ERIC Number: ED455380
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000
Reference Count: N/A
Reflecting on Culture Wars in Adult Literacy Education: Exploring Critical Issues in "Contested Ground."
"Contested Ground: Performance Accountability in Adult Basic Education" (ABE) is one of the most important books on adult literacy policy at the turn of the century. In it, Juliet Merrifield examines the critical issues of policy, practice, and theory with which the field is currently consumed. She and her colleagues maintain that the concept of "functional literacy" should be laid to rest. Educators should work to credit literacy skills to students and work to extend this knowledge and skill, based on the needs, desires, and interests of the adults, rather than dwelling on measuring how "functional" a learner is or needs to become. Merrifield reinforces Tom Sticht's phrase, "from the margins to the mainstream," to call for consensus and inclusiveness upon which to move the field. Merrifield's overall focus is the centrality of "performance accountability" through which ABE must demonstrate its success in terms of student and society outcomes, although her more fundamental topic is the conflicting perspectives that shape the politics and pedagogy of adult literacy education. Finally, Merrifield argues that it is necessary to struggle with critical issues of power, control, and direction that are steeped in conflict and not amenable to simple solutions. This requires dialog, research, action, and sharp values clarification in order to begin to move adult literacy to the mainstream of American public and political consciousness. (Contains 22 references.) (KC)
Descriptors: Accountability, Administrator Attitudes, Adult Basic Education, Adult Literacy, Adult Students, Book Reviews, Education Work Relationship, Educational Needs, Educational Philosophy, Educational Policy, Educational Practices, Educational Theories, Functional Literacy, Government Role, Literacy Education, Performance, Policy Formation, Politics of Education, Program Evaluation, Student Evaluation, Teaching Methods
For full text: http://www.nald.ca/fulltext/cultrwar/page1.htm.
Publication Type: Book/Product Reviews; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A