In the first-ever international survey of adult skills,when it comes to adult literacy the U.S. trailed 12 countries and only outperformed 5 other countries. This first OECD Skills Outlook presents the initial results of the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), which evaluates the skills of adults in 24 countries.
In a recent Washington Post article by Lindsay Layton, which examines the survey, the results were cause for concern: “These findings should concern us all,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a written statement. “They show our education system hasn’t done enough to help Americans compete — or position our country to lead — in a global economy that demands increasingly higher skills.”
Duncan said the study highlights a group that has been “overlooked and underserved: the large number of adults with very low basic skills, most of whom are working.”
“Adults who have trouble reading, doing math, solving problems and using technology will find the doors of the 21st century workforce closed to them,” Duncan said. “We need to find ways to challenge and reach more adults to upgrade their skills.”
At present, LCNV serves around 1500 adult learners, with long waiting lists for many more adults seeking instruction. The mission of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia remains the same since it started 50 years ago: to teach adults the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English in order to empower them to participate more fully and confidently in their communities. The recent findings only underscore the unique position and importance of the service that LCNV provides adult learners in the region, the state, and the nation.
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
Shining a Light on Virginia’s Adult Literacy Crisis (via Facts and Statistics for Adult Education and Literacy in Virginia)September 24, 2010 at 1:43 PM | Posted in Advocacy, Community, News, Teaching, Testing, Training, Tutoring, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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On September 15th, I went to an early screening of the film documentary “Welcome to Shelbyville” at the Brookings Institution, hosted by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI). The documentary is the tale of a small town in Tennessee grappling with growing pains as their community becomes more and more diverse. When the film is released on PBS in the spring of 2011, I highly recommend watching it.
I find that living in the already widely diverse metropolitan DC area, it is easy to forget that immigrants are a new occurrence for many smaller communities throughout the United States. As I watched the film, I couldn’t help feeling empathy for the new immigrants in Shelbyville and I wished there was more I could do to make them feel welcome. There were several scenes in the film that took place in adult ESOL classrooms and it reminded me very much of the classes offered here at the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia and it got me thinking …
While our classes start up this week and next, what do you do to make our students feel welcome? How do you showcase diversity as a positive feature in our communities? Please share your thoughts in the comments field below.
-Erin Finn, Director of Classrom Programs
The mother of one of my friend’s is one of those magical connective people who will remember exactly where you left off in your last conversation and probably line you up with the job and/or man of your dreams during the course of an afternoon barbecue. Fabia is a beautiful example of the power of human relationships and the community they create. When we care about someone or something, we are willing to share what we have beit other relationships, money, education, food, knowledge, etc. When we opened Connections for Hope, it sought to create that sort of community.
Sarah Newman, is our own Queen Bee, she brought together the resources of several area organizations for Connections for Hope. Last Tuesday, staff from each of the partners at Connections for Hope came together to reflect, share, and celebrate the 6 months we’ve been open to the public and creating community. Together, over lunch, we took time sharing the progress of our programs and how we might be better at referring clients to one another. The array of services available are amazing from free clinics to world-wide children’s aide, homework help for immigrant children and our classrooms have a home there, too. I sat across some of the volunteers and staff from Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic. They have doctors who not only volunteer their time, but have specializations detecting war trauma from the many African immigrants adults who use their services. They also hired a new counselor who is working to fill the need for mental health issues. Here at the Literacy Council, we’re working to address the more specialized unmet needs of our clients as we search for a new hire with a specialty in Learning Disabilities to especially help our Basic Adult Literacy Program. We are really excited and proud to be part of this vision. Hopefully, as time goes on, we’ll be sharing clients, space, and the time and talent of our staff to better serve the Northern Virginia community. I hope you’ll share the mission we’re so committed to with the people you care about, so they might share their time and talent, too.
-Katie Beckman, Program Assistant
The challenge began on July 1, when an anonymous donor pledged a dollar-for-dollar matching grant of $20,000 for all new and increased gifts from individual donors. We were so touched to see the outpouring of support that ensued after we officially announced the challenge. In December alone, LCNV received over $12,000 from supporters like you who sacrificed in other areas of your life in order to increase your gift this year, and many new supporters joined with LCNV for the first time. We cannot thank you enough for your generosity!
The deadline for the challenge grant is not until the end of LCNV’s fiscal year – June 30, 2010 – but the challenge donor was so thrilled with the results so far that the donor already gave LCNV the first half of the pledge payment!
If just a few more people like you increase their yearly giving or make a new gift to LCNV, we can meet our challenge today! Please visit http://www.lcnv.org/donors/donateNow.cfm now. A gift of $50 will support one adult learner through a 10-week class at LCNV. A gift of $100 will help LCNV train two new volunteer tutors and provide them with their first set of teaching materials.
Please be sure to check our website to see when we hit our $20,000 goal!
~Suzie Brindle Eaton, Senior Director of Development
If you have any questions about your past gifts to LCNV, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-237-0866 x 109.
We tend to start the New Year with renewed hope and ambition. In the middle of winter in the dark and cold dreary days we need to look forward to something new and exciting; an opportunity to shake things up and make changes. This might be a good time to think about volunteering for the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia. The Council offers a variety of volunteer opportunities that accommodate different skills, schedules and talents. Check out the Literacy Council web-site for an opportunity that might work for you: http://lcnv.org/volunteers/volunteerOpps.cfm
In the same spirit of hope and ambition, the Literacy Council wants to encourage those who need our educational support to come forward to learn. If you know of an adult who struggles with reading, or needs to learn English as a second language, please let them know of our programs and help them realize a new potential. Education opens the door for advancement and opportunity. The joy of reading is a gift to be shared.
Let this be a year when you strengthened your community by helping an adult learner make a choice for education, or through the service of teaching.
– Patti Donnelly, Executive Director