This past year had several ups and downs. In some cases, it was the same as every other year, and in others, several of us were experiencing new setbacks or accomplishments. New obstacles for students created challenges that several organizations were able to overcome. As we get ready to step into 2012, the Florida Literacy Coalition would like to give you some things to reflect back about, and some things to look forward to in the New Year.
An editorial appeared in the Fort Meyers Herald in mid-December addressing the challenges of the GED fee increase. Statewide, Florida is seeing a 38% decrease in adult education participation in this past year. The classes, once free, now cost up to $360 per year. While the goal initially was to have students take ownership in the classes so it was less likely that they would drop, the price seems to be a deterrent for those who already have a low income.
Another bill recently passed in the House of Representatives regarding education requirements for unemployment compensation. An individual must have earned a high school diploma or GED, or be enrolled in GED classes to receive benefits. While it is not expected to pass in the Senate in its current form, it’s important to note that there is the possibility that the adult education field will be affected by this change.
Conference, workshops, and more!
In 2011, we were able to bring you several successful workshops with great speakers and an amazing conference with Pat Williams from the Orlando Magic and Ruth J. Colvin, founder of Literacy Volunteers of America, now called ProLiteracy. In 2012, we will bring you a new FLC Conference website, the possibility of gaining professional development hours/points, a beautiful location, and more! (Information to come!)
Our statewide online tutor training launched this past fall and we just finished with the first facilitated course. This course works as an introduction going over learner acculturation, an overview of the adult learner, second language acquisition, phonemic awareness, and the language experience story, to name a few subjects. This year we’ll be creating two tracks to the course (ABE or ESOL), increasing activities and offering at least 3 more trainings in February, April, and June.
Last month, we focused our entries under the theme of digital literacy. In 2012, this subject area is only going to increase in importance. Several companies require basic computer skills to apply for jobs. Even if someone wants to apply for a stocking job, they must fill out an application online. Searching for jobs is best done online instead of using a newspaper. Some utilities require online bill pay or you are charged additional fees. By 2014, the GED will be computerized. Understanding basic functions of technology are becoming crucial.
Many organizations are including some computer classes with adult education and career pathways programs. If you want to set yourself apart from others and be eligible for different grants, you should look into the different ways to add digital literacy into your current curriculum.