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The Year 2000 in Review

Volume 3: Chapter One
Lennox L. McLendon

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In Chapter One, Lennox McLendon discusses the major policy and implementation activities of the year 2000.  He describes the response of the ABE field to two important events: the first full year of federal funding under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and the National Literacy Summit, held in February 2000. McLendon notes the challenges confronting state and local ABE leaders in implementing WIA, including training staff to comply with demands of the legislation and establishing systems to identify student goals and follow-up on students to gauge the impact of their participation in ABE. The National Literacy Summit, which brought together 150 ABE practitioners and partners, culminated in the publication of From the Margins to the Mainstream: An Action Agenda for Literacy. The Summit outlined an agenda focusing on three major areas: resources, access and quality. The agenda was distributed as a call to action among ABE educators across the country, and strategies for addressing each of the three areas were discussed at state and local levels. The overall aim of the summit process was to stimulate state, local and national organizations to adopt strategies which would increase resources, improve access and enhance the quality of services in ABE. As McLendon points out, whether the Agenda proves to be a true impetus for action remains to be seen and will be reported on in next year's Review.

In his review of the year 2000, McLendon highlights a number of other important events that influenced the field of ABE. He notes progress made toward the National Coalition for Literacy's goal of $1 billion for federal ABE appropriations, highlighting gains made in funds available for Even Start and the English Language/Civics Initiative. In addition, the author reports on a colloquium hosted by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) to bring together staff of national research and evaluation projects for an exchange of findings and strategies for disseminating their work. Finally, McLendon notes changes in leadership at the national level. He closes the chapter on an optimistic note, highlighting the potential of the Literacy Summit's action agenda to bring coherence to the field's efforts, the benefit of OERI's support for national research and evaluation projects, and the opportunity for the field to focus on promoting mutual interest and resolution of organizational differences.

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Updated 7/27/07 :: Copyright © 2005 NCSALL