The National Coalition for Literacy gathered on Capitol Hill last Thursday night to present the 2015 Literacy Leadership Awards, an annual tradition that recognizes individuals and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to improving adult literacy in the U.S. and raising public awareness of this critical issue.
This year we were pleased to honor the Honorable Phil Roe, U.S. Representative from Tennessee, for his leadership as the Republican co-chair of the House Adult Literacy Caucus; the Honorable Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia, for his efforts in raising awareness of adult literacy and expanding opportunities for adult learners in the city of Philadelphia; Kavitha Cardoza, Special Correspondent at WAMU, for her reporting on the adult literacy crisis facing communities across the country; and the Adult Numeracy Network (ANN), represented by board member Lynda Ginsberg, Senior Research Associate for Mathematics Education at the Center for Mathematics, Science, and Computer Education at Rutgers University. A special posthumous recognition award was presented to Mary Jane Schmitt, co-founder of ANN, who passed away earlier this year. (Read our press release.)
“I am honored to be recognized by the National Coalition for Literacy,” said Representative Roe, co-chair of the House Adult Literacy Caucus with Representative Rubén Hinojosa of Texas, who was an honoree in 2008. “Adult education is an important part of our economy, and it’s important to remember the contributions adult learners bring to our workforce and communities. I am proud to be recognized alongside individuals like Mayor Michael Nutter, Kavitha Cardoza and Mary Jane Schmitt, and I am glad our commitment to adult education extends past party lines.”
Mayor Nutter delivered remarks by video. “This Literacy Leadership Award means so much to me personally,” he said, “because I’ve been an advocate for adult learners during all of my time as mayor since 2008. One of my main priorities has been to raise educational attainment for all Philadelphians, which includes adults not in school. There is clearly a direct correlation between our city’s high poverty rate and the low adult literacy rate. Helping adult learners increase their literacy skills ultimately helps them support themselves and their families.” Watch the Mayor’s full remarks below:
Cardoza told the crowd that she felt compelled to begin reporting on adult literacy when she realized that her reporting on education was incomplete without it. “You can’t talk about education in the U.S, without talking about adult education,” she said.
Mary Jane Schmitt was involved with adult numeracy—the intersection of the adult education and mathematics education fields—for over thirty years. In 1994, she co-founded the Adult Numeracy Network (ANN). She also founded and directed the Adult Numeracy Center at TERC—a constellation of projects contributing to pioneering research and development in adult mathematics education.
Thanks to everyone who came out to the event and to our colleagues who helped put it together. Special thanks to Gabe Martinez, who took the wonderful pictures above, and to the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on Literacy for working with Mayor Nutter on the video.
Finally, a very special thanks to the Dollar General Literacy Foundation for their support for the awards.