(Basic) Adult Literacy Schools

Did you know there are no adult literacy schools in the state of Alabama.

I don't know exactly what that tweet means. Are they saying there are only tutors doing one-on-one, and no small classes? Are they saying there are no buildings with government paid staff? Or do they mean there are no schools to train tutors and facilitators specifically for adult literacy. I did reply for clarification, but I might have messed that up.

Still, it got me thinking.

What would you say if I told you that, come September, I'll only know of one person (and possibly one more) who will be paid to help adults learn to read and write?

Of course, I don't know most of the people working in the field of traditional adult literacy, so maybe my statement has no weight. And it may be that there are adults with very low skill levels successfully being part of classes where everyone else is working on writing essays or solving word problems in math.

Still. I do know the focus, as well as the content and level of instruction and support, of several anglophone groups and organizations and departments who provide for or assist in basic adult education. I know that despite having the word 'literacy' in their mission statement - and sometimes in their name - they either can't or won't pay for small group or one-on-one facilitation specifically designed for someone who is a non-reader or who struggles with, say, reading level two materials. (Again, with one exception.) They either depend on volunteers, or they gear their classes to serve adults with mid-range skills in things like GED prep, workplace essential skills, computer or financial literacy, etc.

Here's another statement: at this time, I know of no network or support structure for paid basic adult literacy providers in New Brunswick. In other words, if a church in Woodstock or Campbellton or Sussex hired you to help four or five local adults who can't read or can read only a few words... I don't know who you could turn to for relevant support and encouragement, much less training and materials.

I mean, serious support, applicable training, appropriate materials for basic adult literacy.

QLNB can't. Not to the scale that would be required. We sometimes work in various NB locations outside Saint John, and are certainly open to helping where and when we can. But without core funding, and with only intermittent project funding....

(I can almost hear Frontier College, Laubach Literacy NB, the Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick and the Adult Learning Network UNB getting to their feet. It's always hard to convince people they aren't doing what they think they're doing.)

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