Adult Basic Education: Equipped for the Future or for Failure?
Adult literacy and basic education practitioners are asked to educate adults who were initially “failed by the school system.”
Yet, rather than compensating for this failure and supporting adult learners, the system of adult basic education (ABE) programming in the United States can also be depicted as having failed these students as well. This chapter critically addresses the system of ABE in the United States, provides alternative explanations for its failure, and suggests initial steps toward change. The three issues I believe that have had the greatest impact include:
|1. The effectiveness of current federal programs and goals; |
|2. Workplace literacy and welfare to work policies; and |
|3. The roles and challenges of literacy instructors, including cultural, instructional, training, and gender gaps. |
While these factors are often examined in isolated contexts, the intent of this chapter will be to show how these factors are interrelated and contribute to the success or failure that many students continue to face, even when they return to the schooling process.
EFFECTIVENESS OF FEDERALLY FUNDED PROGRAMS AND GOALS
While some would argue that an ability to read and write is necessary in order to be successful in society, literacy is not an end in itself. Rather, I believe, it