NAEPDC - National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium LINCSearch - Search Literacy Information
A natural resource for adult education state directors and their staff members.
Members State Staff Publications Staff Site Map

2005 National Training Institute


Building Support for Your State Program

Mobilizing state legislative support for your adult education program requires a strategic structure and process for making it happen.  We’ve seen what the results can be on the national level through our concentrated campaign to restore federal
adult education funding.  This session will now focus on how you can replicate that structure and process at the state level
to expand your own legislative support for adult education. We’ll examine the critical steps in developing and implementing a statewide campaign and take a look at how states have developed specific pieces of the puzzle.

November 10, 2005

9:00-9:05 AM

Overview:  Building a Support Plan                                  

1.             Determine who can be in charge.

2.             Specify your message.

3.             Build the infrastructure.

4.             Build the resources.

5.             Implement internal legislative strategies.

6.             Implement external legislative strategies.


Art Ellison, Chair, NCSDAE Policy Chair

9:05-9:20 AM

Getting Started                                                                    

If the State Director is allowed to lead a support campaign, then he or she is the right person to be in charge.  However, often that role is not allowed.  If not, is it possible to pass the baton to the state professional association?  If neither of those options is available, where does a state turn for leadership?


1.0      Step One:  Who can be in charge?

                1.1 What state directors can and can not do 

                One State’s Example:  Superintendent’s Panel on Excellence-

                Patricia Bennett, Maryland


Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick has established a Superintendent's  Panel on Excellence in Adult Education. The Panel includes leaders from the business community, government, community organizations, higher education, and finance. The charge to this Panel is to use a standards-based finance approach to education, consistent with federal legislation such as No Child Left Behind, to ensure that adult education programs and students have sufficient resources to meet national and state student achievement standards.


                1.2 The role of state professional associations




o                              Stand Up and Be Counted—advocacy manual ¯




                1.3 What if I don’t have a professional association?

·                        Community based organizations

§                             DC Learns Literacy Policy Initiative¯



·                           Literacy Policy Liaisons



Art Ellison, Chair, NCSDAE Policy Chair

9:20 – 9:40 AM

Focu              Focusing the Message on Impact                                     


When you begin any initiative, it is important to describe the problem but even more important to articulate the change you want to see. When we began the establishment of the National Single Point of Contact initiative, our common focus was proactive -- a one billion dollar allocation in federal adult education funding.  As we are all aware, that focus changed along the way when the President released his budget cuts. That common focus, even though it changed to a reactive one, was the foundation that energized the call to action.


So the important question to determine is “What do you want to happen as a result of your efforts?”

For the purpose of this session, we will assume the following:


FOCUS:  Increasing state funding for adult education services


FULLFILLMENT:  As a result of this effort, we will gain an additional allocation of $2,000,000 a year for the next five years.


RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI):  As a result of this investment, the state will receive….in return.


2.0    2.0      Step 2:  Specifying the Message


2.1    2.1.   Showing ROI                                                               

o               Return on investment worksheets -Lennox McLendon


2.2    2.2      Documenting impact


         The point here is to show how adult education positively impacts the     success    of  other state and national initiatives:  e.g., No Child Left Behind with family literacy, Public Health with health literacy, economic development with pre-employment, immigration with ESOL and citizenship, and whatever other services you provide in the state.


o        -The Minnesota ABE Impact Report:  An Investment That Works       

                    Barry Shaffer, Minnesota

o        -Maine Adult Education Overview and Annual Report



9:40-9:55 AM

Table Discussions

What is important to state legislators in your state? 

How can you show the impact that adult education makes on those priorities?

What kind of return will adult education provide for the state investment?



10:10-10:30 AM

Kicking Your Campaign Into High Gear

During this final segment, we'll take a look at how to organize the troops, nurture relationships with individuals and groups outside of adult education to maximize your support base, and measure your success. 
3.0 Step Three:  Building the Infrastructure Art Ellison
Policy Workgroup
3.3 Email tree  
3.4 Training and Expectations  
4.0 Step Four:  Building the Resources Art Ellison
4.1 Talking Points  
4.2 Fact Sheets  
  • New Hampshire State Priorities
  • NCSDAE Fact Sheet on Adult Education
4.3 Lobby guidelines  
4.4 Website to the state legislature  
4.5 Website to the governor's office  


10:30-10:55 AM

Internal Legislative Strategies


Step Five:  Internal Legislative Strategies: Using the Matrix
State Directors' Guide to Internal Legislative Strategies
Lennox McLendon

5.1 Identifying the key legislative players  
  • A New Hampshire Example
  • Adult education authorization issues
  • Budget review and approval
  • Appropriations review and approval

Developing a calendar--from agency budget development to legislative vote on appropriations
  • SAMPLE:  Federal budget and appropriations calendar
5.3 Scheduling  
5.4 Events  
  • Meet Your Legislator Day
  • Maine's Hall of Flags Event
  • Sample Tracking List of Legislative Visits



10:55-11:15 AM

Table Discussions:  Participants will be divided into two groups:  those with a state professional association and those without.  Participants will share their responses to the following questions with their table partners:

Do you have any of the infrastructure pieces in place currently?

If yes, what pieces are working well?  What challenges do you face?

If no, what would it take to get them initiated? 


11:15-11:25 AM

External Legislative Strategies
6.0 Step Six:  External Legislative Strategies:  Lessons Learned  
6.1 Securing a Single Point of contact in each legislative district Art Ellison
  • Criteria for selecting SPOCS
  • Initial information
  • Keeping them informed - NH Literacy Task Force Update Letter
  • Training activities
  One State's Experiences in Using SPOCS
Linda Warner, Indiana
Establishing the Capitol Core if you do not have paid advocates  
  • DC Learns Policy Liaisons
  • Three to five adult educators who live near the capitol-representatives of the field
  • Their responsibilities
     a.  Proactive
          1.  Briefing key staffers
          2.  Building relationships
                - Sample congratulations letter
          3.  Monitoring activities
     b.  Reactive
          1.  Contacting key staff when positive or negative proposals are made
          2.  Responding immediately to requests for information




11:25-11:55 AM

  Expanding Your Support Base and Building Relationships
7.1 Building and Using Partnerships

Randy Whitfield, North Carolina

7.2 The Power of Students Pam Etre-Perez, New Mexico
  Sample Student Essay and Student Letters  



Tab eight in your training notebook contains valuable advocacy support materials provided by the Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education (MCAE).  They include: 

  • Advocacy Training and Rally Curriculum
  • MCAE Public Policy Postcard Campaign
  • Lobby for Your Cause
  • Yes, Your Nonprofit Organization Can Lobby!
  • Lobbying, Public Policy Advocacy and the Law
  • Effective Advocacy Tips
  • How do Advocates Sustain Themselves and Others
  • 13 Signs of Burnout and How to Help You Avoid It
  • Stakeholders Management - Winning Support for Your Goals
  • Overview of State Budget Process








Hit Counter

Contact us:
Dr. Lennox McLendon, Executive Director; 444 North Capitol Street, NW; Suite 422; Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-624-5250; Fax: 202-624-1497; Email: