ERIC Number: EJ870596
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 25
A Comprehensive Federal Literacy Agenda: Moving beyond Inoculation Approaches to Literacy Policy
Gutierrez, Kris D.
Journal of Literacy Research, v41 n4 p476-483 2009
In this article, the author presents her brief comments on the issues of effectiveness and sustainability: the lack of a comprehensive and cohesive federal policy that supports literacy learning across the lifespan. The author has taken up this issue in her own work, in attempts to challenge unproductive dichotomies of everyday and scientific or school-based literacies and to develop a more expansive notion of academic literacy learning for adolescents, high school students from migrant farmworker backgrounds in particular. Her own work in adolescent literacy has taken a different approach that involves designing and studying learning ecologies organized around expansive forms of learning, syncretic texts, and hybrid language practices that help to create particular social environments of development in which students from nondominant communities can develop more powerful forms of academic literacy. These "social design experiments" have had remarkable results academically in terms of opening the educational pipeline for their participants, but here the author focuses on two design features that have been instrumental in ratcheting up powerful forms of academic literacy learning for immigrant and dual language learner adolescent students. These design features and learning practices are counter-intuitive from the perspective of current federal and state policies vis-a-vis students who are failing according to standard measures. The author shares these brief findings to illustrate that there is a new knowledge base about students from nondominant communities that should push one to move beyond the constraints of traditional approaches; to highlight ways in which reports of adolescent literacy and federal and state literacy policies have underestimated the affordances of rigorous and meaningful literacy programs for "struggling" readers and writers--for students alienated from school-based literacies. She argues for a comprehensive federal literacy agenda organized around a more robust and expansive understanding of literacy across the lifespan that has consequence for adolescents and their futures.
Descriptors: Federal Government, Educational Policy, Literacy, Lifelong Learning, Adolescents, Social Environment
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A