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Adult Literacy and New Technologies - Federation of American ...

Adult Literacy and New Technologies - Federation of American ...

140 I

140 I Adult Literacy and New Technologies: Tools for a Lifetime Figure 5-2-identifiable Federal Funding for Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Education, Fiscal Years 1988-92 400 $ millions 300- 200- 100 i c)~ 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 ---- Constant $ — Current $ NOTE: Constant dollars have been calculated using the Impliat Deflator for State and Local Government Purchases of Serviees. Separate computations were made for the forward-funded programs authorized by the AEA by applying the price index for the succeeding fiscal year in which funds are appropriated. SOURCE: Office of Technology Assessment, 1993. the amount from Federal sources alone unavailable. 29 Expenditures of JOBS money for education through the high school level vary widely by State; one study found a range from $0 to over $4.8 million in fiscal year 1991. 30 JOBS expenditures on basic skills would be higher if States would “draw down” their full JOBS entitlements. 31 The SLIAG program injected significant new money into the adult literacy stream. However, the fiscal year 1992 appropriations were deferred and the authorization is slated to expire. Despite recent growth in Federal funding, the question remains as to whether the Federal Government is doing "enough" about the problem of adult illiteracy. Placing the Federal commitment in different contexts sheds some light on the issue. Although AEA funding has grown to $270 million, it still constitutes just 1 percent of the total ED budget. Compared with other multibillion-dollar programs-vocational education, special education, Chapter 1, or student aid-the AEA remains modest (see figure 5-3). And compared with the total Federal funding commitment to other multifaceted domestic problems-building the Interstate Highway System, providing Food Stamps, or preventing and treating drug abuse, to cite just a few—the $362 million in identifiable Federal expenditures for literacy appears disproportionately small (see figure 5-4). Another way of looking at spending is in the context of need for services. From 1990 to 1991, the Federal AEA programs served 3.6 million 32 — between 5 and 10 percent of the illiterate population, depending on which definitions and estimates are used. 33 This is far less, for instance, than the percentage of eligible Chapter 1 children (60 29 Wilbu Waler and 13ennis Poe, Division of Program Evaluation OffIce of Family Assistance, U.S. Department of Health ~d HUmSII Serviws, personal communication May 1, 1992. This figure does not include self-initiated edueatiom or the $300 million HHS pmvidcs in childcare for JOBS participants. 30 JSnL. ~g~~d~eLfie,]~p~e~n~ng JOBS: InitiaZState Choices (Albany, NY: The Nelson A. RockefellerInstitute of GOv-lm4 1992). 31 GAO es~t~ that in fiecid year 1992 about 38 pereent of the Federal appropriation-or nearly $372 fni.lliox+xxM y have gone unspent because States were not meeting matching requirements. See U.S. Genend Accounting Office, We~are to Work: States Begin JOBS, But FiscaZ and Other Problems May hnpede Their Progress (WashingtoxL DC: U.S. Govanment Print@ Oflicq 1991), p. 44. According to fiscal year 1993 HHS budget documents, $832 million of the $1 billion available for fiscal year 1992 was spent leaving $168 millioq or 17 percen~ unspent firm that year’s budget authority. 32 JOSII S~O~ ~tor, Division of Adult Education and Literaey, U.S. Dqamnent of Edueatio@ pasonal eommunieatiom Apr. 1,1992. AEA participation counts are based on numbers of persons receiving 12 hours of wrviees or more, and therefore include adults who arc in the pm- fOr a relatively short time or who receive serviees of lesser ti~ity. 33 U.S. &partment of E&eation, A SummarY Report: National Forums on the Adult Education Delivery System (Washir@q DC: U.S. Government Riming ~lce, 1991), p. 27.

to 70 percent) or Head Start children (30 to 60 percent, depending on the age group used) estimated to be served. 34 As the pool of adults in need of services increases by an estimated 1 million annually due to legal and illegal immigration, 35 and perhaps another 1 million due to school dropouts, it must be asked whether Federal funding is running to stay in the same place. A reliance on funding from multiple Federal sources may exacerbate the touch-and-go funding situation of many local literacy providers. Federal discretionary grants or contract letters sometimes do not arrive until well after the project period has begun, a particularly troublesome problem in competitive grant programs and in reimbursementbased programs such as JOBS and SLIAG. AEA, JOBS, and JTPA also pass through dollars on different timetables. Figure 5-3-Funding for Select Department of Education Programs, Fiscal Year 1992 * $ billions I I I J.AEZl 1.2 2.9 C7 u. [ m Adult Vocational Special Chapter 1 Student Education education education aid Act SOURCE: Office of Technology Assessment, 1993. Chapter 5-The Federal Role in Adult Literacy Education 141 6.9 Figure 5-4-Funding for Select Federal Domestic Priorities, Fiscal Year 1992 25 $ bi!lions 1 22 20 1I 17 15 10 5 0 Adult Substance Highway Food literacy abuse aid stamps SOURCE: Office of Technology Assessment, 1993. The situation is further complicated because some Federal programs are forward-funded (grantees know the amount of their awards before the beginnin g of the year in which the funds are obligated); some are current-year funded (funds arrive during the fiscal year); and some operate on a reimbursement basis (agencies receive reimbursements for funds they have already spent). State programs may operate on a different fiscal year than the Federal fiscal year, confusing the situation still more. 36 Finally, Federal programs have different provisions for carrying over unobligated funds. AEA funds can be carried over for 27 months and JTPA funds for an additional 2 years. JOBS does not allow funds to be carried over but permits obligated funds to be liquidated during the 12 months following the end of the fiscal year. ~ Jeffrey McFarland, U.S. Congress, House Committee on Education and Labor, Subcommittee on Elementary, SeCOndaIY, and V~tiO~ Educatioq personal communicatio~ Dec. 5, 1991; and ‘Rmy Deshler, U.S. Congress, House Committee on Education and Labor, Subcommittee on Human Resources, personal cmununicatio~ Dec. 5, 1991. 35 (,megd ~=tiom~~ CQ Researchm, vol. 2, No. 16, Apr. 24, 1~, PP. 363, 3fi” 36 some s~tc~, ~ch ~ mm, have put w the~ Pmgm on the -e p- cycle, reg~dl~s Of Whm the state gets the do~.

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