News, Views, and Clues 


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NTI Resources

small line NTI Support Building Resources
small line THE PRESIDENT’S 2007 BUDGET
small line A Sticht Must-Read

small line Laura Bush on Adult Education
small line Student Recruitment Resources

small line Foreign Born in the Labor Force

small line Adult-Ed Programs Inadequate
small line Workplace Ed Professional Developments


NTI Resources

February 6, 2006

The National Training Institute resources for Professional Development and Special Learning Needs are on the Consortium web site at:

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NTI Support Building Resources

February 6, 2006

The NTI resources for Building State Support are on the Council website at:


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February 7, 2006

On Monday, February 6, 2006, the President unveiled his proposed 2007 Budget proposal for the Department of Education (DOE). It contained some good news and some bad news for adult education and family literacy programs.

On the plus side, adult education was level funded. On the minus side, they have once again proposed to zero out Even Start.

Below are the funding amounts for adult education.

Basic grants - $ 563,975 million
National Leadership - 9,005 million
NIFL 6,572 million

TOTAL $ 579,552 million

The DOE Budget Summary indicated this funding level would assist states in meeting a significant and ongoing need for adult education services and noted the continued high rate of high school dropouts and the growing numbers of adult immigrants generate high demand for adult education services.

In zeroing out Even Start, the Summary stated, “Three separate national evaluations of the program reached the same conclusion: children and adults participating in Even Start generally made gains in literacy skills but these gains were not significantly grater than those of non-participants. DOE indicates that other high priority programs such as Reading First and Early Reading First are better structured to implement proven research and to achieve the President’s literacy goals. DOE did not mention such alternatives do not work to strengthen the literacy of parents as well as children and help break cycles of illiteracy which exist in many of our country’s most vulnerable citizens.

In zeroing out Vocational Education, the rationale is that the high school initiative puts more funds into high schools and gives the schools the flexibility to use funds however they wish.

Another program targeted for elimination that could have some implication for adult education is a state grant program for incarcerated youth offenders. This program provides funds to state correctional agencies to assist and encourage incarcerated youth to acquire functional literacy skills and life and job skills. DOE indicates the elimination of this program is consistent with their effort to eliminate small programs that only have indirect or limited effect on improving school outcomes.

Both the Literacy Through School Libraries and Reading is Fundamental/Inexpensive Book Distribution Program (RIF) were level funded. ($19.5 million for Literacy Through Libraries and $25 million for RIF) RIF is allowed to work with family literacy programs.

As part of the President’s “American Competitiveness Initiative”, the Department of Labor’s proposed budget proposes Career Advancement Accounts (CAA). The DOL Budget Summary describes these accounts as “self-directed accounts that would enable current and future workers to gain the skills needed to successfully enter, navigate and advance in the 21st century job market. Individuals would use their accounts to pay for expenses directly related to education and training. Funds previously appropriated for the WIA Adult, WIA Dislocated Worker and WIA Youth Programs and the Employment Service would be allocated to states as a single funding stream for CAAs.” Once additional details are available, we will examine them for any and all implications for adult education.

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A Sticht Must-Read

February 8, 2006


Tom Sticht shared this article through the NLA list serve. In case you did not see it, it is a must-read. Thanks again to Tom for bringing clarity to the issue.

The following article appears in February/March 2006 issue of Reading Today, the official newspaper of the International Reading Association. This newspaper reaches some 160,000 readers per issue.

The article is part of my advocacy for adult literacy education in which I am attempting to get more reading professionals interested in adult literacy.


Tom Sticht


February/March 2006

Can Massive Injections of Adult Literacy Education
Improve Children's Reading Skills?

Tom Sticht
International Consultant in Adult Education

Data released in 2005 from the National Center for Education Statistics showing 30 years of National Assessment of Educational progress (NAEP) indicate that, from 1971 up to 2004, reading scores for 9-, 13-, and 17-year-olds were flat. Indeed, a patient in an intensive care unit whose health-monitoring indicators went as flat as the NAEP data would be declared dead!

Despite past failures to improve reading scores, today, as in the past, tens of billions of dollars are being spent on special programs to raise the literacy skills of children. Meanwhile expenditures for adult literacy education have been and still are trivial.

This goes on despite the fact that for the past 30 years the K-12 system has been graduating millions of young adults below the 20th and 10th percentiles of reading as measured by the NAEP, with no apparent improvement in the proficiency scores for students at these percentile ranks. Furthermore, there is little evidence that this can or will be turned around anytime soon.

It is extraordinary that policies that attempt "fix" children in the institutional settings of preschools or the public schools, and then return them to their debilitating home lives still command such massive amounts of funding, while there is great reluctance to acknowledge and meet the needs of the children's parents for continuing education. This situation prevails despite extensive research suggesting that, through the intergenerational transfer of language and literacy, serious investments in the education of adults could likely improve the educability of their children.

Given the data of the past 30 years, which indicate mostly failure to improve children's learning of language and literacy in the schools and up into adulthood - even those children at the 10th percentile - it seems that some new strategy for improving children's and hence adults' literacy is called for.

There is a grossly underfunded and underdeveloped adult education and literacy system in the United States with over 3,000 programs and close to 3 million enrollees per year. But the federal level of funding is less than US$225 per enrollee. Even with state contributions added in, the average funding per enrollee across the United States is only about US$650. This is less than one tenth of what is spent per enrollee on Head Start, which serves mostly the children of these poorly literate adults.

Perhaps now, after 30 years of trying and apparently "flat-lining" in our attempts to raise the reading achievement of children through schemes that largely ignore the literacy education needs of the children's parents, it may be time to acknowledge the existence of the adult education and literacy system and to provide the funding and other resources it needs to produce genuine and extensive improvements in the literacy and lives of adults.

Massive injections of adult literacy education might just be what is needed to resuscitate a reading instruction patient that is presently in a deep coma. And we should do this before the patient goes completely brain-dead.

Thomas G. Sticht
International Consultant in Adult Education
2062 Valley View Blvd.
El Cajon, CA 92019-2059
Tel/fax: (619) 444-9133

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Laura Bush on Adult Education

February 8, 2006

“Research tells us that a child's ability to thrive is closely linked with his mother's education level. That's why mother and child literacy should be at the heart of our efforts to increase literacy around the world. Our mothers are our first teachers. They introduce us to the joys of reading and learning. From them, we learn lessons that will influence us throughout our lives.

Research shows us that children who are read to from a very early age are more likely to begin reading themselves at an early age. They're more likely to excel in school. They're more likely to graduate secondary school and go to college. By reading to a young child, a mother helps that child develop language. She teaches him how to hold a book and follow words. And she also links books and reading with the safety and the comfort of a mother's arms and a mother's voice.

The value of literacy goes beyond books. A mother who can read also knows how to follow the instructions on a bottle of medicine. She can read the label on a food container. She can read a newspaper and learn about the world around her. She can conduct basic business transactions and know whether she's getting a fair deal. And she has more options for helping to support her family. Literacy is a significant first step toward building a better life. And maternal literacy can be a significant step toward a better life for the whole family.”

Click here for full text.

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Student Recruitment Resources

February 22, 2006

One of your colleagues has the possibility of a significant growth in state funding and will need a targeted marketing campaign to attract new students.

As a result, we are in search of targeted student recruitment materials that would attract students who have specific needs for adult education. We hope you have some and are willing to share them.

We are looking for two types of materials: 1) those targeted to recruit potential students who have a specific need and 2) those targeted to agencies/organizations that serve clients with that specific need that would compel them to refer clients to you.

Here are some examples. Do you have student recruitment materials that you are willing to share that are targeted to any of the following?

• Potential students who need to improve their skills to qualify for work
• Agencies/organizations that have adult clients who need to improve their skills to qualify for work and can refer them to adult education.

• Potential students who need to improve their skills to help their children in school.
• School personnel whose parents need to improve their skills to help their children and can refer them.

• Potential limited English proficient students with materials in their own language
• Agencies/organizations that serve LEP adults who can refer them.

• Potential students who need a GED
• Agencies/organizations that have adult clients who need a GED who can refer them

• Potential students who need a GED and want to go on to the Community College
• Agencies/organizations that have adult clients who need a GED and want to go on to the Community College who they can refer

• Potential older students who do not want a GED but need reading, math and/or English to manage their financial, medical, and personal affairs.
• Agencies/organizations that serve older adult clients who they can refer

• Businesses that are potential sites for in-plant workplace education programs.

• Other student recruitment materials targeted at a particular audience

Please forward electronic copies, if possible, to me at and we will put them on the web site for all to share.

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Foreign Born in the Labor Force

February 24, 2006


Below is an excerpt from a Bureau of Labor Statistics report on foreign-born persons in the workforce. The entire report is attached in PDF format. The URL is

It is interesting to note that almost half of the labor force growth from 2002-2004 is attributable to foreign-born persons even though they comprise only 14.5% of the total workforce.

“In 2004, there were 21.4 million foreign-born persons in the United States labor force, comprising 14.5 percent of the total. (See table 1.) From 2002 to 2004, the number of foreign-born labor force participants grew by about 1.2 million on net and accounted for a little less than half of total labor force growth over the same period.

A little over two-thirds of foreign-born persons 16 years and over were in the labor force in 2004, about the same proportion as in the previous 2 years. Over the year, the labor force participation rate for the native born edged down from 66.1 to 65.7 percent.

Foreign-born men were more likely to be labor force participants (81.1 percent) than their native-born counterparts (72.0 percent). In contrast, foreign-born women were less likely to be labor force participants than native-born women--53.8 versus 60.0 percent. Over the year, the labor force participation rates of both men and women were about unchanged for the foreign born, while they edged down for their native-born counterparts.”

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Adult-Ed Programs Inadequate

February 24, 2006


Below is an article from yesterday’s Washington Post regarding the Maryland’s Adult Education Program.

Report Calls Adult-Ed Programs Inadequate
Workplace Suffers, Md. Officials Say
By Nancy Trejos
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 23, 2006; Page T03

Nearly 1 million Maryland adults lack high school diplomas or need English language instruction even as the demand for highly trained workers is increasing, according to a Maryland State Department of Education report.

The waiting list for adult education services across the state has about 5,000 people, with the largest number of people seeking instruction in English as a second language, the report said. The programs serve 36,000 to 38,000 people annually, the report said.

Maryland spent $77 per student in fiscal 2003 compared with an average of $477 per student in East Coast states on general equivalency classes, instruction in English as a second language and other literacy programs. Only Rhode Island fared worse. Maryland education officials do not promote their programs or recruit students because there's no room for additional students in classes, the study said.

"We're not even in the ballpark," said Patricia Bennett, program manager for adult education and literacy at the Maryland State Department of Education. "We have historically spent about $77 per student, which is about the cost of a textbook these days."

Business leaders familiar with the study said this week that the shortage of skilled workers is driving businesses away from the area and damaging the economy.
"The higher the quality of the workforce, the more skilled the workforce, the more attractive the state of Maryland becomes to businesses and employers to want to relocate in Maryland . . . or to stay here in Maryland and expand their businesses," said Bob Burdon, president and chief executive of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce.

Al Porter, chairman of the education committee for the Prince George's Chamber of Commerce, said he is particularly concerned about the impact on his county.
"We're on the cusp of a booming economy in Prince George's County, and if we don't have the employee base to take the jobs, I think it's going to speak to the long-term viability of our county," Porter said.

The task force that prepared the report recommended that the state spend $26.5 million over the next four or five years to strengthen adult education programs. The panel, consisting of business leaders, educators and politicians, was established by State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick in 2004. The report was presented to the State Board of Education in December, and state officials briefed reporters this month.

"It is absolutely essential to Maryland's economic development as well as the well-being of families that these individuals have the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and learn English," Grasmick said.

State officials said they expect federal funding for adult education programs to be cut by 74 percent in fiscal 2007, which could force 18,000 students out of instruction.
The money shortage has also made it hard to recruit qualified teachers, many of whom work only part time in adult education programs, the panel said. Maryland's teacher training schools do not offer many graduate-level courses on adult instruction, and there is no state certification requirement specific to adult education, the report found.

But there is more to the teacher shortage problem, said Tom Israel, executive director of the Montgomery County Education Association. The pressure on teachers to meet state and federal standards has limited the time they have to teach additional classes in the evenings. "The more the pressure is ratcheted up for student achievement in K to 12, the less time people have to take on the extra responsibilities," Israel said.

Nonetheless, Israel said, K-to-12 teachers are finding more of a need for adult education programs, particularly because they are encountering more parents who are not able to speak English well enough to participate in parent-teacher conferences or help their children with homework.

The task force members said the insufficiency of adult education has also hurt the workforce. Since World War II, the economy has shifted from a focus on manufacturing to technology, biosciences, health care and other services. The earning power of school dropouts has declined in the past three decades as the economy has shifted to jobs that require more skills.

The study found evidence that the state's adult education programs have helped place students in the workforce. Of those adults who enrolled in remedial programs, 94 percent achieved a higher literacy level or continued their education, and 74 percent earned general equivalency certification. Of those students who had been unemployed, 64 percent got jobs.

The panel made recommendations, including that the state increase enrollment in adult programs by 17 percent. The panel also suggested that the state establish a funding formula for adult programs and publish an annual performance report to encourage accountability. The state should increase its share of funding, taking part of the burden off local governments and bearing at least 40 percent of the cost, the report said.

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Workplace Ed Professional Developments

On-line courses

February 27, 2006

The Virginia Adult Education program has developed a great resource for training adult educators in marketing, planning, and instruction for adult education programs in industry, i.e., workplace education. If you have practitioners who want to gain or enhance their workplace program planning and instructional skills, here is a good resource.

Workforce Development Campus
James Madison University
MSC 9003 / Blue Ridge Hall
Harrisonburg, VA 22807

Enhance your career with new skills in marketing, planning, organizational assessment, facilitation, and program evaluation. You can improve your programs by learning to identify performance gaps using current design models, engaging in interactive discussions and exchanging ideas with peers from around the country. Join us this Fall!

Session 2 Now Enrolling! March12 - April 28

Register by March 3 for placement and save $50
• Introduction to Workforce Development and Education (WDC 501)
• Marketing Workplace Learning Programs (WDC 502)
• Planning for Workforce Learning Programs (WDC 503)
• Organizational Assessment and Needs Analysis (WDC 504)
• Designing Learning Programs for Workforce Development (WDC 505)
• Implementing Workforce Development Programs (WDC 506)
• Program Evaluation for Workplace Learning (and ROI) (WDC 507)
• ESOL in the Workplace (WDC 601)

Certificates Offered:
• Program Developer
• Curriculum Designer
• Instructor
• E-Instruction Specialist

You can also design your own certificate
Contact us for more information

Workplace Professionals
Facilitate your learning and connect to peers across the nation
• “I liked the interaction with other participants because they had so much to add. It was like having 10 instructors instead of one.” -Cheryl, Virginia
• “My James Madison University WDC certification as a Program Developer had a DIRECT impact on my new career opportunity…I am exceptionally thankful that I have been associated with this venture for the past two years.” -Lynn, Georgia

Email the Registrar for further information:

WDC classes are distributed online utilizing engaging activities, discussion boards, and classroom chat.
Orientation is free.

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