ERIC Number: ED253774
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Dec
Reference Count: 0
Promoting Innovation and Controversy in Adult Basic Education: Section 309 of the Adult Education Act.
Section 309 of the Adult Education Act of 1966 provided discretionary grants for special projects and teacher training in adult basic education (ABE). The 309 program played an important role in innovations, recruitment, instructional materials, and teaching strategies, and it demonstrated how active Federal officials could boost state and local practices and policies. Yet, the Federal role antagonized some constituencies and figured in the program's demise. The U.S. Department of Education's Division of Adult Education guided the program by setting priorities, soliciting and shaping proposals, awarding grants, and disseminating project information. This activist role affected the 309 program's accomplishments and impact on ABE, influencing such areas as policy, curriculum development, interstate efforts, print and electronic media use, and staff development. The program promoted communications and provided a sense of mission for the ABE field. Two major shortcomings, however, were the failure to build its own constituency and the alienation of a politically strong segment--state adult education directors. Lack of state-level involvement in policy and grant decisions and aggressive management by Federal officials led to the reconstitution of the 309 program as a state discretionary grant activity in 1974. The 309 program contributed significantly to the ABE field despite the lack of an elaborated, integrated dissemination system and despite too many low visibility projects. A revived Federal-level grants program that builds on past strengths and acknowledges previous shortcomings would better serve the diverse ABE community. (The appendixes include a list of potential 309 projects and a reference list of past project reports.) (SK)
Descriptors: Adult Basic Education, Adult Education, Educational Innovation, Educational Legislation, Federal Government, Federal Programs, Federal State Relationship, Government Role, Grants, Negative Attitudes, Program Effectiveness, Program Proposals, Public Policy, State Departments of Education
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Far West Lab. for Educational Research and Development, San Francisco, CA.; Network of Innovative Schools, Inc., Andover, MA.
Identifiers: Adult Education Act 1966; National Adult Literacy Project
Note: For related monographs, see CE 041 175-179. Product of the National Adult Literacy Project.