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Adult Basic Education

Contact: Jon M. Kerr
State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
1300 Quince St SE
P.O. Box 42495
Olympia, WA 98504-2495
Telephone: (360) 704-4326
E-mail: jkerr@sbctc.edu

State Website: www.sbctc.edu

Local Link: http://www.sbctc.ctc.edu/college/e_abe.aspx

Participation: 59,295 participants were served by the Adult Basic Education program between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.

Who is Served: To be eligible for Adult Basic Education, participants must meet the following requirements:

• Be at least 16 years old; and not enrolled or required to be enrolled in secondary school under state law; and have academic needs below the high school completion level or be unable to speak, read, or write the English language.

The minimum components of an ABE Program in Washington are described here:  http://www.sbctc.ctc.edu/college/e_abe.aspx

Program Description: Adult Basic Education provides adult education and literacy services—including workplace literacy, family literacy, English literacy, and/or Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST)—to help adults:

  • Become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment, transfer to postsecondary education (I-BEST), and self-sufficiency.
  • Earn a high school level credential.
  • Gain necessary skills and obtain college credits, certificates, and degrees with direct meaning in the job market.
  • Obtain the educational skills necessary to become full partners in the educational development of their children.

Adult literacy, family learning, workplace skills enhancement, English language instruction, citizenship classes integrated with English literacy, basic skills education, I-BEST, high school equivalency preparation, and similar programs are all part of the state’s Adult Basic Education services.

 These activities help adults practice, learn from, and master the skills and strategies required for responsible citizenship, productive employment, and family self-sufficiency.

Other Program Characteristics: Adult Basic Education programs are provided by the state’s 34 community and technical colleges and by 10 community-based organizations. The Adult Education Advisory Council has adopted updated performance goals, Adult Learning Standards, and a statewide standardized assessment system that are applicable to all providers. Service providers have developed broad-based, community-wide literacy programs using a variety of funding sources. For example, providers enter into local agreements to deliver basic skills for participation in WorkFirst, refugee resettlement and job training programs, as well as for inmates of state and local correction facilities.

Low-income, low-skill adults needing basic skills and employment skills are now successfully being served by I-BEST. This intensive effort is a national model and puts a professional technical instructor as well as an ABE/ESL instructor in the classroom at the same time.

Student Achievement Initiative: In 2006, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges adopted a System Direction with an overall goal to “raise the knowledge and skills of the state’s residents” by increasing educational attainment across the state. The Student Achievement Initiative is a new performance funding system for community and technical colleges. Its purposes are to both improve public accountability by more accurately describing what students achieve from enrolling in our colleges each year, and to provide incentives through financial rewards to colleges for increasing the levels of achievement attained by their students. It represents a shift from funding entirely for enrollment inputs to also funding meaningful outcomes. Learn more: http://www.sbctc.ctc.edu/college/e_studentachievement.aspx

Program History: The federal adult education legislation enacted in 1965 was a turning point in services for adults with low literacy and English language skills.That law identified instructional goals for adults based on the skills and knowledge needed to carry out the functions of adult lives.In 1991, Washington’s Legislature moved state leadership for the federal program from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges and created a governor-appointed Adult Education Advisory Council.Both actions recognized the role that community and technical colleges play as primary providers and a new understanding of the growing importance of these adults to the future of our state, communities and workforce. The Workforce Investment Act of 1998, Title II refined the focus of Adult Basic Education and increased attention on the importance of expanding postsecondary education and training opportunities to Washington’s emerging workforce.

Planning Cycle: Annually, with a multi-year state plan.

State Core Measures: See Workforce Training Results at http://www.wtb.wa.gov/WashingtonStateCoreMeasures.asp

Other Outcome Measures: Each Adult Basic Education provider must propose and report quarterly rates for participants to:

• Demonstrate improvements in literacy skill levels in reading, writing, and speaking the English language; math skills; English language acquisition, and other literacy skills.

• Enroll in, retain, or complete postsecondary education, further training, unsubsidized employment, or career advancement.

• Earn a secondary school diploma or a GED certificate.

Funding and Regional Division: Funds are allocated among six funding areas in a ratio representing populations needing these services and the existing levels of service in each area. The current plan emphasizes increasing enrollment and improving student achievement by maintaining an Adult Basic Education presence throughout the state, fostering a local and regional fit between services and needs, demonstrating a commitment to direct and equitable access, and ensuring continuity of services for existing students. Each applicant for state and/or federal funding must compete with all other eligible applicants within his or her funding area. Competition is based on responses to the 12 criteria specified in WIA Title II, plus a budget item added by the state.

State Funding: $85,212,134 (July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014). Primarily from SBCTC’s allocation to colleges.

Federal Funding: $9,178,602 (July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014). U.S.  Department of Education.

Statutory Authority: Federal–Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, Title II of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), P.L. 105-220, C.F.D.A. 84.0002. State–RCW 28B.50, WAC 180-72.

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