Coalition on Adult Basic Education

Dear Members,

As we head into the new year, I wanted to share a few important announcement with you!  After much discussion, due to our strategic planning efforts and input from the field, we have changed our name from the Commission on Adult Basic Education to the Coalition on Adult Basic Education. We believe that this underscores the true nature of our organization as our membership base is primarily comprised of state memberships. Additionally, our national and regional conferences are co-hosted by state associations and our professional development is delivered, in part, by our more than 25 strand partners. Finally, many of our VIP vendors and sponsors provide much needed support to our association, enabling us to provide the level of services we do at incredibly reduced fees. 

Over the next six months we will continue to roll out our new branding and related promotional items related to this change. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office at info@coabe.org.

On another note, as you may recall, earlier this year we asked our members to let us know if they had access to medical and dental insurance benefits, as we understand that many members work on a part time basis. We heard from nearly 400 members, most of which do not have benefits of any sort. With this in mind, we have worked with Careington, a well-known provider to offer health care savings plan for our members. COABE will receive a small commission when members sign up, which we will set aside to customize and increase the options we are able to offer our members. We will be sharing more about this exciting option, and we hope that if you are currently without insurance, this low cost health savings option will be of value to you as we head into the new year!

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 Coalition 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.