing Literacy Bag Challenge (remember the ice bucket challenge?), which involves challenging a colleague to fill a bag full of literacy supplies. The Literacy Bag Challenge has caught on in MD: in this photo NCL associate member Heather Ritchie of MCAEL, who is also president of the Maryland professional association MAACCE, presented her literacy bag to Teddy Gusman, the ESOL coordinator at Greater Homewood Community Corporation in Baltimore.

Heather and Teddy LitBag

“In an effort to highlight the importance of increasing literacy” locally, county commissioners voted to “proclaim Sept. 22 to 28 as National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week in Bradford County” [PA]. The “newly hired coordinator of the Bradford-Wyoming Counties Literacy Program” pledged during AEFL Week to grow the program. According to its news release, the program “is conducting fundraisers, seeking grant money and donations, and doing anything else it can to find money to sustain and grow the program.”

Thank you for sharing your ideas.  We invite you to keep checking our NCL blog for news and updates from the Coalition. You can also visit our Facebook page or follow us @NCLAdvocacy and #AEFLWeek on Twitter for the latest.

AEFL Week Celebrations Continue…

As Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2014 progresses, NCL’s inbox is filling with celebration news and ideas. More of your ideas follow:

NCL member World Education offers a new tech tip lesson in honor of AEFL Week. This Online Advocacy Activity comes from the Tech Tips for Teachers blog by World Education.

In celebration of AEFL Week, Phoenix Indian Center Adult Literacy (AZ) students will present a family biography. Students will interview a family member and include questions about their life. A simple narrative will be written for display. Some examples of display include poster board, tri-fold boards, Powerpoint, digital videos, photographs, and handouts. Students will present their family biography today to current students and staff at the Phoenix Indian Center. This event gives students a chance to share the customs and traditions of their family, while incorporating literacy and technology into the activities. Each student will be recognized with a “Thumbs Up” trophy and a “Certificate of Achievement” award.

Greenup KY graphicKentucky’s governor has designated Sept. 22-28 as Kentucky Adult Education Week. To raise awareness of adult literacy, Greenup County Adult Education (KY) activities include a 5K race, displays at local public libraries and a Book-It Challenge that calls for adults to submit a photo of themselves reading to a child.

Lima (OH) is spotlighting adult education and literacy by “putting a focus on reading, writing, and basic math… This week is being used to highlight the educational struggle throughout the country and in the community.A local Fox News clip spotlights both AEFL week, the NW Ohio Literacy Center, and the Lima Adult Learning Center.

Don’t stop now! Continue to send your AEFL week ideas to: ncl@ncladvocacy.org. We will keep posting them on our NCL blog between now and the end of September. You can also visit and post ideas and photos on our Facebook page.

Welcome to the New NCL Website!

Thank you for visiting us! In celebration of AEFL Week 2014, the National Coalition for Literacy is pleased to announce our transition to a new  website. You can now find all of our AEFL Week blogs, and much more, at http://national-coalition-literacy.org/category/aefl-week/.

Our newly streamlined site has been re-designed to help you access information about adult education advocacy quickly. The new site will also allow us to post more frequent updates and to refresh content more regularly. Plans to phase in materials from our former site, as well as new information, are in the works. Thank you for your patience during this transition. Enjoy the new site!

Press Release: Adult Education and Family Literacy Week

AEFL2014 Press Release

For the sixth consecutive year, the National Coalition for Literacy (NCL) has asked Members of Congress to declare this week National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. Resolutions introduced by Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) in the House of Representatives and by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) in the Senate were approved by the House and Senate on September 19th.

The week is declared to recognize and celebrate the contributions of adult education, English language, and family literacy programs and the achievements of adult education students across the country.

Adult Education and Family LIteracy Week Has Arrived!

AEFL Week GraphicWelcome to Adult Education and Family Literacy week! To help launch the week, the National Coalition for Literacy is pleased to announce two new PIAAC fact sheets: Bridging the Digital Divide and an Informed Citizenry. These factsheets supply useful facts on the theme Investing in Adult Education PAYS! from PIAAC data and other recent research.

According to the Bridging the Digital Divide factsheet, many adults around the world have fallen into the digital divide. PIAAC findings indicate that “in most countries, significant shares of adults have trouble using digital technology, communication tools and networks to acquire and evaluate information, communicate with others and perform practical tasks. Across participating countries, from 7% to 27% of adults report having no experience in using computers or lack the most elementary computer skills, such as the ability to use a mouse.”

The factsheet For An Informed Citizenry focuses on political efficacy. “The launch of the OECD Survey of Adults Skills (PIAAC) results should be seen as a wake-up call for action for policy and decision makers”, wrote Motschilnig. While many US adults struggle with becoming informed citizens, OECD Secretary Gurria remarked, “The good news is that there are very few countries in the world that are able to make better use of their citizens’ skills than the United States.”

Thanks to your contributions, NCL is excited to celebrate how adults and their families learn. More of your ideas follow:

Pima Community College (AZ) has a full week of AEFL Week activities ahead, including high school equivalency orientations, family fun reading events, student success stories, and voter registration events.

One of our contributors from Maryland writes that she plans “to shamelessly steal from the Ice Bucket challenge by challenging people to fill a Literacy Bag (a shopping bag with usual school supplies, etc.) for a local adult literacy center and/or donate to a local adult literacy center. My bag is filled with a 3 ring binder, paper, a GED calculator, ruler, folder, individual whiteboard, whiteboard markers, dictionary, pencils, erasers, and a flash drive!” Who is up for the challenge?

Also in Maryland, the Maryland Association for Adult Community and Continuing Education (MAACCE) is joining with the NCL member Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy (MCAEL) to pilot “a green literacy wristband campaign to increase awareness of literacy in Maryland.  Programs will be sending pictures of staff, instructors and adult learners showing off their green” for their Facebook page all week. “Join MCAEL and wear green!”

The September 18 OCTAE Connection urges its readers to celebrate AEFL Week and writes, “Adult education is a key rung on the ladder of opportunity, and is critical to building a globally competitive workforce for the 21st century.  Individuals with more education are more likely to get and keep jobs, lift themselves out of poverty, incur lower health care costs, increase their children’s success in school, and be engaged citizens.”

Lewis and Clark Community College (IL) will be honoring AEFL Week via sharing student experiences and hosting a Celebration Open House Thursday, Sept. 25. A state representative and the college president are slated to speak. Also in Illinois, Rock Valley College Adult Education will host a family reading night Sept. 26 in honor of National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week.

California’s governor has proclaimed September Adult Literacy Awareness Month, and  the state’s “public libraries are hosting events this month to address the very serious issue of low adult literacy as part of a statewide awareness campaign called ‘Together, California Reads.’ It’s an effort to spotlight inspirational adult learners and the trained volunteer tutors who change lives forever by sharing the gift of reading through free, one-on-one and group sessions at more than 500 local public libraries.”

Don’t stop now! Continue to send your AEFL week ideas to: ncl@ncladvocacy.org. We will keep posting them here between now and the end of September. You can also visit and post ideas and photos on our Facebook page.