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May 11, 2018

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SAVE Adult Literacy – NJ Campaign PDF Print


Here is the latest update from the national campaign to increase Adult Literacy funding to $750 million.



 The House Education and Labor Committee has named the Democratic members of the Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness.  This subcommittee is extremely important to adult educators since the House version of WIA Reauthorization will originate from this group. Republican members of the subcommittee should be named within a few days.

 We should be organizing to be sure that we have strong and multiple connections with the members of this subcommittee on both appropriations and WIA reauthorization issues. Many of the members of the subcommittee are new to Congress so we will need to quickly build the connections from the adult education field to their offices in Washington. 

Chairman: Ruben Hinojosa-Texas

John Tierney-Mass.

David Wu-Oregon

Timothy Bishop-NY

Jason Altmire-PA

John Yarmuth-KY

Joe Courtney-Conn

Robert Andrews-NJ

Bobby Scott-VA

Susan Davis-CA

Danny Davis-ILL

Mazie Hirono-HI


 WIA reauthorization is moving in the Senate. The Washington staff of the National Council of State Directors and the National Coalition for Literacy are meeting this week with staff members from the appropriate committees in both the House and Senate. At the request of Senate Education and Labor Committee staff the State Directors and the Coalition have developed a comprehensive bill that reflects the needs of the field for Title II-WIA, the adult education portion of the bill. In addition we have made some recommendations on Title I as well. You can read the complete version of the bill by connecting to www.ncsdae.org, and clicking on  Political Updates.


 At this time we are still waiting for the Senate Appropriations Committee to name the members of its Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. There does not appear to a major change in the composition of the group from last session (probably one new Democrat). The most significant change is in the Chair position which moves from Senator Specter-PA to Senator Harkin-Iowa.

   There are significant differences in the makeup of this group since the last Congress. With the change in the majority party, David Obey-Wisconsin has become the Subcommittee Chair and James Walsh-NY has moved into the ranking position for the Republicans. The other major change for the subcommittee is the addition of the following Democratic members: Congresswoman Barbara Lee-CA, Congressmen Tom Udall-NM, Michael Honda-CA, Congresswoman Betty McCollum-MN and Congressman Tim Ryan-OH.

 With the shift in power to the Democrats we will need to establish or reestablish our connection on a much stronger level with all of the Democratic members of this group while not neglecting contacts with the Republican members. For the past two years we tended to focus on the Republicans on this committee since they basically controlled the agenda.



 The new composition and control of this Senate Committee will be important to the successful reauthorization of WIA which we are anticipating will happen this session of Congress.

 The most important changes are:

 The change in the Chair from Senator Enzi-WY to Senator Kennedy-MA, the addition two new Democrats-Senator Obama-Ill and Senator Brown-OH, the addition of Independent Senator Sanders-VT who usually votes with the Democrats. The Republicans have also added Senators Murkowski-AK, Roberts-KS, Allard-CO, and Coburn-OK.

 The remaining members of the Committee are: Democrats-Dodd-CT, Harkin-IA, Mikulski-MD, Bingaman-NM, Murray-WA, Reed-RI and Clinton-NY and Republicans Gregg-NH, Alexander-TN, Burr-NC, Isakson-GA and Hatch-UT. 


A report from the national campaign:

November's election has significantly rearranged the power in both the US House and Senate. Perhaps the most important example of this change is the fact that all House and Senate Committees will be chaired by Democrats and will have Democratic majorities. This could have significant implications for adult education funding and legislation in the next two years.

In the coming session we must increase our focus and connections with the new Committee and Subcommittee Chairs.

The major changes for us are the following committee switches: Senate Appropriations Committee Chair from Senator Cochran-MS to Senator Byrd-WV, Appropriations Sub Committee Chair from Senator Specter-PA to Senator Harkin-Iowa and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair from Senator Enzi-WY to Senator Kennedy-Mass.

In the House the Appropriations Committee Chair goes from Jerry Lewis-CA to David Obey-Wisconsin and the Appropriations Subcommittee Chair for Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies goes from Ralph Regula-Ohio to David Obey. The House Education and the Workforce Committee Chair goes from John Boehner-Ohio to George Miller-California and the 21st Century Competitiveness Subcommittee Chair goes from Buck McKeon-CA to Dale Kildee-Michigan.

In addition we will have changes in the Chairs of the Budget Committees as follows: Senate-from Judd Gregg-NH to Kent Conrad-ND and in the House from Jim Nussle-Iowa to John Spratt-SC.

SAVE Adult Literacy – NJ

Campaign Rationale and Strategy

 In 2005, adult literacy faced the greatest crisis in the history of the Federal adult literacy program.  President Bush’s budget proposal included a 2/3 reduction in funding for adult literacy education nationally. If the budget was enacted into law, it would have devastated adult literacy both in New Jersey and throughout the United States.  Two thirds of our adult English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students would have been thwarted in their attempts to achieve the American dream. The workforce education system would have been unable to serve its neediest.  Library usage would have suffered. Volunteer programs such as Literacy Volunteers of NJ would have been inundated. 

Because of the funding formula, the devastating reduction would have been 75% in New Jersey.  Three out of four adult education teachers would have lost their jobs.  Three quarters of the ABE, GED and ESOL classes would have disappeared and the size of the classes that remained would be huge.

 In 2004, New Jersey served approximately 42,000 students under the federal supported adult literacy programs.  Under this budget proposal, as many as 31,500 adults would have been unable to access classes to help them become better parents, workers, and participants in our society.

 In response, NJALL developed a strategy to address this issue by providing Calls To Action, support for the education of our legislators and suggestions as to how teachers, administrators, students, and other supporters of adult literacy can get involved. 

Members of other organizations concerned with adult literacy joined in a coalition to support efforts to maintain federal funding for adult literacy services.  These organizations included Literacy Volunteers-NJ, the Garden State Employment and Training Association, the NJ Library Association, and NJ Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Through combined organized efforts across the United States, this portion of the President's Budget proposal was overridden by Congress and flat funding was approved.

NJALL is committed to continued support of national efforts to provide adequate funding for adult literacy services.


Remember: “The world is dangerous not because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything.”-Albert Einstein

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