Spring 2019 Newsletter

Spring 2019 Newsletter

May-June 2019

Volume 2, Issue 2

Spring 2019 Newsletter

  The Open Door Collective (ODC) assists poverty reduction initiatives to take advantage of, expand, or improve adult basic skills services to meet the needs and broaden the economic opportunities of low-income adults. We advocate for effective policies and program designs that will reduce poverty, narrow income inequality, and provide free basic skills education for all adults in the United States. Improved policies and programs will enable adults living in poverty to increase their incomes as well as enjoy more economic stability and better health. These outcomes will diminish the need for social services, increase tax revenues, and lower overall healthcare costs. Expanded adult basic skills services will, therefore, pay for themselves.

Steering Committee Members

John Comings             john.comings@gmail.com
Margaret Patterson margaret@researchallies.org
Jen Vanek                    Jen_vanek@worlded.org
Eric Nesheim              enesheim@mnliteracy.org
Steve Reder                stevereder@gmail.com
David J. Rosen            djrosen123@gmail.com
Gwenn Weaver          gwwork50@gmail.com

See http://www.opendoorcollective.org/steering-committee.html  for details on Steering Committee members

ODC Issues Groups

  • Workforce Development and Labor
  • Public Libraries, Digital Inclusion
  • Community Health and ABE
  • Safety Net Services Advocacy
  • Criminal Justice Reform
  • Immigrant and Refugee Education Integration
  • Public K-12 Education and Intergenerational Literacy
  • Digital Inclusion
  • The Well-being of Older Adults and Adult Basic Skills
  • Affordable Housing for Low-income Adults and Basic Skills

   ODC's mission is to help adult basic skills advocates make common cause with advocates for other issues (health, employment, incarceration, libraries, etc.) in order to build an integrated approach to ending poverty. The ODC advocacy issues groups, therefore, are the engines of ODC's efforts. They produce advocacy papers, presentations, and videos that set out the common cause within each ODC issue group. We do this because we believe that the efforts taking place within other issue areas will be more successful if adult basic skills advocates and practitioners support them and they support adult basic skills. In addition, we believe that an integrated approach to ending poverty that includes adult basic skills and all of the other issues groups is the only way to be successful.

Membership Committee

   ODC membership has reached over 100 people. 

Issues Groups and Task Force Updates

​Labor and Workforce Development

   In the past three months, LWDI group members and colleagues have:

  • Made two successful presentations at the COABE 2019 Conference on “How Basic Skills Services Can Support Family-Sustaining Employment and Stronger Communities.”  (See documents)
  • Prepared two new “Can-Do” Guides to increase collaboration between adult basic educators and:
    • “Eco-Partners” (i.e., supporters of environmental sustainability, including environmental service providers and educators, “green job” employers and unions ...);
    • “Health Partners” (health service providers and educators, healthcare employers and unions...)

   These new documents are the fifth and sixth in a series of similar ODC Guides. Please read, use, and share them, although note that the "Eco-Partners” and “Health Partners ”Can-Do" Guides are still in draft form. They will be updated soon.

For further information, please contact LWDI Group Chair, Paul Jurmo.

Public Libraries and Adult Basic Skills​

  The American Library Association (ALA) releases new Libraries' Guide to the 2020 Census

Digital Inclusion Issues

   T-Mobile has opened up its contracts with states and the federal GSA to nonprofits. This means that nonprofits have access to an 18% discount on service. If you pay T-Mobile directly you can use this discount to provide service to those you serve. They do not have a system for those you serve to pay T-Mobile directly. Their prices are in the attached PDF.  To discuss in detail, contact: Ryan.Lopes1@T-Mobile.com   ​As of March, 2018, eight completed Make the Case papers have been published on the ODC website under the “ODC Papers” tab.


Evidence-Based Adult Education System (E-BAES)

   At the spring 2019 COABE conference, the Open Door Collective (ODC) hosted a meeting of approximately 35 researchers, administrators, and practitioners, with a purpose of considering the viability of developing an evidence-based adult education system (E-BAES) for the field. To introduce the topic, context for considering development of E-BAES was presented. Key pieces of that context were: (1) research in adult education is under-resourced; (2) the current federal education research/evidence agenda supporting most research funding in adult education has a narrow focus that does not comprehensively address research to support broader needs of adult learners and programs; (3) components of other effective evidence-based frameworks (e.g., a framework employed by NCSALL) may be viable to meet the need; (4) ODC and other organizations in adult education have expressed an interest in developing a new evidence-based research framework and finding funding (not necessarily federal) to support the framework.

   After this introduction to the topic and to ODC, meeting participants divided into five groups to brainstorm ideas on a potential vision for E-BAES and decide whether they would be in favor of supporting such a system. Most participants were in favor; the remainder offered a “maybe” under certain conditions. Most or all groups reached consensus on:

  • The importance of adult learner needs and voice when planning research
  • A need to identify the audience for the research
  • A need to determine what to research and how to research it
  • The intersection of research with professional development to support adult education practice
  • Considerations for funding an evidence-based system

    As of early May 2019, more than 130 researchers / administrators / practitioners from 39 states and one territory have indicated interest in being involved in development of E-BAES.

   Eric Nesheim and Margaret Patterson are co-leading ODC follow-up activities and will continue to gather input from the field. A summary of input from the initial meeting is being finalized. A follow-up meeting will be planned for the ProLiteracy Conference in September offering further discussion and updates on progress. Moving this initiative forward will require significant involvement from the field. To sign up to volunteer or just to stay informed, please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ebs-for-abe.

National Partnerships Task Force​

    This new task force, chaired by David J. Rosen, met on May 15th, with the broad goal of exploring new ODC partnerships with national organizations that are “stakeholders” in adult literacy and basic skills education but that may not provide direct services; these include affordable housing, community service, workforce development, anti-poverty work, and other areas. Currently the ODC has one partnership; we are an affiliate of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance. The main focus of this partnerships task force now is identifying and arranging meetings with representatives of a small number of key national organizations.  For more information, contact David at djrosen123@gmail.com 

Opening the Door to Opportunity for Everyone!