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  Advocacy: this page leads to information about contacting  government agencies, Rhode Island advocacy work, immigration, legislation, health access / equity, voting, statistics and related advocacy resources; please also see LR/RI's EL/Civics and its dis/abilities pages for more advocacy resources. 

related information on this site - welfare reform and the Workforce Investment Act

recent additions to this page

The Poverty Institute is The Economic Progress Institute from Kate Brewster, then-Executive Director:

…We have always been committed to creating opportunities and economic progress for all Rhode Islanders. We believe that our new name more accurately reflects our goals, and the reality that we have become advocates not only for Rhode Islanders living in poverty, but for the growing number of middle-income
Rhode Islanders struggling to make ends meet.  While our name has changed, our mission has not. We will continue to promote policies to ensure that Rhode Island workers and businesses have the skills to compete, that families can support themselves, and that the state has the resources it needs to invest in building a strong economy.
  The state budget – how does it work? The Economic Progress Institute can tell you how: Have you ever wanted to weigh in on the state budget, but didn't know
 how or when? Would you like to train your community members, clients or constituents how to have a say in the state's spending plan?
 Our new online presentation gives you the basics about how Rhode Island's state budget is developed, with tips on how and when you can voice your opinion.
 View the online presentation Rhode Island's State Budget Process
 see also:

 Cost of Living Calculator: See how much it costs to live in Rhode Island and what you need to earn to meet basic needs:

 Facts and Stats about poverty, income, wages and other indicators of the economic vitality of Rhode Island and its residents:

Policy Agenda, Guide to Assistance, and more.  see for yourself:

National Literacy Coalition tool kit for advocacy for 2010 funding.
Educating the Public and Elected Officials about Adult Education: Report on Adult  Education Advocacy Efforts in New England by the New England Literacy Resource Center at World Education

 This report takes stock of the program, policy and legislative context for adult education in each of the six New England states.  It discusses local and statewide advocacy strategies by adult educators.  The findings show that adult education advocacy efforts in New England are multi-faceted, and growing in sophistication and reach.  The report discusses the principal challenges and related promising strategies revealed through interviews with leading adult education advocates in New England.  They are grouped into four areas:
 1) Visibility;
 2) Framing the Message;
 3) Student Involvement; and 4) Increasing and Sustaining Advocacy Efforts.
 Available for downloading (as a PDF file):
 (For a word doc version,  please contact

ESOL UK - an educational website for those wanting to develop their English language and learn about citizenship for second language speakers in the United Kingdom.

Street Sights - a forum for advocates, homeless individuals, students, state officials, and the general public to share accurate and honest information about homelessness issues.

Advocacy and Policy Change - The Evaluation Exchange Volume XIII, No. 1, Spring 2007

The Institute for Language and Education Policy
is a newly formed, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting research-based policies in serving English and heritage language learners. We are teachers, administrators, researchers, professors, students, and others who believe that the time for advocacy is now.  Learn more - 

Communicating with Congress: How Capitol Hill is Coping with the Surge in Citizen Advocacy - steps to take and approaches to avoid in doing advocacy work/undertaking advocacy campaigns.

from David Rosen: National Priorities Project database - locate the federal investment in adult education in your state or county for the last two decades on the  easy-to-search database.  Search by state or county; search by issue: education, basic demographics, income and poverty, health, etc. Within education choose a federally-funded program data set, e.g.  adult education; select the specific location (specific state state or county)  and the years.

 Living in Poverty slideshow does the math: what does it take to live at the poverty level.
see also:

Rhode Island

Governor's Task Force on Adult Literacy

RI Policy Council's website had devoted much time and energy to support devoted to the Task Force process, which worked to develop and articulate a system for adult learning in the state.  Building The Critical Links (available as a PDF file), is the Augus, 2004 report of that work,  including recommendations for next steps for adult learning and teaching.

RI Adult Education Research and Convening Project, 2015 - a revisiting of 2005's Critical Links work and process

Testimony given in support of adult education legislation at the Rhode Island State House: AN ACT RELATING TO ADULT EDUCATION  -  May 1, 2002. 

Hello. My name is Rhonda Hill. When I was sixteen and left school I didn't realize how important is was to get an education. I came to Dorcas Place a year and a half ago, to get a better education and learn to read, for a better future for myself. I have been working hard on my reading. When I started here I couldn't read too much. Now I am reading much better, and I'm getting there in math too.

While at Dorcas Place I have also been working in janitorial positions after classes. My dream is to get my own daycare going. This has always been my goal, and it's coming true. I am just about licensed. All I need to do is to complete a CPR class and attend one more meeting. I plan on starting my daycare sometime in May. It will run from 3p.m.-11:30, for infants and toddlers. This will help people who work second shift or who go to classes at night. And it will allow me to continue with my education in the day.

I would like to thank my teachers for all their help with improving my reading. I would also like to thank Career Services for helping me to get my daycare license. If it weren't for Dorcas Place, I would still be stuck where I was years ago. But instead my reading is improving and my dreams are coming true.

Thank you.

Statements from adult learners, presented to members of RI's Congressional delegation on October 15, 2001.

RI Adult Literacy Council - information about the state's former literacy advocacy, policy and adult education support entity.
The George Wiley Center - statewide group actively committed to local community organizing for the purpose of creating social and economic justice through changes in public policy.  2 East Avenue, Pawtucket, Rhode Island 02860 Phone: (401) 728-5555 Fax: (401) 725-1020

government agencies

A large part of LR/RI's work includes advocating for change on many levels so that adult education policy will most strongly support needed resources for adult education learners and practitioners. This advocacy work includes educating ourselves, legislators, private and public sector individuals and organizations as information, legislation and policy constantly shift.

legislation: The State of Rhode Island General Assembly

Contact information: for RI's Washington delegation; for local representatives, and for US legislators across the country.

Congressional Directory -  find members of congress and the senate

find your RI Officials- locate local elected officials by city/town/street

US Department of Education's strategic plans and annual reports - see where adult education fits into the department's larger agenda.

Class Action - Massachusetts-based organization whose mission is "to raise consciousness about the issues of class and money, and their impact on our individual lives, our relationships, organizations, institutions, and culture. We aim to heal the hurts of classism, and support the development of cross-class alliance building and to support the movement of resources to where they are most needed. "

Follow policy-related discussions on the National Literacy Advocacy list - archived here.  Better yet, subscribe to the list and participate in discussions about advocacy and policy with literacy workers from around the country and around the world.

Your Government, Your Taxes, Your Choices: A Curriculum for ABE Studeents - addresses services the state (of Massachusetts) provides, taxes people pay and issues of fairness, and advocacy.  Developed by ABE/ESOL teachers, Diana Satin and Nancy Sheridan, the curriculum is intended primarily for Massachusetts adult basic education learners but it also provides a model for other states. The language in the curriculum is geared for mid-beginning ESOL learners, and it also appropriate for students at higher language levels.  Each lesson also contains ideas for adapting the curriculum for students at beginning and more advanced levels.  Activities are varied.

Influencing public policy - the UK's National Institute of Adult Continuing Educationseeks to represent the interests of the UK's adult learners locally, nationally and internationally. This involves maintaining good working relationships with education providers, broadcasters, the press, government and politicians. Part of the Institute's advocacy work involves responses to documents and papers issued by other organisations, calls for evidence by various committees. commissions and enquiries.

please note: if you have difficulty accessing materials from the Providence Journal website, (many of the articles below are from the Journal), please contact LR/RI for an email version of those articles.

Secretary of state hosts literacy summit - first report from the Providence Journal; filed by the AP

Inman hears woes of illiteracy fight - The secretary of state convenes a summit of literacy advocates and experts in response to a "startling" report released recently. report from Providence Journal reporter Marion Davis, July 26/02.

Nellie Mae report: Rising to the Literacy Challenge - and, below, the ripple media attention to adult literacy on the heels of the report:
(please note, you may have to register at to read these articles; registration is free, and takes a very short time).  I've responded to these with letters to the editor, which likely will never see the light of day, but am glad to share them -- if others have responses, we can use this site to share them all.
response to the Nellie Mae report: the New England Literacy Resource Center board shares its response to the report.  What do you think?  Add your voice.

Yet another 'comprehensive' report, from British Columbia; although i've not heard from folks there that I know whether or not it resonantes with them, it's interesting to consider in light of the many reports being circulated and discussed recently.

The report,  Outcomes of a Province-Wide Consultation: The Big Picture Up Close - Literacy  and Learning in BC - March 2002

The Center for an Urban Future is a New York City-based think tank that fuses journalistic reporting techniques with traditional policy analysis to produce in-depth reports and workable policy solutions on the critical issues facing our cities. Download and/or order their resources.  While some are geared particularly to New York, they also contain valuable information and strategies around advocacy and lobbying (and distinctions between the two).

CitizenSpeak - webbased advocacy tool; "CitizenSpeak is about bringing technology to the nonprofit world to help citizens exercise their democratic rights. CitizenSpeak is a free service to insure access to any and all organizations."

Community Partnerships for Adult Learning - "about strengthening ties among businesses, libraries, colleges, national nonprofits, faith-based and community-based organizations, social services and workforce development agencies, federally funded state-run programs, and other providers to improve the accessibility and quality of adult education."

Making the System Work for You: Introduction to Political Advocacy - Debbie Peterson and Denise DiMarzio  Providence Public Library, Literacy Dept.  Advocating for a Cause: A Lesson in Community Action

Headlines from around the world - from, and news from One World,net a global portal and network of  over 1,600 human rights and sustainable development organizations worldwide. Important resources for awareness building.

National public policy - including links to updates on the status of federal funding from the Adult Literacy Education wiki.
David Rosen's web page on advocacy for adult literacy/basic education/ESOL includes web links to good resources for national adult literacy public policy and advocacy, and some information from Massachusetts and RI. [I]f you have suggestions for additional links or advocacy articles or materials useful for adult literacy advocacy, please e-mail them to  David has also compiled an updated catalog of state, community and regional adult literacy/basic education/ESOL advocacy organizations

Participation Trends and Patterns in Adult Education: 1991 to 1999 -  This report from the National Center for Education Statistics uses data from the 1991, 1995, and 1999 Adult Education Surveys of the National Household Education Surveys Program to examine participation rates in adult education over time. Participation is examined among different groups of adults(by age, sex, race/ethnicity, education level, labor force status, occupation group, and whether the adult has continuing education requirements), and for different types of adult education (adult basic education, ESOL programs, credential programs, apprenticeship programs, work-related courses, and nonwork-related courses).
ProLIteracy World Wide advocacy resources

During the last weeks of 2001, our colleagues in Massachusetts faced and overcame a huge budget crisis.  To learn more about it, please go to; their advocacy efforts should teach the rest of us a thing or many.


Campaign gives voice to migrants - article in The Guardian describing a UK campaign - utilizing data, information sharing and organizing - to restore funding to ESOL services.

Defending Immigrant Rights - an activist resource kit.

No Human is Illegal: An Educator’s Guide for Addressing Immigration In the Classroom; available  at
HR4437 advocates have sought to introduce legislation that will radically change the legal, social, and economic status of immigrant communities in the US. The debate rages on and we have heard opinions ranging from the conservatives to the democrats to the left—and a powerful constituency has emerged stronger than ever before in the 21st century—students. How will educators encourage these acts of critical thinking, civic responsibility, agency, and above all— student leadership in advocating for all human rights? How can educators engage their students in these critical issues in the classroom? How can we serve as the liaison between students andthe mixed messages the media and politicians are sending? This guide is for educators to take on the important issues that teachers and students alike have been tackling in their activism from INSIDE the classroom.  This resource can be best used online as a web resource. – from Sally Lee, Founder, Teachers Unite 646-206-4160,

Also see The Change Agent, Issue 23, September, 2006:  IMMIGRATION: The Current Debate

related advocacy resources

Advocacy resources from Fed Strategics, which providesstrategic advocacy and public affairs consulting to private agencies.

Advocacy and related resources from the Fortune Society

ASCD Action Center - resources for working with policy makers, the press and others from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Become an effective advocate - links from the Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education (SCALE)

Bill of Rights Defense Committee - national organization; - Rhode Island Bill of Rights Defense Committee

The Catalyst Centre - Promoting cultures of learning for positive social change; including links to online resources, popular education and other related activity.

The Center for an Urban Future
- New York City-based think tank that fusing journalistic reporting techniques with traditional policy analysis to produce in-depth reports and workable policy solutions on the critical issues facing our cities.

The Changes Project - a participatory action research project focused on the impact of welfare reform, immigration reform and the changing nature of work; including recommendations adaptable for / applicable to advocacy with adult learners everywhere.

Federal protections against national origin discrimination - brochures in numerous languages detailing the federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of national origin.
The Grassroots Literacy Coalition is a group of students, teachers and administers who are fighting for the creation of an adult education system that would truly serve all of the people who need adult education in New York City. Our members volunteer their time to plan conferences, conduct workshops, attend rallies and organize people interested in the future of adult education in this country.

How to Be An Advocate for Children - from the National PTA
Invading and Occupying Iraq: The Impact on Your State  From: NATIONAL PRIORITIES PROJECT
This website offers state-by-state breakdowns of how President Bush's requested $87 billion in additional war spending could be spent instead to create more jobs and meet community needs at the same time. The fact sheet also provides a graphic illustration of current federal spending priorities, comparing the total amount of war-related spending with spending on basic needs such as food and nutrition, the environment, housing, education, the environment and veterans' benefits.

Literacy and Lifelong learning: Social justice for all? Chris Sidoti, addresses the ACAL Forum in Sydney, June 15, 2001 and frames access to literacy as a human right.
Literacy Matters: Why Canada Should Make Adult Literacy and Essential Skills a Policy and Funding Priority - Movement for Canadian Literacy, November, 2002 - The Peoples' Lobby

Ocean State Action  -  fighting together for social and economic justice

Office for Civil Rights: Information by Topic: Fact Sheets, Regulations, Hot Topics/Issues, How to File a Complaint
To succeed, nonprofit organizations face the challenge of trying to educate, motivate, and mobilize a public that is too often stressed out, overextended, even apathetic. Communicating in our current political and
social environment requires competence and common sense. This helpful website outlines several effective strategies for using advocacy and
outreach as a powerful means for changing minds and hearts and votes."

People Link - web hosting and design services provider and international on-line organization of progressive activists
The Police Complaint Center - national non-profit organization that provides assistance to victims of police misconduct..  Many adults, both immigrants and those born in North America, find it difficult to imagine challenging police authority.  This site demonstrates that police abuse can be addressed by ordinary people.

A Policy Maker's Primer on Education Research: How to Understand, Evaluate and Use It - via Donna Martinez and the National Advocacy Listserv.

Popular Education: Adult Education for Social Change [ED411415], ERIC Digest by Sandra Kerka 1997

Poverty, Racism and Literacy - ERIC Digest by Mary Ann Corley 2003

The SPIN Project (Strategic Press Information Network) provides media technical assistance to nonprofit public-interest organizations across the nation who want to influence debate, shape public opinion and garner positive media attention

organizing, civic participation (see also EL/Civics)

Build-Com is a listserv established in Philadelphia by the Institute for the Study of Civic Values on Philadelphia's LibertyNet to build a national network of people active in community organizations, human service agencies, the private sector, and government sharing ideas and information on how we can strengthen neighborhoods and encourage  civic engagement throughout the country. It is the email list associated with Neighborhoods Online: National

The Community Tool Box - getting an advocacy campaign off the ground: part of the larger Community Toolbox site which has, as its mission, the promotion of community health and development by connecting people, ideas and resources.

Civic Participation and Citizenship Collection
- links to sites addressing community organizing, media, citizenship education, social studies, voting and related topics.

E-Square civic center - information on immigration, strategies for speaking to lawmakers and more.

Instigate: An online toolkit for community mobilization; resources for building alliances within and across communities

Civic Participation and Community Action Sourcebook A Resource for Adult Educators - Published by the New England Literacy Resource Center, Edited by Andy Nash

Activities for integrating civics in Adult English Language Learning from the National Center for ESL Literacy Education (NCLE).

Civics Education for Adult English Language Learners - NCLE digest

Know Your Rights - Plain language explanation of constitutional rights from the National Lawyers Guild


voting resources recently updated

presidential candidates - the two candidates' views - a quickstudy format -- starting conversations about the issues and the candidates.

CommonCraft - electing a president 
Nonprofit voter engagement network - voter participation resource - Election information you need

2008 New England Voter Registration and Action (VERA) campaign, a non-partisan effort aimed at adult learners and program staff in the New England states. Its goal is to educate adult learners about voting and the topical electoral issues, and mobilize them to vote in the 2008 elections. VERA is sponsored by the New England Literacy Resource Center (NELRC) at World Education.

Election 2006 - Literacy Action Kit from the Movement for Canadian Literacy

Easy Voter Guide - "dedicated to making elections make sense; to the ideal that all people should have access to nonpartisan information about the why, how and what of voting and other forms of civic involvement;"  available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Japanese.

New Citizens Vote! Curriculum - 14 sections and includes four hours of  material; highly flexible. Many of the curriculum sections can be presented on their own, as a short supplement to a related lesson. It is currently available in 5 languages.

Vote for America - RI Training materials and related resources for learning and using voting rights

voting: how-to: from Kath Connolly, at the Swearer Center for Public Service, clear directions about registering to vote in Rhode Island and around the country; yet more on voting from the Dean of the College.  see, too, other resources on this page (and around this site) as we approach local and national elections in November.

Minigrant project - Bob Geake's  project focusing on adult voting. Read his completed project.

also read Immigrant Students Advocate for Adult Education, from The Change Agent, September, 1996.

Pick Your Candidate - multi-faceted lesson plan that helps students understand campaign advertising and candidate's positions so they can make educated decisions at the polls, written by Debbie Tasker of New Hampshire.

Rhode Island Right to Vote - state level campaign to end felony disenfranchisement.  The Right to Vote Campaign passed Ballot Question 2! On Tuesday November 7, 2006, we made history by voting to approve a Constitutional Amendment to restore voting rights to 15,000 fellow citizens who previously could not vote.

League of Women Voters - resources and information about voting and the election process; their 2008 presidential guide is avilable here:

(using a search engine, such as google, you can also find many resources by search "choose a candidate" or "pick a candidate")

health access / equity

World Education and the New England Literacy Resource Center have developed a number of materials related to health and literacy, an area in which advocacy has wide application.  These materials, posted on the Eastern LINCS site, comprise one of a number of special collections, including civic participation -  all of which are valuable resources for advocacy work in adult education.  Another compilation of health education resources, from our colleagues at SABES, is here.

other health resources: international HIV and AIDS charity - resources, information, education

California Health Literacy Initiative, including health advocacy resources

Cultural Competence in Health Care: Is it important for people with chronic conditions? - Issue Brief Number 5, February 2004, Center on an Aging Society

resources on disparities in minority health  - part of a larger site addressing health care and politics.

LINCS Health and Literacy Special Collection, including access to MEDLINE plus,  a "goldmine of good health information from the world's largest medical library, the National Library of Medicine."  Basic (if not plain) language information, tutorials and interactive features.

Health and Literacy - Practice application brief by Sandra Kerka, 2000

HEALTHri - RI Department of Health Website

Health Literacy Studies - health literacy in the news

Kaiser Family Foundation resources on minority health

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - coalition of national organizations funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the National Minority AIDS Initiative to provide capacity building assistance free of charge to community-based organizations and stakeholders involved in HIV/AIDS prevention.

The National Health Law Program- including links to advocacy resources for health, and national legislative links

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development - whose mission is "to ensure that every person is born healthy and wanted, that women suffer no harmful effects from the reproductive process, and that all children have the chance to fulfill their potential for a healthy and productive life, free of disease or disability. "

Picture Stories for Adult ESL Health Literacy and NCLE/ ERIC Q and A Health Literacy and Adult English Language Learners

Health Literacy Provider Toolkit from the Rhode Island Health Literacy Project.

Virginia Adult Education Health Literacy Toolkit - resource to help adult education instructors and administrators better understand the problem of health literacy as it affects learners


Legislation  regarding adult education, submitted  May, 2001

To search for other Rhode Island Legislation, go to the Secretary of State's information kiosk , and follow the prompts to search current (and past) legislation. Key words and/or bill numbers can be used to locate and track legislation


press release about the act

to read more about legislative action re: adult education in Rhode Island, use the search function here and enter "adult education."

This version of the bill  was passed, with the deletion of (9).


Introduced By: Representatives Hetherington, Carpenter, Ajello, Aiken and C. Levesque

Date Introduced : February 2, 1999

Referred To: Committee on Health, Education and Welfare

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 16-63-2 of the General Laws in Chapter 63-16 entitled "Adult Education" is hereby amended to read as follows.

16-63-2. Legislative findings and policy - (a) The general assembly, in accordance with the constitution of the state, RI Const. Art XII ,1, which obligates the state "to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education," and also purusuant to RI Const. Art XII, 4, which requires it to "make all necessary provisions by law for carrying this article into effect," finds:

(1) that all citizens, regardless of age, have the right to education;

(2) that education is a lifelong pursuit;

(3) that basic education and general personal development are necessary to enjoy a wholesome life; and

(4) that vocational training is useful in acquiring a marketable skill and thus achieving economic self-sufficiency.

(b) The general assembly therefore declares:

(1) that the public laws shall address the education needs of adults as well as of young people;

(2) that an integrated and coordinated adult education delivery system shall be provided and maintained on a statewide basis; and

(3) that public funds shall be appropriated to support that delivery system and thereby fulfill the constitutional mandate.

(c) All adult education programs and services provided by any department or agency of the state of Rhode Island, local government, or otherwise funded in whole or in part by state funds, shall be offered in the least restrictive environment, be designed to enhance the quality of life for adult learners, and be consistent with and inclusive of the following values that reflect the preferences and needs of adult learners:

(1) Adult learners shall be treated with dignity and respect.

{ 2) Adult learners shall be included in policy development affecting adult education.

(3) Adult learners shall be offered services that are cost-effective and meet the learners needs. ADD}

( 4) Adult learners shall have access to testing, evaluation and requisite accommodation for learning and/or other disabilities.

( 5) Adult learners shall be fully informed about the educational choices available to them.

( 6) Adult learners shall participate in decisions about their educational process, including information exchange and goal setting.

( 7) Adult learners shall be provided with educational programming commensurate with their abilities, including but not limited to basic skills, vocational education and/or secondary education or its recognized equivalent.

( 8) Adult learners shall receive consistent, sustained quality in their education.

[ deleted from final document: ( 9) Adult learners shall not be denied access ancillary services such as transportation and childcare which are necessary to support their educational programs.]

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage


In addition to policy information, this page also contains links to government agencies whose work (data gathering and analysis, statistical studies) produces information which may be used to support/hinder state plans and other efforts.

Knowledge is power: Census stats for the US and RI, with thanks to Johan Uvin for sending them along:
Recent US 2000 Census data on English language ability have been released.

The data for Rhode Island are at:

The data for Massachusetts are at:

from David Rosen - links to demographic information: Profiles of the Adult Education Target Population: Information from the 2000 Census, April 2004:
Census Report Section 1 PDF
Census Report Section 2 PDF
Census Report Section 3 PDF

Literacy Statistics from UNSECO Education - and read more about the United Nations Literacy Decade, 2003 - 2012.

National Center for Education Statistics - including adult learning  and other information stats and information useful in education planning and advocacy.

National Center for Educational Statistics search page: useful tool for navigating the NCES

Pennsylvania Association for Adult Continuing Education (PAACE) including legislative updates  and legislative action kit--how-to advocacy manual which aims to remove the mystery and intimidation from advocating for adult education.

Post from Tom Sticht on the status of adult education, accountability and the roles of adults within the system, June 9, 2001.
(You can follow the thread of the conversation from this link, and/or join the National Literacy Advocacy list and participate in the discussion.

Policy Updates - The National Institute for Literacy's policy alerts and information. Previous updates include:

Policy Update, February 1, 1999 - President Proposes Major New Adult Education and Family Literacy Initiative

Policy update, November 19, 1998 - Information on the development of states' five-year plans. From Alice Johnson, at NIFL. A link to the email message or the policy update posted on the NIFL site. (Policy updates are also archived at the NIFL site).

Policy Update - from the National Institute for Literacy: Workforce Investment Act Offers Opportunities for Adult and Family Literacy, September 23, 1998 

RI quickfacts from the US Census Bureau - one of 50 sets of stats available here (state and county quickfacts).

Literacy for the 21st Century: Research, Policy, Practices, and the National Adult Literacy Survey - edited by Cecil Smith. A link to the book's third chapter (posted on the NLA list): The Applied Research Center - public policy, educational and research institute whose work emphasizes issues of race and social change

Division of Adult Education and Literacy  Enrollment and Participation in the State-Administered Adult Education Programs
see also DAEL's site map for more links to adult education, evaluation and legislation

The National Reporting System for Adult Education - work underway aimed at measuring and documenting learner outcomes resulting from adult education instruction. What will its outcome mean for state plans and implementation? For more on outcomes, etc. please see

standards, reporting, outcomes, accountability - what's online

National Coalition for Literacy - a coalition of national literacy agencies working to advance adult education, language, and literacy in the U.S. - site deigned to help libraries improve and expand literacy services and programs.
From the Margins to the Mainstream - An action agenda for literacy.  Planning guide for discussion meetings around the summit agenda developed by NCSALL and World Education.

The National Literacy Summit Initiative - ongoing reports from around the country relevant to the findings and recommendations of the summit's action agenda, ncluding links to the report, "From the Margins to the Mainstream: An Action Agenda for Literacy."  States are encouraged to review the action steps detailed in the report, which also provides useful information for educating funders and policymakers. - Nolo's mission is to make the legal system work for everyone -- not just lawyers.  See also What to do when you're arrested, a downloadable word file.

The Public Education Network's  Constituency Building page; part of the network's comprehensive site devotes to positive change in public education.

The Right Question Project - an organization that focuses on developing educational strategies that help people build skills to get involved in issues that affect them. Specifically, RQP programs prepare people to more effectively: advocate for themselves; participate in decision-making processes that affect them and their families, and hold decision-makers and decision-making processes accountable. Based in Massachusetts, the RQP has been involved in a number of regional trainings and workshops dealing with adults' rights.

"Street Law is practical, participatory education about law, democracy and human rights. Through its philosophy and programs, Street Law empowers people to transform democratic ideals into citizen action. Street Law’s programs do not end at the door of the classroom. Each student gains essential lessons that can be used for life."

TESOL Advocacy Resources - TESOL's (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) advocacy resources and documents

US General Accounting Office database - General Accounting Office (GAO) Reports Online via GPO Access - contains all publicly released GAO reports beginning with FY 1995.

Virginia Association for Adult and Continuing Education legislative web site - From: Greg Smith Sun, 23 Jan 2000 to the National Literacy Advocacy list:

Now that state legislatures around the country are gearing up for there sessions, I was wondering if people would share what is happening at the state level to promote adult education and literacy legislation In Virginia our state adult ed. professional association has, for the first time, developed and put forward a legislative agenda. We have been pleased to receive fairly positive initial responses from a number of legislators, several of whom will be sponsoring legislation on our behalf. Adult education and literacy is not even on the political radar here in Virginia, so we have an uphill battle over the next couple of months. 

Adult Literacy Public Policy Organizing in Massachusetts: A Participant's Reflections
David J. Rosen, Ed.D. Boston, MA, provides one promising model of organizing and advocacy in Massachusetts.
from the National Literacy Advocacy listserv, August 30, 1998: an updated article by David Rosen describing adult literacy advocacy in Massachusetts.

[To review archives of the NLA List: ]
April, 2003: Two new lists have been formed to replace / cotntinue the work of the NLA: one, a notice/alert only list, the other a continuation of the NLA list.  Follow the links to subscribe or read archives of these new lists.

highlights from the article:

The Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education (MCAE)'s volunteer Public Policy Committee is well organized, and has continued and expanded many of the efforts of earlier organizations. For example, we:

- hold regular monthly meetings;
- spearhead an annual legislator "meet and greet" campaign, where adult literacy education programs are urged to invite legislators to visit their programs and talk with students, or to have students, volunteers and others visit legislators' offices to inform them about adult literacy needs and present services
- hold legislative briefings
- Inform adult literacy programs about opportunities to testify at state and regional adult education hearings;
- sponsor postcard campaigns through which students who are put on long waiting lists for adult education services can inform their representatives about the need for more services;
- collaborate with other Massachusetts organizations such as the Committee on Adult Education advising the Board of Education, and the state ABE Directors' Council, to develop new adult literacy public policy;
- led a successful effort to include language in the Massachusetts Educational Reform Act which--for the first time--included adult basic education as part of statutory language, and
- sponsored state-wide "Tax Teach-ins" to help students understand state tax policy, and where their tax dollars go.

Fast, Effective Communication Requires Planning In Advance

Massachusetts has over 400 adult literacy/ABE/ESOL programs. They are sponsored by community-based organizations, community colleges, volunteer organizations, public schools, corrections institutions, public libraries, companies, unions, and other organizations. Through the state Adult Literacy Hotline, MCAE has information about all of these programs. Using this information, and its regularly updated list of members the MCAE Public Policy Committee has organized a telephone tree, which is updated regularly, and which is used to reach practitioners across the state. MCAE members also use fax machines, and e-mail.

We Work Closely With Legislators

Over the past several years MCAE's volunteer Public Policy Committee members have worked with key legislators in Massachusetts who have, in turn, formed a legislators' Literacy Caucus. This group meets periodically, files and supports legislation, and attempts to influence the budget process. We have found that having this kind of leadership and organization within the legislative body is essential. Building and maintaining the interest in adult literacy among legislators is a critical function of a state literacy public policy group. The Literacy Caucus provides a way for adult literacy practitioners to keep legislators informed. It provides opportunities to strategize together to find or make opportunities for possible new resources. And it has protected adult literacy from inadvertent havoc or dismantling as a result of efforts to consolidate employment-related services or from attempted takeover by other state-level agencies. Caucus members have also provided us with important insights about our state's legislative process.

We Follow "Tip" O'Neill's Advice

But how do legislators become interested in adult literacy as an issue? Former U.S. Speaker of the House Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill used to say "All politics is local." We have many examples of legislators -- and former Governor Michael Dukakis, as well -- who were moved by a conversation with someone who said he or she could not read or write and needed help, or someone who was helped to read or write by a literacy program. These are often people whom the politicians know, or who are in jobs where their literacy was taken for granted.

We also Link with National Efforts

The Public Policy Committee has shown interest in national adult literacy issues and has been exploring how we might contribute to having an impact at this level Creation of a new federal Adult Education Act, unsuccessful efforts to include adult literacy programs in the technology section of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and concern about proposed national efforts to consolidate literacy in employment and training agendas, have drawn our state organization into the national arena.

Some members of the Public Policy Committee have joined an electronic list of nearly 700 people across the country who are interested in literacy policy. The National Literacy Advocacy (NLA) list, we feel, was doing for adult literacy nationally what the Boston Network for Alternative and Adult Education did for us locally -- introducing us to each other, and providing a forum for discussion. Perhaps out of this, and other national organizing efforts, such as the National Coalition for Literacy, will grow a strong national movement of adult literacy public policy advocates, a movement made up of strong local and state coalitions. [please do read the full article]

David J. Rosen is an MCAE Board Member and member of the MCAE Public Policy Committee. He is the NLA List Moderator, and is Director of the Adult Literacy Resource Institute in Boston, MA. He can be reached via email at

page created August 31, 1998 

updated November 28, 2015

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