April 16: Making Sense of Decoding Webinar and Discussion

LINCS is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. EDT featuring the publication: Making Sense of Decoding and Spelling: An Adult Reading Course of Study. This research-based literacy intervention is geared toward adult educators who teach reading and writing and is designed to teach adult learners to decode and spell words accurately and fluently. Daryl Mellard, P.h.D., University of Kansas; and Charles A. MacArthur, Ph.D., University of Delaware, will host the webinar and discussion on LINCS (a continuing discussion will take place in the LINCS Community after the webinar ends). Please click here to join this event on Tuesday, April 16 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Registration is not required.

Webinar Recap: Community Colleges and Correctional/Reentry Education

OVAE hosted the second event in its 2013 Community College Webinar Series on Wednesday, April 10 in collaboration with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT).  This event focused on emerging community college correctional and reentry education models and the many contributions community colleges can make to promoting more effective reentry of incarcerated individuals. 

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President’s FY14 Budget Request Released This Week

On Wednesday the President sent his FY14 budget request to Congress. To learn more about the President’s budget proposal for education, visit: www.ed.gov/budget14. For specific budget information related to OVAE’s programs, visit here. We’ll post further analysis of the OVAE proposed budget in the coming days.

Reminder: Community College Webinar Series Continues Tomorrow

The second event in OVAE’s 2013 Community College Webinar Series will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, April 10 from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. EDT, and will focus on emerging community college correctional and reentry education models. Click here to register for the webinar.

Reentry education, building a working model

OVAE’s reentry demonstration grant program to invest in innovative programs preparing incarcerated individuals to successfully reenter society with the support of education and workforce training is in good company.  ED’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services is supporting demonstration grants to develop and model effective practices for returning youth in juvenile justice confinement who have Individual Education Plans under the IDEA program. 

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In the TESOL Spotlight: Adult English Language Learners

The adult English language learner population is the largest sub-population of adult education students, accounting for over 40% of students in the federally-funded adult education system are in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. With the announcement of the Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy last year for youth up to age 30 and the growing momentum on comprehensive immigration reform, the issue of English language proficiency among adult immigrants has entered the national conversation. Adult language learning issues also featured prominently at at last week’s Teachers of English for Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) annual conference in Dallas, TX. This international conference draws over 6,000 educators, dedicated to the teaching of English across the lifespan. For over a decade, TESOL has been a critical professional network partner for OVAE, assisting in information dissemination and implementation support for educators.

While at the conference, OVAE’s Dr. Debra Suarez co-presented at the U.S. Department of Education policy update session along with the Office of English Language Acquisition, represented by Dr. Joanne Urrutia; and the Office of Early Learning, represented by Mr. Steven Hicks. This session demonstrated the Department’s commitment to collaborate across Offices and initiatives to address the needs of English language learners of all ages, to more fully engage immigrant parents, and to support families’ language learning efforts.

Dr. Suarez also presented at “National and State Initiatives in Adult ESL,” a session that showcased how state adult education systems are strengthening their professional development efforts to improve instructional quality, in part by integrating OVAE-funded resources such as those offered through OVAE’s ELL-U project. Co-presenting with Suarez were Karen Brown, Director for Professional Development and Instructional Support at North Carolina Community College System, North Carolina; Kimberly Johnson, Director of the Adult Basic Education Teaching and Learning Advancement System (ATLAS) Center at Hamline University, Minnesota; and Donna Kinerney, Dean for Instruction for Adult ESOL & Literacy Programs at Montgomery College, Maryland.

Dr. Suarez attended other events at the conference, including the Adult Education Special Interest Group and sessions devoted to adult English learning. Hot topics at the conference included for adult ESL educators included strengthening the academic readiness for adult English language learners, emergent literacy, the perceived shift toward more youth in the adult ESL population, leveraging resources and partnerships, and focusing on a research agenda specifically for adult ESL students.

Join an #AdultEd Twitter Town Hall with OVAE Leaders

Join a Twitter Town Hall, sponsored by the National Coalition for Literacy, Tuesday, March 26 from 9:15-10:30 am EST, with Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier and Division of Adult Education and Literacy Director Cheryl Keenan. The event is hosted at the Commission on Adult Basic Education’s conference (COABE) happening in New Orleans March 24-28, 2013.

The Town Hall will be taking questions from the live audience and from Twitter and Facebook. Participate by tweeting questions and comments using the hashtags #coabe13 and #adulted. Follow @NCLAdvocacy and @COABEnews. These organizations will be tweeting questions raised by their followers and answers to questions discussed during the Twitter Town Hall.

Watch the OVAE Blog for a recap of the Town Hall.

 

We Need to Stop Meeting and Have a (CTE) Movement!

When the Harvard Graduate School of Education released its February 2011 report, Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century, lead authors Dr. Ronald Ferguson and Dr. William (Bill) Symonds had no idea about the chord they would strike among our nation’s education, workforce development, and economic development leaders; business and industry leaders; researchers; national associations; philanthropic organizations; and even parents and students. The message of their report was straightforward: to address our nation’s high school graduation and “skills” gap, we must build multiple career pathways for youth and adults. We must move beyond the one-size-fits-all, or “four-year college immediately following high school for all,” approach to education. As Secretary of Education Arne Duncan aptly states, “we must move beyond the false dichotomy of preparing students for college or careers, and begin preparing every student for college and careers.”

Beneath the seemingly simple message and solution in the Pathways report, however, is an incredibly complex endeavor. Preparing all students for college and careers requires radical changes in the way we presently design, deliver, and assess teaching and learning. It requires commitment to providing every student with a rigorous core of academic, technical, and employability skills. It requires meaningful and sustained collaboration between academic and technical teachers, secondary teachers and postsecondary faculty, and educators and business leaders. It requires fundamental restructuring of the school day, changes in the delivery of career guidance and counseling, and an overhaul in how we prepare our nation’s teachers and faculty. It requires new methods for assessing and credentialing student learning, and evaluating the effectiveness of programs. It requires sweeping changes–at Federal, state, and local levels–in the policy and funding environment for education, workforce development, and economic development.

Despite many well-intentioned reform efforts that have come before, and incredible accomplishments in states and local communities across the country, radical change has generally eluded us. Part of the problem claims Dr. Ferguson, “is that we have to stop meeting and have a MOVEMENT!”

And, so, the Harvard folks convened, well, a meeting. But, this was no ordinary meeting. The two-day session held March 18-19, in Cambridge, MA, brought together the nation’s leading practitioners, researchers, business leaders, and students, for a “Direction-setting Conference.” The tone and context for the meeting was set by business leaders, including CEOs from Snap-On, Caterpillar, and Microsoft. The discussions centered not on the “problems” we face, but on the “solutions” we need. The highlight, as always, was the student panel that recounted the many exceptional programs they had experienced and that need to be brought to scale across our nation. To me, and likely for many others in attendance, it felt like the beginning of a movement, except that we already had a great running start!

The meeting caused me to reflect on work already underway in the Department, including our newly-launched Advancing CTE in State and Local Career Pathways initiative and our partnership with the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, and how well the Administration’s principles for alignment, collaboration, accountability, and innovation, were so echoed and reinforced.

Finally, as a parent of a soon-to-be six-year-old whose favorite movie is Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, one word kept coming to my mind—”unless.” “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” In the coming weeks, the Harvard folks will issue the recommendations from the meeting.

Sharon Miller is the Director of the Division of Academic and Technical Education at OVAE

Assistant Secretary Visits Kentucky Community College

“Partnerships between community colleges, labor, employers, career and technical education and adult education systems are critical to making it easier for students to transition seamlessly along a career pathway,” said OVAE’s Assistant Secretary, Brenda Dann-Messier, after traveling to Kentucky last week to meet with officials and students from the Kentucky Community Technical College System (KCTCS).

Along with Kentucky Adult Education and the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, KCTCS received an Accelerating Opportunity Grant to provide students with basic skills and career and technical education training at the same time.  Kentucky has been a leader in transforming its adult education system to ease students’ transitions to postsecondary education and training long before it received an Accelerating Opportunity grant.  For instance, Kentucky was one of the first states to bring the Common Core State Standards into its adult education programs to ensure more adult learners in the state are able to enroll in college prepared to succeed.

This effort to align education systems to promote college access and success are also occurring between Kentucky’s high schools and community and technical colleges.  “I was also struck by how Kentucky is working to create these partnerships so that students as early as high school can benefit from aligned systems”, said Dann-Messier after visiting Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC).

Working together with local Toyota Motor Manufacturing company, Bluegrass’ Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program actively recruits high school students who enroll at the college upon graduation and participate in a “work, learn, and earn” model. Students gain work experience at the Toyota plant three days a week and spend the other two days taking courses at AMC.

Dann-Messier noted, “We need to see more programs like this replicated across the country, where colleges, high schools, and businesses are working together to create rigorous programs that lead to college degrees and provide incentives for students to continue their education and for them to succeed in work.”

Check out additional press coverage from the visit here.

PIAAC: A Once in a Decade Opportunity

A “once in a decade opportunity” was how OVAE Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier described the Department of Education’s anticipation of the pending release of the international survey of adult skills and competencies, known by it’s acronym as PIAAC. Led by the OECD, the survey was conducted in 24 countries among adults 16-65 years of age. An international comparison report will be released by the OECD on October 8, 2013 along with the datasets and web-based tools for analysis.

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