OCTAE Connection - September 18, 2014 - Issue 215

OCTAE Newsletter

September 18, 2014


Celebrate Adult Education and Family Literacy Week—Sept. 22–28, 2014

Adult education is a key rung on the ladder of opportunity, and is critical to building a globally competitive workforce for the 21st century.  Individuals with more education are more likely to get and keep jobs, lift themselves out of poverty, incur lower health care costs, increase their children’s success in school, and be engaged citizens.

Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, a campaign from the National Coalition for Literacy, is designed to increase public awareness of adult education and family literacy, and call attention to the need for services nationwide. This event is expected to draw the attention and support of Congress, federal agencies, elected state and local leaders, the media, and stakeholders across the spectrum, nationwide.  It will highlight the importance of adult education, English language services, and family literacy to the economy and to the nation’s well-being.

Joining this campaign are the American Library Association, which is designating the month of September as Library Card Sign-up Month, and the World Literacy Foundation, which celebrated International Literacy Day on Sept. 8, 2014.

Please visit the National Coalition for Literacy website for more information, and connect with them via social media and sharing, coordinated through the Commission on Adult Basic Education.  

Meeting the Developmental Education Challenge

The next White House College Opportunity Summit, bringing together the administration and education leaders, will be held on Dec. 4, 2014. It is part of the administration’s commitment to increasing the opportunity for all Americans to enroll and succeed in college, especially low-income and underrepresented students.  Fulfilling this commitment is important, both for the nation’s prosperity and for rebuilding a strong middle class in America, and in order to do this developmental education must be addressed.

The first College Opportunity Summit was held in January 2014, and three follow-up events took place over the following summer. One of these sessions, held on Aug. 12, 2014, focused on improving developmental education. Topics of discussion at that summit included scaling effective reforms; using data to judge the effectiveness of and to modify courses and practices; and the importance of making developmental mathematics relevant to each student’s career aspirations. 

Despite evidence of a growing number of new and effective strategies, summit discussions reflected a concern that current approaches to developmental education are not working for too many students.  More and better evidence is needed to separate the approaches that work from those that do not. According to recent data cited by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College, Columbia University, approximately one-half of all entering college students and more than two-thirds of entering community college students take at least one developmental course, and of these students only one-third go on to earn a postsecondary credential.

As Secretary Duncan remarked at the summit, “…we can no longer use the traditional approach to developmental education, which has been a long sequence of remedial classes that do not count toward a degree and few students are able to complete.”

In alignment with this, the administration, through the Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences, has undertaken a major research initiative by funding the new Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness (CAPR), part of the CCRC.  Initially, the CAPR will conduct three studies to document current practices in developmental English and mathematics education, and to assess the effects of innovative instructional and assessment practices on student achievement.  This promises to be a major step forward in improving student achievement and success in college, but according to CCRC’s website, CAPR director Thomas Bailey emphasized that “remediation reform by itself cannot significantly increase college completion among low-income adults.” Bailey stressed that developmental education improvements are only one part of the broader institutional reforms that are needed in order to attend to the entire student experience.

Federal Agencies to Host Live Stream Dialogue on Career Pathways 

On Sept. 23, 2014 the U.S. departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services will host a National Dialogue on Career Pathways.  Federal agency leaders from each department will provide opening remarks on the impact that building effective career pathways can have on the nation’s workforce.  In addition, the dialogue will highlight the strategies and lessons learned from business leaders, state and local practitioners, and national policy leaders. 

For more information, including the program agenda and how to participate remotely, please visit the National Dialogue on Career Pathways website.

AACC/NIST Webinar on Stackable Credentials and Industry-Led Training

On Sept. 25, 2014, the American Association of Community Colleges, the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and Siemens, Inc. will host a nationwide webinar on increasing the quantity and value of employer-led and engaged workforce training initiatives in innovative manufacturing. The webinar will highlight the Massachusetts Manufacturing Advancement Center Workforce Innovation Collaborative (MACWIC), a regional partnership between a group of colleges, a state manufacturing extension partnership, and the advanced manufacturing industry.  Massachusetts MACWIC has manufactured an industry-endorsed stackable credential model and a talent pipeline for a variety of industrial companies in need of a trained labor force. The webinar will focus on the software design technology industry where Siemens, Inc. leaders will reveal imminent strategies for connecting with community colleges and Manufacturing Extension Partnerships. 

To reserve a webinar spot, go to https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/301758554, and for more information, please visit the American Association of Community Colleges website.

Manufacturing Day 2014

If you have not already done so, please mark your calendar for Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, for Manufacturing Day 2014. Join us to increase public awareness and improve the perception of manufacturing careers, as well as to help the general public understand manufacturing’s value to the economy.

For more information, visit www.mfgday.com.

Please visit OCTAE’s website for ongoing news and activities, including the OCTAE Connection and the Blog, which has recent posts including a celebration of the historic Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, launching 50 years of adult education.