We're Shining a Light on Adult Education

Dear members, 

As you many of you know, COABE engaged in a new public affairs and awareness campaign that was rolled out at our national conference in Dallas, Texas. Some key components were three videos, which we believe underscore the value and necessity of Adult Education. Please take some time to review and share the videos with your colleagues, friends, and legislators!

Additionally, COABE brought together state association leaders from around the country for our first ever Capitol Hill Day! We were delighted by the strong turnout, and many connections were made with legislators and key staff as we endeavored to raise the voice of adult education nationwide. While we were there in DC, an Op Ed was published in The Hill--a newspaper for legislators and their key staff entitled--entitled "Close the Illiteracy Blind Spot With Adult Education." You can read the full article here, and join in the discussion at #capitolhillday!

We have also put together a number of Fact Sheets, which we hope will be of use to you in your work; and we are developing a webinar to ensure that these resources have the intended impact of helping our members educate others on the value of Adult Education and the issues and consequences of the lack of funding that our field is facing.

We would like to thank our generous sponsors for making this work possible and thank all of you who are fighting the good fight on behalf of adult education every day!

Sharon Bonney
Executive Director

These efforts are generously underwritten with support provided by

Comprised of Practitioners and Administrators, COABE is Nearly 15,000 Members Strong and Growing

The Commission on Adult Basic Education is organized to advance national and international adult education and literacy opportunities for all persons. The purposes of COABE are:

  • To promote adult education and literacy programs, including Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education, English for Speakers of Other Languages, Family Literacy, Skills Development, Workforce Development, and other state, federal, and private programs which assist undereducated and/or disadvantaged adults to function effectively 
  • To provide leadership in advancing the education of adults in the lifelong learning process by unifying the profession, developing human resources, encouraging and using research, communicating with the members and the public, offering other member services, and otherwise advancing adult education, and literacy 
  • To advocate the development and dissemination of publications, research, methods, and materials, resources, and programs in adult education and literacy 
  • To conduct and/or sponsor professional development conferences and activities that provide a forum to provide staff development and advance adult education and literacy


  • We are educators, administrators, mentors, and guides working to improve educational outcomes for adults and build communities.
  • Our members create new opportunities for adult students who need a wide variety of educational support.
  • Some 36 million working age Americans have low literacy skills, and more than 60 million can’t perform simple math.
  • Across the nation, COABE members work tirelessly to help these underserved adults master the skills they need to compete and build careers—and better futures for themselves, their families, and their communities.

We advocate for more services, more funding, and less waiting.
COABE and its members promote student resources and the elimination of waiting lists that discourage and delay success. In every state, we support adult education programs that foster essential skills, family literacy, and workforce development.

We are dedicated to helping educators overcome the unique challenges of adult education.
We look for innovative and effective ways to reach more adults who struggle with reading, writing, and problem solving. We develop, promote, and share best practices, policies and research for teaching basic education skills.

With our members’ support, the adults we help land better jobs, pay more in taxes, and are better able to support their families.

  • Our impact lasts for generations: our students pass the skills they learn onto their children, and help them find success too.
  • The need is great and resources are limited.
  • Adult basic education is the foundation of family, community, and national success.