Positive Responses to Educate & Elevate Campaign

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As momentum builds for Educate & Elevate, we continue to receive testimonials and comments about the campaign. Academic & Vocational Coordinator, Lisa-Ann Blanchette from Sanford Community Adult Education, shared this letter from the United States Senator, Angus S. King, Jr. in response to her organization's outreach efforts. You can send an email in three clicks to your legislator at this link. Thank you for sharing Lisa!

Dear Lisa,

I share your belief that adult education programs are a vital part of providing Americans with new opportunity and that they should be supported. Since my time as governor, I have seen firsthand the positive impact that these programs have on individuals, their families, and their communities. Adult learning centers in Maine and across the nation enable adults to gain new skills, which in turn allow them to more fully contribute to the economy while reducing their dependence on assistance programs-a true win-win for everyone involved. You will be pleased to know that I recently joined my colleagues in a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee advocating for continued funding for adult education programs for the fiscal year 2018, which I have attached to this response. 

Thank you for being in touch with me. I will be sure to keep your interest in adult education in mind as I work on education and budget matters that come before the Senate. Please contact me in the future on other issues that I can bring to the Senate's attention.

Best Regards,

United States Senator

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Adult Education Miracle: Kevin Hunt Sr.


As adult educators, we know firsthand that a lack of education can have a ripple effect among individuals who want to advance their economic and social mobility. Kevin Hunt Sr. knows that downward spiral all too well. Kevin dropped out of school in junior high, and because of his lack of education, he had to rely on his family in his hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas, for financial support.

In 2001, he made a decision that would be the catalyst for changing his entire life: he enrolled in Shorter College’s GED® program. After earning his GED® credential, Kevin did not stop there. In 2002, he enrolled in Philander Smith College where he graduated with honors and followed that with a master’s degree from Webster University.

Upon graduating from Philander Smith College, Kevin volunteered for then-Attorney General Mike Beebe’s campaign for governor. This eventually led to a part-time job working for Beebe’s campaign. Beebe won the gubernatorial election (2006), and Kevin was hired on as full-time staff. During the next eight years in the office of Governor Mike Beebe, Kevin worked as a communications assistant, spending five of those years as minority affairs liaison.

Kevin invests countless hours of hard work and dedication for the betterment of his community by serving as a mentor to others and volunteering for friend and mentor, Rev. Hezekiah Stewart and the Watershed (“world’s first social hospital”). Currently, Kevin is focused on launching his nonprofit mentoring program, Inspiring Other People (IOP), which has as its motto “Leading by Example.”

A man of God, Kevin joined Second Baptist Church in 2005, under the leadership of the Pastor, Dr. Kevin A. Kelly.

Kevin works at the University of Arkansas for the Center on Community Philanthropy at the Clinton School of Public Service, which focuses on community-based philanthropy. He is the son of a very strong mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. He is also the proud father of one son, Kevin Hunt Jr. He's married to the number one woman in his life, Maggie F. Hunt.

Thank you, Kevin, for sharing your story and inspiring others to keep reaching for the stars!

The more success stories such as Kevin’s are heard in public, the better-positioned adult education advocates are likely to be in making a case for securing resources for vital adult education programs. Click here to submit your success stories to the Educate & Elevate campaign and speak up for adult education.

COABE Membership Update: October 2017

COABE Membership Update: October 2017

Dear COABE members,

I am delighted to share that COABE's fourth Capitol Hill Day took place during Adult Education and Family Literacy Week and was a wonderful success, with over 110 meetings scheduled with legislators and their staff! This brings our total meetings with legislators over the last 2 years, to more than 315 meetings! Sixty plus leaders and 8 students, from nearly all 50 states,  joined together to walk the Halls of Congress as we made our voice heard on the Hill on behalf of Adult Education.   

I would like to thank our Committee for Advocacy and Public Policy (CAPP) Chair, Polly Smith, along with Christine Heinrich, our Coordinator, for their incredible work on all the materials and coordination related to Capitol Hill Day!

From Oracy to Literacy and Back Again

An anthology of brief notes by Tom Sticht 

Investing in the Education of Adults, To Improve the Educability of Children!

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During September 24-30, 2017, we celebrate Adult Education & Family Literacy Week. For some, particularly those new to adult education, it may not be clear just how adult education for adults may enhance the literacy development of their children. 

For this reason, I have compiled a 28-page anthology of 13 brief notes of mine, with 11 illustrations and references for the professional development use of adult educators who would like to further explore the role of adult education in family literacy.

Leading the Charge to Raise Awareness About the Many Faces of Adult Education


Adult education programs are crucial in alleviating the education gap. They have a track record of positioning individuals for success in the workplace. By definition, these programs serve those 16 years of age and older who are no longer enrolled in school, who are no longer required by law to be enrolled and who are functioning below the high school completion level. While services include teaching foundation skills in the disciplines of reading, math and English, adult education has a broad reach that prepares learners with college and career readiness skills. These skills can help lead to employment or prepare for the transition to post-secondary education. Adult educators also help parents obtain the educational skills necessary to become full partners in the education of their children.

Read full article on Media Planet.

Highlight: Dr. Rachel De Vaughan-From GED to Ph.D.


For Educate & Elevate advocate Rachel De Vaughan, Ph.D., the power of adult education in reshaping one’s career path is well known. Indeed, without support from educators at Mississippi Gulf Community College, she may have never made the transition from a respected McDonald’s franchise manager, with no high school diploma, to a state education director with a higher-education-focused Ph.D. from William Carey University. 

De Vaughan recalls how bleak her future looked in her teenage years as family financial hardships made it difficult to focus on her academic studies.

“At a very young age, I was burdened with heavy responsibilities in caring for my younger siblings. I struggled in school because I was so tired I just wanted to sleep. My teachers were always frustrated with me because I never completed my homework,” De Vaughan says.

“Even if I did find a friend, we weren’t able to do the normal things that friends do because I could never afford to go anywhere when I was invited. So, when my mom gave me the choice of quitting school to work full-time, I chose to quit. No longer did I have to worry about what I was going to wear or sit through another Algebra class that I had failed twice. I started working at McDonald’s for $3.35 per hour and took advantage of every education and workforce program they offered while never looking back,” she adds.

But her career in food service took a big detour in 1997 when a life-changing event inspired her to achieve education goals that had long gone unfulfilled. She obtained her high school diploma and put herself on an educational path that resulted in an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, and a successful and ongoing career stint in public education that has included the obtainment of a Ph.D.

“After almost 20 years working for McDonald’s restaurants throughout the U.S., and even abroad, I was ready to try something different for my life. So, I pulled that forgotten dream out of that secret place deep inside of me, and I applied for a teacher’s license. Wow! Here I was, teaching in a school, a real school, with real students. I was recognized both by my school and the district as a great educator several times,” says De Vaughan, now assistant state director for the Office of Adult Education in Mississippi.

The more success stories like De Vaughan are heard in public, the better-positioned adult education advocates will likely be in making a case for securing resources for vital adult education programs. Click here to send in your success stories to the Educate & Elevate Campaign and speak up for adult education.

Mediaplanet Launches “Online Education” Campaign Featuring Coalition on Adult Basic Education


The Online Education campaign aims to convey the convenience and many possibilities of pursuing an online degree.

Mediaplanet, an independent publisher of content-marketing campaigns, today announces the distribution of its tenth cross-platform edition of “Online Education.” The campaign aims to highlight online education in its various forms. Mediaplanet has joined forces with the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) to educate readers on its Educate and Elevate Campaign which is working to raise awareness on the many faces and relevancy on adult education.

Starting on September 27th, featured within USA TODAY and on Mediaplanet’s digital content hub, COABE shares how their campaign is working to urge policymakers on why the continuation of funding is necessary. In 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act called for adult education to be funded at a level of $649 million. Now, threats have been made to cut funding by $95 million on issues like adult education and literacy as well as cut by $9 billion from the Department of Education budget in 2018. Their campaign is a national endeavor aimed at highlighting how an investment in adult education represents a bold commitment to America's future.

Direct impact of their initiative can be seen through examples such as Story Musgraves. Instead of finishing school, Mr. Musgraves ran off to Korea with the U.S. Marines where he was an aircraft electrician and an engine mechanic. He started flying with the Marines and over the next 55 years accumulated 18,000 hours in more than 160 aircraft. Using adult education as a catalyst for change, Mr. Musgrave obtained a GED® diploma and went on to become the only astronaut to have flown in all five space shuttles resulting in six space flights. He has earned seven graduate degrees and 20 honorary doctorate degrees.

Stories like Musgrave show the benefits of an adult education. Through Educate and Elevate, COABE hopes to show that advocacy for adult education is vital. To read more on this campaign, head to Mediaplanet’s digital content hub to see their call to action represented.

About Coalition on Adult Basic Education
The Coalition on Adult Basic Education represents the system of 55,000 adult educators nationwide and is organized to advance national and international adult education and literacy opportunities for all persons. The mission of the organization is to inspire educators so adults succeed and communities thrive.

About Mediaplanet
Mediaplanet is the leading independent publisher of content-marketing campaigns covering a variety of topics and industries. We turn consumer interest into action by providing readers with motivational editorial, pairing it with relevant advertisers, and distributing it within top newspapers and online platforms around the world.

Press Contacts
Jordan Hernandez

Get Ready to Hit the Hill


This week education advocates from around the country will “hit the Hill” to inform legislators about the importance of adult education, as COABE hosts its 4th Capitol Hill Day on September 26, 2017. This important event brings together state association leaders, state directors, and students from around the country to march on Capitol Hill and ensure we raise the voice of adult education.

If you are not attending this event in person, you can still support our advocates by sharing in the success and networking on social media and the COABE App. You can also support this important work by using our “quick fire” email to legislators including mayors, governors, and members of congress. It takes less than a minute to do your part! And, when you use our system, the emails will get through firewalls to the legislators. Click here

Government Relations Report: September

Government Relations Report: September

With one simple click, you can send an email to your
mayor, governor, and members of Congress (HERE).

It is something of an understatement to say that for the time being, at least, Washington is focused on something other than funding and potential government shutdowns. In a flurry of activity, Congress agreed to a three-month continuing resolution (CR) that postponed final funding decisions for FY 2018 until December 8, raised the debt ceiling for three months, and made a down payment on hurricane relief funding for Texas.

Congress and the country are focused on providing relief to storm-damaged areas in Florida, whether there will be a tax reform proposal to consider by the end of the year, how to deal with the DACA issue and continuing tensions on the Korean peninsula. In addition, because of arcane rules, the House and Senate need to adopt budget resolutions to enable them to proceed with tax reform efforts.

COABE National Award Nominations Now Open!

COABE National Award Nominations Now Open!

We're committed to honoring the best of the best in our field! 

We are pleased to announce that thanks to generous funding provided by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, our award stipend for Outstanding Adult Learner of the Year, Outstanding Adult Teacher of the Year, and Outstanding Administrator of the Year is $10,000 each. The award stipend for State Innovation of the Year and Outstanding Workplace of the Year is $2,000 each.

New Fact Sheets: Immigrants & Middle-Skill Jobs in Texas and Arkansas

New Fact Sheets: Immigrants & Middle-Skill Jobs in Texas and Arkansas

Two new fact sheets from National Skills Coalition highlight the important role that immigrant workers play in filling middle-skill jobs in Texas and Arkansas.

While immigration settlement patterns differ substantially between the two states, in both cases, immigrant workers will be vital to helping the states meet their ambitious goals for postsecondary credential attainment and respond to local industries’ talent needs.

To accomplish these goals, states will need to ensure that their talent-development pipelines are inclusive of the many immigrants who are poised to benefit from investments in their skills: More than half of adult immigrants in Arkansas (62 percent) and Texas (63 percent) have not gone beyond high school in their education.

Email Outreach: An Easy Way to Meet Your Legislators

Email Outreach: An Easy Way to Meet Your Legislators

Do you want a super easy way to reach your legislators to ask for support for our adult education mission? All you have to do is follow these 3 easy steps.  

  1. Click here to access our form and input your contact information and zip code.
  2. When you click “submit,” a pre-populated, editable support email appears ready to send.
  3. Click “submit” and the email automatically goes to the correct legislator(s) based on your zip code.

Using the Mobilization Toolkit to Engage Adult Education Organizations

Using the Mobilization Toolkit to Engage Adult Education Organizations

Last week, adult education state association presidents, state directors, and state leadership attended a live webinar to get up to speed on the Educate & Elevate campaign. Participants were provided a Mobilization Toolkit with strategies to engage their statewide adult education organizations in the campaign.

Here are the top 5 strategies from the Toolkit that can be executed easily.

Coalition on Adult Basic Education Appoints Kaye Sharbono Board President

Coalition on Adult Basic Education Appoints Kaye Sharbono Board President

Press Release: Coalition on Adult Basic Education Appoints Kay Sharbono Board President

Syracuse, New York – The Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) has named Kaye Sharbono president of its board of directors. In this capacity, Sharbono heads the nation’s leading organization that provides leadership, communication, professional development, and advocacy for adult education and literacy practitioners to advance quality services for all adult learners.

“We are thrilled to have Kaye in the position of board president,” said COABE Executive Director Sharon Bonney. “Her vision and leadership skills have earned her the respect of her peers on a local, state, and national level.”

Government Relations Report: August 2017

Government Relations Report: August 2017

The Congress has recessed for the summer. Congress left Washington having failed to pass a  replacement for the Affordable Care Act, make noticeable headway on tax reform or an infrastructure package, or pass Congressional Budget Resolutions. It is months late on the appropriations process and must resolve FY 18 spending and confront a looming crisis over the debt ceiling.
You can tell it is recess because the Members have left town and the staff that was dressed conservatively the other day is now wearing jeans. Only the advocates are wearing business attire.


There were important developments in the budget and appropriations worlds. On July 19th, the full House Appropriations Committee completed its consideration of the FY 2018 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill and sent the bill to the full House, which could vote on it after Labor Day. In reporting on the bill, Committee Members made clear that they do not support the kind of Draconian cuts assumed in the President's budget. Indeed Subcommittee Chair, Tom Cole (R-OK), talked about adding funds if Congress could reach a bi-partisan agreement on increasing spending. 

Mobilizing Your State for Educate & Elevate Webinar

Mobilizing Your State for Educate & Elevate Webinar


TIME: 2:00 P.M. EDT

We are in full swing with the national Educate & Elevate Campaign to raise awareness among local elected officials, state legislators and federal officials of the importance of investing in Adult Education. As such, we’ve expanded our campaign website and the options that states have in participating in the campaign and mobilizing the adult education organizations throughout their respective states. This webinar details the options that various states are using to conduct a statewide campaign for investing in adult education. See models in action that various states have adopted from no-cost landing pages on their current websites and leveraging state-specific pages on the national campaign’s website, to full statewide campaigns. Get connected with your peers and help your state excel in getting national recognition.

Educate & Elevate Campaign: Hosting a Stakeholder Event

Educate & Elevate Campaign: Hosting a Stakeholder Event

Did you miss our most recent webinar or want to watch it again? It's now online and includes critical information you won't want to miss on using special events to educate legislators and key stakeholders about adult education.

Our communications partner, Full Capacity Marketing, and guest presenter, Diane Jackson from the Queen Creek Unified School District Adult Education Program in Arizona, share step-by-step instructions, as well as strategies in an information-packed, one-hour session.

Here are the Top 5 highlights, along with links to everything you need in the Educate & Elevate Campaign Toolkit to host your own successful stakeholder event.

Educate & Elevate Campaign: Your Ticket to Supporting Adult Education Funding

Educate & Elevate Campaign: Your Ticket to Supporting Adult Education Funding

Adult education — you know it’s your passion. So share your passion through our national campaign, Educate & Elevate, and join the system of 55,000 adult educators in informing elected officials about the importance of funding adult education.

Here are our three campaign goals:

  1. Create processes for a concerted, collective effort to reach local, state, and federal officials and our communities.
  2. Inform and educate officials about the relevancy of adult education through data, stories, innovations, and key message points.
  3. Make specific requests in support of funding adult education.