ERIC Number: EJ1002989
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Educated Parents, Educated Children: Toward a Multiple Life Cycles Education Policy
Sticht, Thomas G.
Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, v78 n3 p63-67 Nov 2012
Philanthropists and policymakers sometimes opt to fund childhood education to "stop illiteracy at the source" at the expense of funding for adult literacy education. In 2000, "The New York Times" published an article about a gift of $100 million being given to schools in Mississippi to promote the teaching of reading to children. The article says that the philanthropist giving the money and "many experts are less than bullish on the prospects for attacking adult illiteracy." The philanthropist is then quoted as saying, "What this program says is that we can't solve the adult literacy problem but we can work with the children." This type of thinking is based largely on a mistaken understanding of the source of illiteracy and leads to half-hearted strategies for improving both children's and adult's literacy. It focuses on each new child as the beginning of a new life cycle and doing whatever can be done to help the child acquire literacy skills. If this does not turn out well, then a small amount of remedial help may be given in adulthood to help the person acquire higher levels of literacy in a "cradle to grave, lifelong education" policy of education. However, this focus on a single life cycle fails to recognize the key role that the education of adults plays in the transfer of literacy from one generation to the next. Adult literacy education may promote the development of literacy not only in just one person but possibly many, depending on how many children the person has. From this point of view, the potential for developing literacy actually begins before birth in the dispositions, skills, knowledge, language, and literacy of children's parents. In this article, the author argues that adult literacy education is a good investment for improving the educability of children.
Descriptors: Adult Literacy, Literacy Education, Lifelong Learning, Illiteracy, Early Childhood Education, Academic Achievement, Functional Literacy, Educational Attainment, Parent Child Relationship, Educational Policy, Foreign Countries, Parent Background
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada