Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sir Ken Robinson on Elluminate

Steve Hargadon interviewed Sir Ken Robinson last night on Elluminate, with over 400 people (mostly educators) in attendance from all over the world. A lively chat accompanied the talk, along with a Twitter conversation using #edchat. You can view the recording or just listen to the audio, and the audio would be fine, there wasn't much visually except a grainy video of Sir Ken.

Sir Ken is all about finding your passion and developing it, and how schools kill that passion if it isn't about math or English language arts. He has some good stories, and is promoting his new book, The Element. You can also watch his TED Talk from 2006 which has now been downloaded several million times.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Twitter at COABE

Last year I was the lonely tweeter at the COABE conference. This year, and the combined COABE/Proliteracy conference there were at least 10 of us - progress!! Go to Twitter and search for the tag #chgo10 to check out the conference. #adulted will also give some good results.

Budget Cuts to California Adult Education Programs

Next year, 2010-11, is not looking good for adult education in California. This is the second year that adult education has been in Tier 3 of the education budget, meaning that districts will receive the same amount of adult education funding that they received in 2007-08, but they are not required to run the program. The first year, many districts were able to backfill their budget deficits with reserves, including adult education reserves, and with federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, but this year there is no more ARRA funding and in many districts reserves are already spent, so they are looking for ways to make cuts.

OTAN has created a Budget Cuts Wiki page to keep track of news articles from around the state about how the budget cuts are affecting districts and local agencies. It's mostly sad news, but it's helpful to see that this crisis is not specific to any one program or district. It is pretty much across the board.

Three Funding Opportunities

Here are three funding opportunities I learned about at the COABE/Proliteracy conference in Chicago:

1. Adult Numeracy Instruction Professional Development Program - will be announced soon. Two states will be chosen to participate in the pilot of this professional development. Each state will train a team of two instructors and one administrator from 10 agencies. For more information, contact Kathy Chernus at MPR Associates, kchernus at

2. Teaching Excellence in Adult Literacy (TEAL)- up to 12 states will be selected through a competitive application process to receive intensive professional development and technical assistance on research-based practices in effective instruction, beginning with a focus on proven strategies in writing instruction for ABE Learners. State Directors of Adult Education have received applications by email this month. Applications are due in May. States will be selected by June 2010. There is a wee bit of information online, and the contact for more information is Mary Ann Corley at AIR, mcorley at

3. US Citizenship and Immigration Services is offering $4.5 million in grants to agencies for expanding local capacity to prepare legal residents for citizenship. There are also grants for increasing "the capacity of members or affiliates of national, regional, or statewide organizations to offer citizenship services in underserved communities." These grants must have between 2 and 4 "sub-applicants." There will be five of these $500K 2-year grants.