Support Adult Learners: Fight Income Inequality

Widespread and growing economic inequality is now a broadly acknowledged fact of life in the U.S.  Adult education has a role to play in opening opportunities for low-income people to gain the education and training needed to access employment opportunities that pay a living wage. Nearly 30% of adults with household incomes at or below … Continue reading Support Adult Learners: Fight Income Inequality

Exploring Economic Inequality with The Change Agent

Extreme inequality in terms of wealth and income is barely news anymore. CEO pay has skyrocketed over the past 30 years while workers’ incomes have stagnated or decreased. A report from last April states that the world’s “richest 64 individuals control as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people combined.” Five years ago, the occupy movement exploded … Continue reading Exploring Economic Inequality with The Change Agent

Adult Education and Economic Inequality

“America’s economy and the structure of the job market have changed significantly over the past couple decades in ways that have hurt working poor families. For low-income workers, real wages have fallen, the social safety net is fraying, and staying afloat financially is harder than ever. Economic inequality is at levels not seen since just … Continue reading Adult Education and Economic Inequality

Applying the Helping Students Stay Course in the Classroom

Even though my schedule was pretty much maxed out, I decided to make time for the Helping Students Stay course. Our program had a number of students, more than we were comfortable with, who didn’t make it past the twelve hour mark. What was going on? What I found out when I took the course … Continue reading Applying the Helping Students Stay Course in the Classroom

World Education and Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center Partner to Offer English Classes

Thanks to an exciting partnership between World Education and Boston’s Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, 22 Seaport team members have begun taking ESOL classes through a new workplace education program called English for Seaport Team Members.  The classes are the result of the collaborative workplace planning process between World Education and the Seaport Hotel and World … Continue reading World Education and Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center Partner to Offer English Classes

Using Study Circles to Jump Start Professional Learning Communities

Pennsylvania’s Adult Education uses job-embedded professional development (PD) opportunities to help adult educators learn new teaching skills and implement those new practices into their teaching.  Those PD opportunities include not only typical offerings, such as online courses and face-to-face workshops, but also those that encourage teacher collaboration.  Study circles and professional learning communities are two activities … Continue reading Using Study Circles to Jump Start Professional Learning Communities

Adult Basic Skills Programs: A Crucial Tool in Fighting Poverty

By Stephen Reder, Portland State University

Literacy has long been a connector that helps hold us together as a society. General health and key markers of social cohesion such as trust in others, feelings of political empowerment, and willingness to volunteer are closely tied to adult literacy, as are more direct economic indicators such as employment and earnings. Continue Reading →

Immigrant Integration Offers a Broader Frame for ESOL Instruction

There are nearly 22 million immigrants and refugees in the U.S. who speak limited English and could benefit from English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) instruction. For the two million or so of them who are fortunate to get a seat in an adult ESOL program every year, these programs are a gateway to navigating life in their new home country. As such, adult ESOL programs are important agents of immigrant integration, but that potential needs to be nurtured. Read more…

The Rules of Society

Civic literacy is the ability to understand the rules that organize our society, how those rules came to be, and how they can be changed. It is the understanding of history as the constant struggle of people to be seen, heard, and valued. In the not-too-distant past, civics education built the skills needed to develop informed opinions, hold decision-makers accountable, build community, and organize for change.

This aspect of education struggles to survive, however, as civics for adults has been legislated down to narrowly-defined citizenship education measured by economic outcomes. Yet civics is more relevant than ever, as there are civic questions and problems to address in every area of adult life. Rather than being siloed in a citizenship prep class civics questions could, for example, be part of the work readiness curriculum: What kinds of jobs do we want in our communities and who decides? What should we do to ensure living wages in the sectors that are creating the most jobs (retail, service, etc.)? Such questions would engage us in thinking about the system of work, not just preparing for it uncritically. Read more…

Financial Literacy Skills

Financial literacy skills enrich all facets of life. A recent study, With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them, found that over 60% of students cited financial and not academic reasons for dropping out of college. A strong foundation in financial literacy needs to be a hallmark of all educational programming. The importance in making financial literacy and planning integral in adult education programming is magnified with the increased emphasis on college and credential completion, if learners are to earn a family sustaining wage. Read more…