Latest News


Is there Public and Private Funding to Address the Digital Divide in Health Literacy?

October 17, 2016

While the Internet access digital divide, including for adult basic skills learners, appears to be narrowing, we still have the digital use divide. This plays out, for example, when adult learners need to apply online for jobs, benefits, or college financial aid; or when they need to communicate with their children's teachers. Now there is research evidence that there is a digital divide in health literacy.

A new health literacy study concludes that "About half of Americans have low health literacy and struggle to find and use health information, which is associated with negative outcomes, including overall poorer health. Health information technology (IT) can be used to make health information directly available to patients via electronic tools, such as patient portals, wearable technology, and mobile apps." The study in Journal of Medical Internet Research "found that the use of health IT, such as fitness and nutrition apps, activity trackers, and patient portals, are significantly associated with improved health literacy, but patients with low health literacy were less likely to use health IT tools or perceive them as easy or useful. The study also explored whether health literacy is associated with patients’ perceived ease of use and usefulness of these health IT tools, as well as patients’ perceptions of privacy as offered by health IT, and trust in media, government, technology companies, and healthcare."

COABE Conference 2017 Mini Grants

October 15, 2016

COABE is pleased to offer mini grants to attend the COABE National Conference. This outstanding professional development opportunity is scheduled to take place in Orlando, Florida on April 2-5, 2017 in the beautiful Disney Coronado Springs Resort. Please note that all applicants will be notified of the status of their mini grant application by December 1, 2016 via our membership update and newsletter.


October 11, 2016

The Commission on Adult Basic Education is more than 15,000 members strong and growing. Our Board of Directors is seeking qualified candidates for the following positions that will open on July 1, 2017. 

a) President-Elect
b) Secretary
c) Regional Representatives for regions 1, 3, and 5

Candidates are encouraged to attend the COABE 2017 conference in Orlando, Florida where they will have the opportunity to meet with conferees and campaign for their vote. Funds are allocated for business travel on behalf of COABE. Nominations/applications for position on the Board of Directors will be accepted until January 15, 2017.


October 4, 2016

Today we are pleased to announce that COABE and the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education are partnering in an advocacy effort to strengthen and grow Adult Education.
COABE is organized to advance national and international adult education and literacy opportunities for all persons. Its more than 15,000 members include adult educators, administrators, and mentors working to improve educational outcomes for adults.
The purpose of the NCSDAE is to attend to its members legislative needs and concerns, to work with other adult education organizations to exchange ideas and solve common problems, and to establish and maintain a nationwide communication network regarding national policy and legislative issues. Learn more...


October 1, 2016

COABE will hold a fall virtual conference on Tuesday, October 25th and Wednesday, October 26th. This will include 8 hour-long sessions each day, plus presenter chats and Q & A., keynote speaker, and opportunities for networking. This conference will showcase our top national presenters and is provided by a partnership with McGraw-Hill Education. Learn more...


October 1, 2016

Stay up-to-date on what is happening with COABE by reading the October 2016 issue of the membership update. In this issue you will learn how to submit a proposal to the COABE 2017 Conference, , find information on FREE Professional Development Webinars, learn more about the October VIP Vendor-Essential Education, read about Student Success Stories, read COABE's Government Relation Report, how to register for COABE's Virtual Conference, find out more about the Research to Practice Initiative, and much more!


October 1, 2016

Essential Education  was founded in 2004 to improve the completion rates of adult learners.  Using innovative adaptive learning technology and situational instruction systems, Essential Education’s courses have helped over 1.5 million people make fundamental change in their lives. Our comprehensive suite of adult education solutions are designed to build core academic skills while also teaching computer literacy, critical thinking, and workforce readiness skills.  We believe it is our responsibility to educate the learner to be completely workforce ready.


September 26, 2016

It’s Adult Education and Family Literacy Week! Advocates around the country are marking this week with events and activities that celebrate the achievements of adult learners and the contributions of adult educators.

National Skills Coalition is joining in the celebration with a brand-new fact sheet highlighting the critical role of adult education in helping workers prepare for middle-skill jobs. Such jobs require more than a high school education, but not a four-year degree.

More than 24 million US workers lack key foundational skills in reading, math, or spoken English, and would benefit from adult education to help them build the skills needed to pursue occupational training and compete for these jobs. 

Adult education models such as Integrated Education and Training (IET) have a proven track record in helping adult learners acquire key skills, earn secondary and postsecondary credentials, and obtain middle-skill employment.

The fact sheet highlights four federal policies that can support the implementation of adult education program models such as IET, and provides examples of states that are capitalizing on these policies to do just that.

Among the examples highlighted is the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which provides support for low-income families, including through the provision of education and training to help adults find employment and move off of public benefits.

Advocates interested in how TANF can help support skill-building opportunities can review the nationally recognized Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative, which provides a broad range of support to assist low-income individuals in obtaining in-demand credentials and employment.

See more examples of support for adult learners’ skill-building activities in NSC’s Adult Education and Middle-Skill Jobs fact sheet.

Rebuild Louisiana Adult Ed Schools

September 30, 2016

As you are likely aware, Louisiana has been hit hard by flooding. 5 adult schools were completely wiped out. COABE and LAPCAE would like to work together to help these schools. We will each (both LAPCAE and COABE) match up to $1,000 per school.

COABE, Commission on Adult Basic Education 

LAPCAE, Louisiana Association for Public, Community, & Adult Education 

Help spread the word!

Capitol Hill Day

September 29, 2016

Dear Members,
COABE hosted its second Capitol Hill Day, on September 28, 2016, during Adult Ed and Family Literacy Week.

With special thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, COABE brought together state association leaders from around the country in an effort to impact our legislators in a more meaningful way. Over 120 visits with legislators were made, and state leaders received training and materials that they can bring back to their state associations and professional development agencies. You can join the discussion and share the joy of advocating for our teachers and students on our App (HERE) and social media channels (HERE). A short video about this exciting Capitol Hill Day will be released soon.

Plans are already underway for our next Capitol Hill Day which will take place early next year in collaboration with the National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium, also known to many as the state directors. Stay tuned for more details! 

Sharon Bonney
Executive Director 

Capitol Hill Day is provided by a partnership with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Research to Practice

August 27, 2016

On September 15th COABE will be launching it's new Research to Practice. We will be sending out free journal e-blasts on the 15th of each month that will include a specific topic focus for that month. These e-blasts will be paired with a webinar from some of our top rated national presenters and resources from our Adult Educator's Resource. Join in on the discussion via social media and our COABE App by using #COABEJournal.

This month's topic is WIOA. Here is a teaser as to what will be feature in our journal e-blast:

The 2014 WIOA legislation has a number of potential drawbacks, including undermining access to services for adult learners who struggle with basic reading skills and the perpetuation of racial disparities in adult education services. In this month's Forum pieces, Amy Pickard describes and the specifics of these potential negative impacts on low-scoring adult readers and the programs that serve them. Debra D. Bragg responds, taking a somewhat more optimistic position on the impact of the new legislation.

This Research to Practice is provided by a partnership with Essential Education.


August 25, 2016

Since Congress is on its extended summer recess (also called District Work Week in the House and State Work Period in the Senate), we thought it would be a good idea to review how our laws get made. This information is important because it helps to inform COABE’s legislative strategy, Hill visits, and your education and advocacy activities.

Lots of people find the legislative process—how laws are proposed, passed, and funded by the U.S. Congress—arcane.  With some oversimplification, this Report attempts to demystify two aspects of the process: Authorizations and Appropriations. 

NEW National PARTNER: National Adult Education Honor Society

August 24, 2016

Our Mission
The mission of the National Adult Education Honor Society is to provide meaningful recognition to deserving adult education students, to improve student employment opportunities, to develop student ambassadors for local adult education programs and to create adult education awareness with school administrators and state legislators.

What is the National Adult Education Honor Society?
In 1991, Lloyd Weaver an Adult Education practitioner organized the first NAEHS induction ceremony to provide meaningful recognition to 17 deserving adult students. In particular was one elderly lady, a single parent with a quadriplegic daughter and a full time job in a textile plant, who had vowed years before to return to school to complete her high school education. On her third attempt, she was finally able to earn a GED. Other students had also demonstrated remarkable perseverance in achieving their educational goals and were included in that first celebration. Learn more...

Student Success Stories

August 24, 2016

COABE is proud to highlight student successes from every region of the county.

Please click here to see our latest Student Success Stories.  If you have a story you would like to submit please send it to These stories will be featured on our website, app and social media!

NEW LARGE GROUP MEMBER: Michigan Association of Community and Adult Education

August 24, 2016

Mission: To provide a cohesive framework for community education through collaboration and guidance at the local, state and federal level.

Vision: Our vision is to engage in partnerships, provide member support and advocate for lifelong learning, leading to employment and self-sufficient families.


  • We provide a positive voice for our learners.
  • We recognize the value of employment and self-sufficient families.
  • We embrace continuous improvement and always look for better ways to provide services.
  • Partnerships make us stronger.

COABE Professional Development Webinars

August 5, 2016

COABE is pleased to offer a series of professional development webinars which are led by  presenters that have received excellent ratings from workshop participants at our national COABE conferences. Save your seat today!

  • Learning in the Cloud: Teach Digital Literacy to ESL and ABE Learners, October 14, 2016, 2:00 p.m. (EST)

COABE's Award Winner Honored at RNC

August 1, 2016

We are excited to share that COABE's Adult Student of the Year, Margo Hudsona Seeds of Literacy graduate and tutorled the Pledge of Allegiance at the Republican National Convention (RNC), on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, at 7:30 pm.
Margo received the 2016 National Adult Learner of the Year award, from the Commission on Adult Basic Education, and the 2016 Courage Award, from Governor John Kasich, in April 2016. Both awards recognized her intense, personal commitment to adult education. Watch a short video about Margo.

COABE Membership Update–August 2016

August 1, 2016

Stay up-to-date on what is happening with COABE by reading the August 2016 issue of the membership update. In this issue you will find information on FREE Professional Development Webinars, learn more about the August VIP Vendor-Essential Education, read about COABE's Adult Student of the Year, Margo Hudson, learn about Parents and Children Thriving Together, find out about America's Divided Recovery, save the date for COABE's Virtual Conference on October 25-26and much more!


August 1, 2016

Essential Education Accelerated Learning Program

Computer-based instruction and assessment for ABE and high school level students that will dramatically increase success rate for adult learners.

Essential Education's instructional programs (GED Academy, TASC Prep Academy, and HiSET Academy, and Computer Essentials) feature a built-in assessment that creates a customized learning plan for every single student, then adjusts the plan automatically as the student learns. No more one-size-fits-all teaching. You always know where every student is on the learning curve and how you can maximize that student’s progress. Learn more about our customized learning plans for each student. Learn more...


July 30, 2016

The NGA Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)--with support from the Annie E. Casey, W.K. Kellogg, and Doris Duke Charitable Foundations--will provide two years of intensive technical assistance, peer support, and financial support to help participating states, commonwealths, and territories ("states") achieve statewide systems change through the development and implementation of a two-generation state plan. Applications due by August 10, 2016.

America's Divided Recovery

July 1, 2016

Over 95 percent of jobs created during the recovery have gone to workers with at least some college education, while those with a high school diploma or less are being left behind. America’s Divided Recovery: College Haves and Have-Nots reveals that those with at least some college education have captured 11.5 million of the 11.6 million jobs created during the recovery.

While jobs are back, they are not the same jobs lost during the recession. The Great Recession decimated low-skill blue-collar and clerical jobs, whereas the recovery added primarily high-skill managerial and professional jobs. Learn more...

Media Outreach Toolkit

July 1, 2016

Your successes and the strengths that adult basic education bring to individuals, families and communities is easily overlooked by the news media and elected officials.

To help you be your program’s best advocate, COABE has assembled the following Media Outreach Toolkit.  These tools and templates are designed to make it easier for you to to offer story ideas, submit “op-ed” opinion pieces, and garner editorial and columnist support.

This COABE Media Outreach Toolkit will help you showcase students, staff and programs to to help policymakers and the public understand the value that you deliver every day. Learn more...

Learning for Life: An Illinois Perspective

July 1, 2016

Grand Victoria Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Macon County commissioned a survey of adult education and workforce development program administrators and practitioners to better understand the conditions for using digital learning to advance education outcomes for adults in Illinois.

This survey drew upon a 2014 national survey, Learning for Life, completed by the Joyce Foundation and Tyton Partners that highlighted the role and opportunity for digital learning to transform adult education programs. The Illinois survey took place in February 2016 and generated responses from more than 330 adult education and workforce development professionals.  Learn more...  

NEW Large Group Member: Wisconsin Literacy

July 1, 2016

Wisconsin Literacy, Inc. is a non-profit coalition of 77 community-based literacy programs located throughout the state. Our member programs provide much needed services to adults and families through dedicated staff and well-trained volunteer tutors. In Wisconsin, nearly a million residents qualify for our members' services. If you want to improve your reading skills or if you would like to become a volunteer tutor, visit our Find a Literacy Program page to locate the program closest to you.

NEW STRAND PARTNER: Houston Center for Literacy

July 1, 2016

In 1984, Mayor Kathy Whitmire and the City Council established Houston Center for Literacy(HCL) with one goal in mind: to raise the adult literacy rates in Houston. HCL works toward this goal by supporting literacy organizations and programs, engaging the entire community to join us in solving our city's low-literacy problem, and connecting learners with the education they need to be prepared for the future. Learn more...

New Strand Partner: National Endowment for Financial Education

July 1, 2016

We are committed to forward-thinking financial education. The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) is the leading private nonprofit national foundation dedicated to inspiring empowered financial decision making for individuals and families through every stage of life.

With more than a quarter-century of dedication to the public good, NEFE continues its legacy of service with commitment to providing financial education and practical information to people at all financial levels, including:

  • Youth and adult financial education resources
  • Training tools from the classroom to the workplace
  • Research and consumer surveys

We're Shining a Light on Adult Education

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!  Read more...

Op-Ed: Blindspot in US Education Policy

There’s a giant blind spot in our national debate about how to rebuild the middle class, strengthen our workforce and grow our economy: tens of millions of adults in America can barely read or handle numbers. Unless we address that, we’ll be leaving way too many people and communities behind.

You can’t graduate from a community college if you can’t read or don’t have a high school diploma or the equivalent. You can’t find, get and keep a decent job if you can’t read a job listing. You may not be able to get to work reliably if you can’t understand a transit schedule. You can’t solve problems in a high-tech world if you lack even the lowest-tech skills to use a computer.  Read the entire article...


Nearly 8,000 adult educators have joined the Adult Educator's Repository since it's launch at COABE 2015. It's a free service provided by COABE in partnership with Essential Education that enables members to download resources and presentations as well as provides the opportunity to upload your best practices to share with the field. Get the details here