Description/Abstract of your Event:
The history of adult basic education has been defined in part by an association with movements for social, racial and economic justice. Adult basic education students and teachers have long understood the transformational nature of literacy and English language skills, often risking their lives to engage in learning and teaching. In recent times, national and international education policy and discourse has worked to narrowly redefine adult education as an issue of workforce development. Weaknesses in the economy are blamed on adults who supposedly lack skills while structural issues within capitalism are ignored. The training adults get explicitly rejects connections between the classroom and political activity as it works to marginalize efforts to develop critical consciousness and strategic capacities. The panelists in this session will each present a brief analysis of current crises in adult education and highlight ways that some students, teachers and programs remain engaged in critical political work around class, race and immigration politics. The panelists will address federal adult education policy in the United States, ways to address racism within adult education and education for undocumented students. After these brief presentations, those in attendance will be asked to share their own experience and analyses and to join with the panelists to articulate additional possibilities for re-asserting the critical potential of adult basic education.