35 Million Additional Funds Allocated for Adult Education


We wish to extend a heart felt "thank you" to so many in our field who used our "3 click" software to rack up an impressive 67,000+ contacts to legislators through our Educate and Elevate campaign. At a time when extreme cuts were looming, our field pulled together and made a difference.

Thanks in large part to your hard work reaching out, not only was adult education not cut, but it was given a $35 million dollar increase in the FY 2018 omnibus bill (see chart here) over what we were given last year. This marks the first increase we have seen in a single year to AEFLA in a long time. Your voice is important! When you contact your legislator, you are making a difference. Keep up the good work!

COABE NCSDAE Legislative Update: March 2018


Do you think adult education is important? Do you value your work and the work of others in the field? If you do, then now is the time to stand up for adult ed and for our students.

While political Washington is focused on off-year special elections and gossipy Washington is placing bets on who in the President's cabinet is staying and who is leaving, the rest of us are paying attention to the fact that with a week to go, funding for Fiscal Year 2018 is not yet resolved.

As you may recall, the government is operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) that is due to expire on March 23. That CR is expected to reflect the bi-partisan budget agreement that added $130 billion to non-defense discretionary spending for Fiscal Years 20189 and 2019.

While the Republican House Majority had hoped to complete the bill this week, the bill is still being worked on. Among the more contentious issues are funding for the opioid crisis, the border wall, and a proposed tunnel to run from New Jersey to New York (and back). There are also so-called "policy riders" including funding for Planned Parenthood, gun control, and immigration. Finally, there are bills that might not otherwise be considered that Members in both Houses want to attach to this "must pass" package.

We can say with a high degree of certainty, that everyone concerned wants this to be finished by the 23rd, so the Congress can finally focus on Fiscal Year 2019. The appropriations season begins with Cabinet secretaries testifying before Congress on the Administration's budget. Secretary DeVos is supposed to testify before the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday, March 20 at 10 am. It may be that her appearance will conflict with the legislative calendar and be rescheduled.

The DeVos hearing, if it takes place, will be webcast. You can watch it by going to the House Appropriations Committee website and following the prompts to get to the Labor-HHS subcommittee.

The President's Budget was released on February 12 and, among other reductions and eliminations, it proposed to cut Adult Education by $92.2 million or 16 percent. (See February 12 Budget Alert). When he testified before Congress, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said the President's FY 19 Budget did not reflect the bi-partisan budget agreement "given our dire fiscal situation, the Administration is not proposing to match the new non-defense cap in FY 2019.  The Administration does not believe these non-defense spending levels comport with its vision for the proper role and size of federal government."  Nevertheless, Appropriators are expected to abide by the agreement and ignore most of the Administration's proposals. COABE is in the process of completing its FY 2019 Hill Day plans, working with members of the House and Senate on a strategy to demonstrate support for Adult Ed on the Hill, and continuing to rally the field to contact their legislators to let them know that adult education is important. If we do not stand up for ourselves, and our students, who will?

Grass Top Communication to Legislators

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Ad Placed in The Hill
COABE and NCSDAE took out a full page, full color ad in The Hill, a newspaper that is read by legislators and their staffers (View the ad on page 7 HERE). We also sent out a press release (HERE) regarding our efforts which reached more than 68,000,000 viewers.

Talking Points for Legislators and Staffers
Once a week COABE sends an email to all legislators and their staffers that highlights our Talking Points. The emails have a 10% click rate which is excellent for congressional emails according to industry standards. We have received responses from the offices of Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Senator Alexander of Tennessee, and Senator Heinrich of New Mexico. View and please share our "Talking Points" HERE

NEA Foundation Invites Applications for Learning and Leadership Grants

The NEA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the National Education Association, is a public charity supported by contributions from educators' dues, corporate sponsors, and others. The foundation supports student success by helping public school educators work with key partners to build strong systems of shared responsibility.

As part of an effort to achieve this goal, the foundation is inviting applications for its Learning and Leadership Grants program. The program provides support to public school teachers, public education support professionals, and/or faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education through grants to:

  • individuals to fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences such as summer institutes or action research 
  • groups for collegial study activities, including study groups, action research, lesson study, or mentoring experiences for faculty or staff new to an assignment

The grant amount is $2,000 for individuals and $5,000 for groups engaged in collegial study. All $5,000 group grant applicants must include partner information.

To be eligible, applicants must be a public school educator in grades pre-K-12, a public school education support professional, or a faculty or staff member at a public higher education institution. The foundation encourages applications from education support professionals. Preference will be given to members of the National Education Association.

For complete program guidelines, information about previous grantees, and application instructions, see the NEA Foundation website.

Investing in Quality: A Blueprint for Adult Literacy Programs and Funders

The Literacy Assistance Center (LAC) is pleased to release "Investing in Quality: A Blueprint for Adult Literacy Programs and Funders." Funded by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, the report details 14 "building blocks" of a comprehensive, community-based adult literacy program, identifies the resources needed to fully implement the building blocks, and includes a first-of-its-kind cost model. The LAC plans to use this report as part of its technical assistance to the field, as well as to advocate for increased funding rates for programs. Click here to learn more.

You can also learn more about this report at the COABE national conference, where LAC's executive director, Ira Yankwitt, will present more details on this ground breaking report. 

You may also join us for a live webinar on April 19th at 2:00 p.m. EST. Seats are limited to 500 attendees. Register HERE

A Recipe for Success

By Kristin Hempel, CT

At EASTCONN, we have a long history of collaborating with our local workforce board to provide academic and life skills instruction for people who want to improve their lives by advancing their educational background and employability skills. We understand that our students are living in complex systems and believe it is part of our mandate as educators to provide needed services whenever and wherever possible. However, as funding streams are usually quite clear in terms of who can be served with which pots of money and what types of educational services can be provided under which umbrellas, a combination of creativity, collaboration, and commitment is called for.

So, what are the primary building blocks? First, we support a well-trained staff through extensive professional development not only in CCRS but also in learning management systems, contextualized instruction, and flipped classrooms, to name a few methods that we employ. Second, we prioritize team-work, customer service, and community partnerships and support teacher training in each of these arenas. Third, we maintain a flexible technology structure with laptops, projectors, and printers that can be moved between locations and quickly installed for short-term satellite programs. Fourth, we enlist our teachers to write curriculum that integrates a wide range of academic skills while simultaneously developing personal capacities and career readiness.

Our teachers understand that they may be "called up to active duty" in a variety of locations and that the traditionally required flexibility of an adult educator is magnified for our employees. We have, in fact, nurtured the reputation of being a go-to partner when out-of-the-box thinking and design or quick turn-around is required. Because we operate within a model of continuous improvement, we are constantly collecting feedback and re-tooling our programs, our roll out, and our support structure in order to provide even better answers to our partner organizations' requests. In a time of dwindling resources, this nimbleness has allowed us to be viable and extend our reach into rural areas.

At the end of the day, what matters most is how this creativity, collaboration, and commitment has practical value for our students. We have found, for instance, that the recent integration of advocacy skills into our class curriculum is nurturing student leaders who are willing to share their stories and lend their voices to local, state, and national efforts to support adult education. The skills students practice through advocacy efforts translate into productive communication and teamwork in professional settings. These same skills equip parents to navigate school systems and support their children's academic, social, and emotional growth. And they are tools for community members to participate in local government, civic organizations' coalitions, and campaigns... in short, to be creative, collaborative, and committed contributors where they choose to engage.

We Need Your Help


On February 9, President Trump signed a Continuing Resolution that includes significant increases in Non-defense Discretionary spending and offers the opportunity to increase funding for Adult Education, among other programs. Now, each Appropriations Committee must decide how to allocate its new funds. We believe that this is a unique opportunity to increase funding for Adult Education by $100 million (a roughly 17 percent increase) from about $582 million to about $682 million.

Please click HERE to write or to call your member of Congress in support of $100 million more for Adult Education. Three quick clicks is all it takes to raise your hand for Adult Education!

COABE NCSDAE Legislative Report


Budget Alert!

The Budget provides $59.9 billion for education appropriations for FY 2019, a total that it characterizes as a cut of $7.1 billion (10.5 percent) from the 2017 enacted level. 

The President's Budget for FY 19 proposes to cut Adult Education State Grants from the annualized FY 18 level of $578 million to $485.8 million, a reduction of $92.2 million. National Leadership grants increase from $13.6 million to $13.7 million.

The Administration's Budget Explanation is as follows:

The Adult Education and Family Literacy Act was reauthorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which promotes alignment of the Adult Education programs with Federal job training programs and the postsecondary education system.

The request provides $485.8 million for Adult Education State Grants, $92.2 million below the fiscal year 2018 annualized Continuing Resolution level. The request reflects the tough decisions needed to achieve the President's goal of increasing support for national security and public safety without adding to the Federal budget deficit. States and providers across the country are still working to implement changes in adult education requirements made as a result of the enactment of WIOA in July 2014; future decisions regarding the program will be informed by the statutorily required program evaluation and performance data based on the full implementation of WIOA. 

The program assists adults without a high school diploma or the equivalent to become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for postsecondary education, employment, and economic self-sufficiency. Funds proposed for National Leadership Activities would continue to support efforts to increase the literacy and workforce skills of adults.

In general, the Budget provides $59.9 billion for education appropriations for FY 2019, a total that it characterizes as a cut of $7.1 billion (10.5 percent) from the 2017 enacted level.  

  • Eliminates two large elementary and secondary education programs - The budget eliminates all funding for both Title II (supporting effective instruction state grants), currently funded at $2.0 billion, and 21st-century community learning centers, funded at $1.2 billion. 
  • Increases and new funding for elementary and secondary education -
    • School choice - a total of $1.1 billion, which represents new programs and increases for existing programs.  That total includes $500 million for a new school choice grant program including "expanding existing private school choice programs to serve more low-income and at-risk students," new models, and the portability of government funding to follow students to their whatever public school they choose to attend.  It also includes $500 million for public charter schools (an increase of $158 million over current funding) and $98 million for magnet schools (frozen at current levels).
    • Special education (IDEA state grants ) - $12.8 billion, an increase of more than $800 million.  Without more detail, I can't yet tell whether it is increasing or cutting special education research.
    • School Climate Transformation Grants - $43 million to help school districts implement school-based opioid abuse prevention strategies.
    • Frozen funding for elementary and secondary education programs - The budget freezes funding for career and technical education programs at $1.1 billion, and for magnet schools at $98 million.
  • Cuts and changes to higher education appropriations
    • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants - the budget eliminates this $733 million program. 
    • GEAR-UP and TRIO programs - The budget consolidates these programs and slashes their current combined $1.3 billion in funding into one $550 million state grant program.
    • Minority-Serving Institutions - The budget cuts funding for Minority-Serving Institutions by consolidating six programs into one $147.9 million formula grant program.  (Until I see more detailed information, I can't tell which programs these are and how that compares to current funding.)  Most current programs are competitive grants, not formula grants.
    • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) - The budget says it provides $642 million to support "HBCU-focused programs" - without more detail about which programs this counts, I can't compare to current funding.
    • Work Study - The budget changes the program, but I can't tell yet how much the funding is cut.
  • Cuts to student loans - In addition to the cuts to appropriations, the budget cuts $203 billion from student loan programs over ten years (FY 2019-2028).  (Note on scoring for mandatory programs: unlike changes to appropriations, which are measured by the change in budget authority from one year to the next, changes to mandatory programs are measured by how much they change spending over ten years compared with the Office of Management and Budget's baseline that projects spending under current law.  Congress's non-partisan budget estimators, the Congressional Budget Office, will re-score the President's budget using its own economic and programmatic assumptions, and I think the student loan costs will change significantly.  Congress will use CBO scoring for any legislation it proposes.)  The budget appears to grandfather existing borrowers and those in the midst of a "current course of study," with new provisions taking effect on all other loans starting in July 2019. The cuts to mandatory higher education spending are:
  • Replacing current income-driven repayment plans with one new one (cuts $128.4 billion over ten years) - The new income-driven repayment plan caps a borrower's monthly payment at 12.5 percent of discretionary income.  Undergraduate borrowers would have any remaining balance forgiven after 15 years of repayment, but the graduate-student debt would not be forgiven until after 30 years of repayment.  This is a different from the proposal in the House's proposed reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HR 4508).
  • Eliminating Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (cuts $45.9 billion over ten years) - This is also part of HR 4508.
  • Eliminating subsidized student loans (cuts $28.6 billion over ten years) - These loans are only available to undergraduates anymore.  They are subsidized in that interest does accrue while the student is in school.  This is also part of HR 4508.
  • Eliminating account maintenance fees to guaranty agencies (cuts $656 million).
  • Using existing Pell mandatory funds to support short-term training programs (uses $401 million over ten years) - The budget makes Pell grants available to students pursuing training in "high-quality short-term programs...more quickly than traditional two-year or four-year degree programs."
  • The Budget includes an Addendum that increases funding for some programs:
    • Impact Aid - an additional $525 million, which restores a large cut in the original budget
    • TRIO - an additional $400 million, which also restores a large cut in the original budget
    • School choice - an additional $500 million, bringing the total request for new grants to $1 billion.
    • Work Study - an additional $300 million, bring the total request to $500 million, which is still a cut of $490 million below current levels.
    • Pell grant rescission - the addendum eliminates the budget's $1.6 billion rescission of previously appropriated Pell grant funding.

It is important to note that the President's Budget follows upon a bi-partisan agreement to raise the discretionary caps for non-defense spending in both FY 2018 and 2019 and that the Congress has a history of disagreeing with the Administration's proposed cuts.

We must take this proposal seriously and continue to explain to Members of Congress why it is important to continue to invest in Adult Education.

Legislative Alert: February 8, 2018


The House of Representatives passed a fifth Continuing Resolution to avoid a shutdown at midnight February 8 and fund the government through March 23. The bill passed by a vote of 245-182. It provides for an increase in defense spending while freezing non-defense discretionary programs at current levels. The Senate is expected to rewrite the bill and attach a bipartisan agreement to raise the budget caps and add $80 billion a year for defense and $63 billion a year for non-defense spending for a total of $286 billion over the two fiscal years FY 2018 and FY 2019.  The Senate will then send the revised bill back to the House. The new funding is only partially offset by some cuts to mandatory programs that both the Obama and Trump Administrations had proposed. These cuts also include reduced funding for the health care prevention fund, among other offsets.      

If Congress votes to approve this bill, the Appropriations Committees will need time to rewrite their bills. Whether that can be achieved by March 23 remains to be seen.

Regardless of the outcome, we need to continue, especially at this time, to let our legislators know that Adult Education must be funded. Please take five minutes and click the "Take Action" button below. 

Legislative Update: February 2018

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Budget and Appropriations

The continuing resolution now in effect expires in 9 days. The funding situation is quite fluid as negotiators try to finally complete work on FY 2018 funding. Given their recent experience with a government shut down, it is likely that Congress will have to pass another CR of indeterminate length. That will be the fifth CR for FY 18. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), the Senate Majority Whip has been quoted as saying that Congress will need to enact still another CR before it can close the books on FY 2018.

The House will vote on a new CR next Tuesday, although reports are circulating that so-called "defense hawks" and the conservative House Freedom Caucus are threatening to vote against the bill, the former because it won't provide an increase in defense spending, and the latter because they want the House to vote on a conservative immigration proposal. If both groups persist in their opposition, and if Democrats continue to vote en masse against the CR because it doesn't contain a DACA fix, the government would close down.

Speak Up for the Love of Adult Education

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Do you love adult education? 

3 quick clicks
That is all it takes to let your mayor, governor, and Congress know that adult education is important

21,000 members strong and growing, COABE is the voice of Adult Education nationwide. Working together with you, our members through our grassroots national public awareness campaign, we have collectively had over 50,000 email and phone connections with legislators since April 2017. 

Educate and Elevate Employment Success  Story Featuring Brevard Adult Education and Career Source Brevard ​​​​​​​

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Brevard Adult Education and Career Source Brevard have a collaborative history of partnering to provide educational training, career pathways, and job opportunities for the community of Brevard County.
Over the last 3 years, Career Source Brevard, Eastern Florida State College, and Brevard Adult Education have joined forces to participate in a WIOA grant piloting their Certified Production Technician program. The program participants earned a CPT industry certification, while concurrently earning a high school diploma. Brevard Adult Education provided the GED® contextual teacher, EFSC provided the CPT teacher, and Career Source Brevard provided employability skills training and scheduled job fairs with local hiring manufacturing companies. Many members (students and local businesses) of the community benefited from this joint effort.

Additionally, Career Source Brevard holds job club meetings on Brevard Adult Education campuses. These programs help youth with educational testing and registration fees. They also provide soft skills training to Brevard Adult Education students and assist them with employment.

Recently, Career Source Brevard, Brevard Adult Education, and local registered apprenticeship programs began exploring opportunities to create an adult pre-apprenticeship program to serve as a pipeline to the regional apprenticeship programs. In this venture partnership, Brevard Adult Education will provide clients and core skill educational training, and Career Source Brevard will rally local businesses in the community to make sure they are meeting the needs of their community and business partners. Again, Brevard Adult Education and Career Source Brevard partnered to address the gap in their community. 

Career Source Brevard and Brevard Adult Education have used tools like COABE's Educate and Elevate to connect with their local legislatures and policymakers to show the direct impact that workforce education has on the economy. "It is great to have a resource like Educate and Elevate where we can readily show our lawmakers the return on investment which they always ask for," says Brevard Adult Education Director Jeff Arnott. "It is also easy for our advocates and partners to share with their constituents as well."

Brevard Adult Education and Career Source Brevard understand the urgency to pull their resources together to best meet the demands of their dynamic society. 

Read more inspirational stories like this on our Educate and Elevate campaign website www.educateandelevate.org. You can also submit your own success story HERE

Outstanding Examples of State Leadership

Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Arizona, and California

GAEA, led by Dr. Deborah Johnson, is organizing a COABE regional institute to provide targeted professional development in region 3 where the topic of apprenticeship programs working with adult ed programs will be highlighted.

PAACE Advocacy Chair, JoAnn Weinberger, regularly rallies the grassroots membership in Pennsylvania to contact their legislators. 

MAACE state association leadership worked together with their state office which provided outstanding professional development via a webinar for nearly 100 state leaders.

KYAE organized and coordinated our first state innovation strand for the COABE national conference. 

IAACE President, Robert Moore, and Past President, Sara Gutting, encouraged members in Indiana to contact their legislators to ensure Adult Education receives adequate funding.

OAACE President, Connie Shriver, will hold a webinar for members in Ohio to discuss the state grant process.

CCAE's Advocacy Committee will hold a student rally and legislative day in California to ensure funding for adult education remains intact.

AZ-AALL won the COABE State Innovation of the Year Award by developing and coordinating the Adult Ambassador Training Initiative which will be showcased at the COABE national conference. AZ-AALL is also serving as the state partner for the COAE national conference!

Does your state provide outstanding leadership? Contact sharonbonney@coabe.org to share your story!

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Highlights Educate & Elevate

In their latest article to raise awareness about the value of adult education, COABE Executive Director Sharon Bonney and NCSDAE Executive Director Pat Tyler express as a key point the need for change in the approach to, and perspective of, adult education. The article titled, "The Relevancy of Adult Education in the Workforce of Today and Tomorrow," was published as part of the U.S. Chamber's blog. Read the article here.

The piece points to the role adult education plays to alleviate the skills gap to help all Americans achieve economic and social mobility. Check out the article, and share it via social media and with your email contacts.

A second article by Bonney and Tyler, focusing on why adult education is crucial to the nation's economic future, will be published by the U.S. Chamber on February 7, 2018.

Calling All Adult Education Directors, Instructors, and Student Leaders


With generous funding provided by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, scholarship funding is available for students to attend the Ambassador Training Program at the COABE National Conference on Sunday, March 25th, as well as the first-ever sessions specifically designed for adult learners. Fill out the the Ambassador Training survey for your team. The student identified in your survey response will get a COABE scholarship covering travel and registration for the whole conference, including the preconference Ambassador Training! 

COABE is now offering new student membership for only $5. There is also a Tier 1 option, which offers free membership. Click here for more details.

Reminder about expectations and logistics:

  • The train the trainer session is designed to build teams of adult basic education student leaders and staff leaders (teacher and/or administrator) who are prepared to be advocates at the federal level.
  • The main goal is to develop student voice and leadership in advocating for adult basic education. 
  • Your program should identify at least one student, one state association member/leader, and one program staff member (e.g. teacher) to attend the training. 
  • The follow-up activities should include local trainings to help more students develop these skills and attend COABE Capitol Hill days in Washington, D.C.

For more conference details or to register click here.

We hope to see you and your adult students at this year's national conference!

Funding Available to Attend COABE Conference 2018


The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) recognizes the opportunities literacy and learning organizations provide and the challenges that are faced when working to make real and lasting change happen for students, families, and communities.

Our goal this year is to seek innovative ways to expand the National Literacy Directory‘s reach for students, practitioners, programs, and communities while continuing to celebrate and share the effective strategies being employed by Directory organizations.

We also know that in order to help families rise towards academic success and self-sufficiency, we must take time to refresh our minds, idea-share with our colleagues, and learn from the experts in our fields. That’s why the latest opportunity in the Directory’s Innovation Grant series will send a representative from two organizations to our affiliate partner Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE)’s annual conference at Sheraton Grand Phoenix in Phoenix, Arizona, on March 25-28, 2018. This grant will include registration costs and a $1,000 travel stipend.

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, February 13, 2018, at 11:59:59 PM EST. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, February 20, 2018.

Click here for eligibility requirements and to apply.

Legislative Report: January Update

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There is still a great deal of uncertainty around funding issues for FY 2018.

First, as you may recall, the continuing resolution (CR) is in effect until January 19. It is virtually guaranteed that there will need to be at least one more CR. It takes the appropriations committees about a month to write a comprehensive bill, but they can't start until they know how much money will be at their disposal. Negotiations on raising the defense and non-defense spending caps are underway, but haven't been resolved. Again, with no agreement on the top line, the committees can't move ahead.

Further complicating the situation is Congress' need to complete work on the disaster relief supplemental appropriation (to cover hurricane damage in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico and forest fires and floods in California), resolve the DACA issue and border security, and reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The House will vote on a new CR next week.

There are rumors that the Republican majority may jettison the Congressional budget process in FY 2019. This will have little effect on funding for adult education because appropriators routinely ignore the recommendations included in budget resolutions. It would, however, mean that efforts to change entitlements would likely fail, because, without the authority of the budget resolution, changes would require 60 votes in the Senate.

In other news, the Administration has yet to announce another nominee for the position of Assistant Secretary of Education for OCTAE. The Administration withdrew the name of Michigan State Representative Tim Kelly after blog posts he wrote several years ago came to light.

Let's keep up our advocacy efforts to ensure funding for adult education.