ERIC Number: ED374275
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994
Reference Count: N/A
ReDirection: Options for Policy and Practice in Adult Literacy in Washington State. Background to the Issues. A Series of Discussion of Papers for the Adult Education Advisory Council.
Fish, Susan; Sampson, Lynne
This discussion paper provides background material to four issues identified as important to study for the adult literacy effort in Washington State: goals and outcomes, priorities for service, effective practices, and roles of providers. The paper provides a starting point for decision making. First, it sets a backdrop for the attention focused on basic skills in the state. It shows that an examination of adult basic education in the state can be divided into three areas: (1) the importance of adult literacy to the global competitiveness of the state; (2) the demand for accountability, standards of program quality, and collaboration; and (3) recent findings about literacy needs, services, and student persistence. The discussion highlights four major assumptions underlying current policy and practice: definitions of literacy, the deficit model, learners' goals versus society's goals, and literacy as the sole determinant of self-sufficiency. The paper presents these conclusions: the skills of workers, particularly those who traditionally have the lowest literacy skills, are critical to the state's economy; accountability is necessary; new adult literacy standards are needed based on the Program Quality Indicators adopted in 1992; agency cooperation is improving; learners are not staying in programs long enough to make a difference; and resources are not adequate to meet the needs. It recommends considering new guiding principles, including the following: consciously chosen and shared definitions of literacy, an orientation toward adult learners founded on strengths rather than weaknesses, incorporation of learners' goals along with society's goals, and recognition that literacy is only one of many complex and interacting factors involved in individual and social change. (KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Olympia.
Identifiers - Location: Washington