Thursday, 11 of February of 2016

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Marty Finsterbusch, the first adult learner president of the NCL

The following article was originally published on the Florida Literacy Coalition’s Blog, January 10, 2012. Thank you to FLC for allowing us to cross post.

Those who know me, know that I do not like to write unless I have to.  That being said, when the Florida Literacy Coalition, asked me to write this blog, I was hesitant to say yes. Even today, it’s very hard work and time consuming for me. They asked me to write what it means to me to be the first adult learner to be voted as President…

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NCL’s Accomplishments in 2011; Looking Ahead for 2012

By Marty Finsterbusch

2011 has been a very productive and energetic year with the National Coalition for Literacy (NCL). I believe our advocacy helps to make adult literacy a greater priority in this country. Here is a recap of NCL’s accomplishments for 2011 and ways you can become involved in 2012:

  • For the first time in the National Coalition for Literacy’s history, an adult learner is now the president of it. Those most impacted by literacy issues should be directly involved in the solution. Marty Finsterbusch, executive director of Voice of

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The National Coalition for Literacy to Present at USCAL, Houston, Texas

The National Coalition for Literacy will be presenting several interactive public policy advocacy sessions at the US Conference on Adult Literacy (USCAL) in Houston, Texas, November 2-5, 2011. We hope you will join us! Come share your experiences and recommendations in advocating for adult and family literacy and have a voice in strengthening NCL’s advocacy nationwide. Leave armed with resources for strategically developing your advocacy campaigns.

Add a preconference to your schedule: Register today for our day long preconference on Effective Advocacy Strategies. Early registration has been extended until October 21. Register here.

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Adult Literacy Caucus and NCL Co-Host 1st Congressional Briefing on Adult Literacy

By Washington Partners and Jackie Taylor

The House Adult Literacy Caucus and the National Coalition for Literacy held a Congressional briefing May 12, 2011, highlighting 21st Century Approaches to Adult Literacy. Approximately 40 were in attendance, including adult education leaders, advocates, and legislative staffs.

The briefing followed the NCL Quarterly Meeting, where Congressman Bill Goodling made a surprise visit after recovering from a serious medical condition.

Heidi Silver-Pacuilla, President of the National Coalition for Literacy, opened the

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Thank You Dollar General Literacy Foundation!

—NCL is Awarded $150,000 Grant to Continue Technology and Advocacy

By Marsha Tait

On Thursday, May 12, The Dollar General Literacy Foundation notified the National Coalition for Literacy (NCL) that we have been awarded a $150,000 grant for the coming program year.  The grant will allow NCL to continue to develop our on-line advocacy toolkit, blog, web site and use of social media to reach, train, and inform adult education advocates.

The grant will also underwrite the costs of the NCL Literacy Leadership Award event in Washington DC on September 14, and…

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President’s Update, March 2011

By Heidi Silver-Pacuilla

With the passage of a new membership structure, the Coalition completes the updating work begun two years ago at our strategic planning retreat. Thanks in very large measure to John Segota, now Vice President, we have worked to update and upgrade our processes and procedures and open our membership structure to be more inclusive, flexible, and forward-looking.

In December 2010, the Board voted to pass the new operating procedures. These procedures now govern how we coordinate committee work, consider policy matters, tally and report votes, and move forward on issues when…

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Join the National Coalition for Literacy at COABE 2011!

The Commission on Adult Basic Education and the National Coalition for Literacy are pleased to bring you the Public Policy Advocacy Strand, hosted at the national COABE Conference, San Francisco, CA, April 17-21, 2011.

To add a preconference to your existing registration,  modify your registration or contact the COABE office if you need assistance (888-442-6223 or

Presentations and handouts will be posted here as they are made available.

Effective Advocacy Strategies

Sunday, April 17, 2011

PreConference 8:30 – 11:30 am


  • Kathi Medcalf, Past President, Maine Adult

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Even Start Family Literacy, Van Horn Urges Congress and Administration to Get Facts Straight

Even Start’s funding was eliminated as part of the CR that ended last Friday, March 18, 2011. Even Start has often been widely misunderstood and inaccurately reported as ineffective. Below is a letter from Barbara Van Horn, Reading Co-Director of the  Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy and Board Member with the National Coalition for Literacy, who sets the facts straight about Even Start Family Literacy.

Action Request: To add Even Start back to the full year FY2011 Continuing Resolution, a congressional champion must advocate and negotiate for it as part of the FY2011 long-term CR negotiations. [ Read More → ]

NCL Launches Social Media Campaign, Grows Grassroots Advocacy for Adult Education & Family Literacy

By Jackie Taylor

The National Coalition for Literacy recently launched a social media campaign to grow the grassroots advocacy base for adult education and family literacy. On February 14, the Coalition began by launching a redesign of its main website, folding the Advocacy Clearinghouse and Toolkit and its blog under one umbrella web presence.

The website provides resources for the general public to quickly access in understanding why adult education is important and how to take action. It also provides a policy one-stop for legislative staff in locating critical public policy updates,…

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NCL Gears Up for Nashville & Orlando, Grassroots Advocacy

By Marsha Tait

The National Coalition for Literacy is pleased to announce that it will hold two public policy advocacy symposia this spring with generous support from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The first event will be held in Nashville, TN on March 15, 2011 in partnership with the TN Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Adult Education, and the TN Association of Adult and Community Education.  Newly appointed Commissioner of the TN Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Karla Davis, will speak.  The event will take place at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel. We are pleased to…

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Outlook on Funding for Adult Education and Family Literacy

By Jackie Taylor

President’s Budget Proposal

On Monday, February 14, the President released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2012. “Within a constrained fiscal environment and a five-year freeze on discretionary spending, the budget proposes a $7.5 billion, 10.7% increase in overall discretionary spending for programs in the Department of Education ($2 billion (+4.3 percent) excluding Pell grants),” according to the Committee on Education Funding. While there are also many program reductions and eliminations in the budget, the Adult Education State Grants are funded at

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President’s Update, January 2011

By Heidi Silver-Pacuilla

Dear All,

I want to start by saying how disheartened I am about the tragedy in Tucson, my former home base. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Congresswoman Giffords, her family and staff, and all those touched by the tragedy. Congresswoman Giffords is a dedicated supporter of adult and family literacy, visiting southern Arizona programs often and speaking out about the power of literacy for informed citizenship.

I had the honor of participating in the digital stories project at Pima College Adult Ed to which Giffords contributed, ( [ Read More → ]

From Grassroots to Grasstops: Leveraging Social Media to Advocate for Adult Education

By Jackie Taylor

Today’s economic climate demands bold, innovative strategies to advance effective policies for adult education and literacy. Adult education advocates have historically relied on email as a mainstay communication vehicle for sending and receiving advocacy alerts and galvanizing action. However, research shows nationally that email open rates have declined 63% from 2004–2008. With the rise of social media, cell phones and Internet access, some would even argue that there is not a digital divide.

We must also look at the sheer volume of messages going in to Congress each day as a…

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News from NCL Members

New Research Publications from the Goodling Institute

The Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy has published two new research briefs. The first examines how the identities of African American men shape participation in adult basic education & literacy programs. The second offers a critical analysis of how a widely used adult literacy curriculum in Turkey portrays men’s and women’s roles and identities.

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Washington Partners Hired as NCL Policy Consultants

By Heidi Silver-Pacuilla

Welcome to Washington Partners, joining our team as NCL policy consultants. After a search for a policy consultant which generated many fine and qualified applicants, the search team agreed that the Coalition would be best served by this firm with its depth and breadth of experience in education policy and reputation for high quality service.

Washington Partners is a full service firm, offering government and public relations services, policy research and analysis, grassroots organizing and advocacy, as well as strategic advice and planning. We are looking forward to learning from their…

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President’s Update, December 2010

By Heidi Silver-Pacuilla

Hello All, we are heading into the end of December, so I’ll start with happy holidays and a wish for a safe, healthy, and more equitable and peaceful 2011.

This has been a busy month for the Coalition.

The elections brought surprises, recounts, and an upset in the newly formed House Adult Literacy Caucus. Follow the fall out of the elections here. We are also monitoring Congress closely to stay on top of shifting funding arrangements that may greatly impact our programs.…

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What Passage of the DREAM Act Means for Adult Education

—A Public Policy Update on Adult Education and Literacy, Part III

By Jackie Taylor With Heidi Silver-Pacuilla and John Segota

The DREAM Act was passed last week in the House and the Senate is expected to vote on it, with amendments, before the 111th Congress ends. The Migration Policy Institute has just released revised total and state-level estimates of the unauthorized youth and young adults who might be eligible for conditional legal status. Grassroots groups, like the National Council of LaRaza, the [ Read More → ]

Outlook on Adult Education Funding for Fiscal Year 2011

—A Public Policy Update on Adult Education and Literacy, Part II

By Jackie Taylor

For those of us who work in adult education and literacy, it’s no surprise that many of our programs have waiting lists of adults who want to improve their basic skills or learn English. In a recent Washington Post article, community colleges now also face similar demands: Adults want new skills but…

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Jobs and the Economy: Reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act

—A Public Policy Update on Adult Education and Literacy

By Jackie Taylor

Adult education and literacy impacts a host of critical issues that face our nation: jobs and the economy, health care, immigration, poverty, families and children’s education, to name just a few. We can help change these issues for the better by advocating for more effective public policies that support adult education and literacy.

As the lame duck session nears a close, I’ll share public policy advocacy updates in parts.


Part I of V: Jobs and

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National Education Technology Plan Includes Adult Education

By Heidi Silver-Pacuilla

The final version of the National Ed Technology Plan (NETP) was released November 9, 2010.

This spring, during the call for input, the National Coalition for Literacy coordinated an adult education response to the draft. That document attempted to articulate the role that technology could play in adult education for teaching, learning, and program infrastructure. The document was subsequently adopted by NCL as a policy position.

The final version of the NETP preserves the main categories presented in the draft version:…

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Public Policy and Advocacy Update, October 2010

By Jackie Taylor

Vote! Key Legislators and Midterm Elections

Several key legislators who support adult education are up for re-election. See Midterm Elections: what are they? What is at stake?. On page 10, Art Ellison, NH State Director and NCL Executive Board Member, discusses what adult education advocates should know for the coming election. He also lists key House and Senate Members running for re-election.

If you haven’t yet, see Project Vote Smart’s “Vote Easy” website. Vote Smart is a non profit, non-partisan organization helps you sort…

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News from NCL Members

National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) Conference Call for Proposals

NCFL is now accepting proposals for concurrent sessions for the 20th annual National Conference on Family Literacy. Submit your proposal today! The deadline for proposals is November 5, 2010.

The 2011 National Conference on Family Literacy will be held in Louisville, Kentucky, April 3-5. Preconference sessions will be held April 1-2. This is the most comprehensive conference serving family literacy professionals and practitioners who are working to improve literacy skills and lives of parents and children.


NCFL Launches Wonderopolis™

Wonderopolis is a resource…

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President’s Update, October 2010

By Heidi Silver-Pacuilla

Hello All,

First and foremost, get out and vote! Make sure your teachers, staff, and students exercise their democratic responsibilities, too. Make it a learning opportunity with Vote Smart’s VoteEasy website where you can find out who is running and what they stand for. Also see The Change Agent’s voting issue.

In the month since the Leadership Awards, we’ve been busy with planning the next event. Plan to join us from 8:30 – 2:00 pm on December 1 for the Public Policy…

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NCL Hosts Public Policy Advocacy Symposium in Little Rock “Polite, Persistent, Persuasion”

By Marsha Tait

NCL held its second 2010 public policy advocacy symposium in Little Rock, AR this month. More than 85 participants were introduced to the NCL Advocacy Toolkit, blog, and Twitter. Speakers included AR State Director of Adult Education Jim Smith, State Senator Shane Broadway, Dr. Charles Allen, and legislative aides from US Representative Vic Snyder’s and Governor Mike Bebe’s offices. Local panelists Patricia Bates, Ray Pool, and Randall Whitmore discussed the collaborative W.A.G.E. project, a state-wide effort to credential workers’ skills.

Following a role play about “how…

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Advocates Organize at COABE Regional Institute

Thank you for attending today’s workshop on Effective Advocacy Strategies, held at the COABE Regional Institute in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We are happy to be here with you and we look forward to hearing from you on what’s needed to improve advocacy for adult education locally and nationwide.

Please post an introduction in the Comment box below. Tell us your thoughts on one or more of these questions:

  • How do you plan to begin or improve advocacy efforts for adult education locally?
  • What’s needed to improve advocacy for adult education in your state or nationwide?
  • How might you better incorporate

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Public Policy and Advocacy Update, September 2010

By Jackie Taylor


Members of the Senate voted 69-30 on Tuesday evening, September 28, to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep government operating until Dec. 3.

The House passed a CR  on Wednesday and Congress is on recess until after the November 2 elections. They are expected to be back the week of November 15, then on recess for the week of November 22, and return the week of November 29 until the 111th Congress is done.

Congress passes a CR when appropriations bills are not passed by October 1,…

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NCL Members Gathered for Annual Meeting

NCL held its annual meeting on September 16, 2010. Members shared updates on National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, the House Adult Literacy Caucus, public policy, and the National Institute for Literacy. Additionally, NCL held its annual elections and participated in several presentations from NCL Literacy Leadership Awards recipients and from Dollar General:

Elections in DC!

Welcome to new Board Members Jeff Carter of ProLiteracy and Marty Finsterbusch of VALUE. They were elected to the Board for 2 and 3…

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NIFL Closes: LINCS Transitions to OVAE

Update and background on preserving NIFL resources

Update: With the closing of the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) September 30, the Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS) is moving to the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE).

A new LINCS websitelive October 1will offer an array of new, final publications from NIFL; the LINCS Resource Collections (online subject-oriented collections of high-quality instructional resources); archives of all NIFL webcasts; and a continuation of popular resources such as the news items and discussion lists.

Background: In May 2009, the National Coalition for Literacy conducted a NIFL…

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News from NCL Members, September 2010

COABE September Update

COABE continues to grow and is now over 5000 members strong. Download this page-at-a-glance to see COABE’s latest activities:

  • Beyond Borders Partnership of Hope Initiative
  • Online Repository
  • Pearson Longman Partnership
  • NIFL Endowment
  • Conference Mini Grants and Practitioner Scholarships
  • Save the Date for the 2011 COABE Conference

To join or renew membership with COABE, see this flyer for rates and how much you can save through any of COABE’s group membership plans.

GED Profiles of Success—Nearly 100,000 Total Upload Views-to-Date!

See the [ Read More → ]

A Huge Success! Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2010

By Jackie Taylor

Many supporters celebrated National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week September 13 – 19, 2010. Thank you to all who participated, making it such a huge success!

“This week was an opportunity to elevate adult education and family literacy nationwide with policymakers, the media, and the community,” said Spiros Protopsaltis, Senior Policy Advisor with Congressman Polis, during the NCL Literacy Leadership Awards reception on September 15.

Congressman Jared Polis led the US House of Representatives in dedicating this week for two consecutive years. Each year, the House must repeat the process to dedicate the week for adult…

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