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The Year 2003 in Review

Volume 6: Chapter One
Noreen Lopez

In Chapter One, Noreen Lopez reviews the major events in the field of adult education and literacy in 2003. She begins by pointing out significant developments in the policy arena. Lopez notes the reduction in the 2003 federal appropriation for adult education and literacy. Although this funding reduction was followed by minor increases, the field still fell short of the funding levels requested by the National Coalition for Literacy (NCL). She then discusses the reauthorization of Title II of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Programs (TANF) program, including the somewhat successful effort by the NCL to influence legislation through its Omnibus Literacy Legislation Concept Paper.

In reporting on the year, Lopez briefly notes that accountability issues remain an important topic of discussion among adult educators. She next notes several organizational transitions, including expansion of the role of the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) to address literacy across the life span, the shutting down of the ERIC Clearinghouse system, and the incorporation as a private nonprofit of the National Coalition for Literacy. Lopez also points out individual transitions, including the resignation of assistant secretary of education of vocational and adult education, Carol D’Amico, and the passing of Senator Paul Simon (D-IL), a major supporter of adult literacy. The author next outlines a number of significant research projects, such as the National Assessment of Adult Literacy and a study of professional development in adult education. She concludes that while the field has experienced “only moderate success in influencing legislation and appropriations, it is important that the struggle continue.”

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