ERIC Number: ED464209
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Feb-22
Reference Count: N/A
Adult Literacy & the American Dream.
Chisman, Forrest P.
The national literacy movement in the United States can be traced to attempts to educate black former slaves after the Civil War. Prior to that time, most blacks received little education because whites saw no economic need to educate those who served them in menial jobs. The fact that most slaves were denied education provided the impetus for the first national literacy movement. Socially conscious white people went to the South in a volunteer effort to educate former slaves. They established hundreds of schools, sometimes with financial aid from the federal government. In addition, the freedmen themselves created schools and promoted learning. This literacy initiative was very successful, creating graduates who went on to college and became middle-class citizens. The first literacy movement ended quickly, however, after about a decade, as Northern liberals lost interest and Reconstruction funds dried up. This state of affairs continued until the 1950s and the ensuing Civil Rights movement, when education for all citizens again became a priority. This second national literacy movement was spurred by federal and state funding and justified by self-interest in economic development, as well as by principle. Since the 1980s, the United States has conducted a major and visible movement to address the problems of educationally disadvantaged adults on many fronts. Although these efforts continue today, the campaign has fallen far short of success. For the future success of the country, adult education for the disadvantaged is crucial. It will benefit the economy as well as individuals and should be driven by a bipartisan action of citizens united in a cause that is right. (KC)
Descriptors: Adult Basic Education, Adult Literacy, American Dream, Blacks, Economic Development, Educational Benefits, Educational History, Educational Needs, Educational Policy, Educational Trends, Educationally Disadvantaged, Futures (of Society), Literacy Education, Motivation, Policy Formation
For full text: http://www.caalusa.org/caaloccasionalpaper1.pdf.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy, New York, NY.
Identifiers - Location: United States