Advocacy Alerts

A learner works at the computer.

May 10, 2017

Updates on current activity:  

  • On May 8, the Minnesota Legislature sent Gov. Mark Dayton a budget bill that did not cut growth in adult basic education (ABE) funding, nor did it give ABE the additional funding that we requested – and need. Even more troubling is that some community-based organizations (CBOs) are lobbying to receive special targeted funding. We told Gov. Dayton we are disappointed that no new funding was provided for the ABE funding formula, and we STRONGLY OPPOSE any efforts to provide special targeted funding for any specific CBO. We believe any funding provided must equitably benefit the entire ABE field.
  • On May 1, U.S. Congress passed a continuing resolution to fund the federal government for the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year that did not markedly cut funding for ABE programming or AmeriCorps. However, funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal service responsible for AmeriCorps, was reduced by about $65 million. This victory was empowered by your voices – thank you!
  • In the meantime, we have less than five months to prepare for our next big national challenge. On September 30, 2017, funding for the federal government will expire and a new budget for fiscal year 2018 will need to take its place. The White House’s proposed budget cuts funding for CNCS entirely and puts funding for ABE on the chopping block, as well.

As always, use the activity log on our website to record the action you have taken so we can keep track of where our efforts are succeeding and where more work needs to be done.



April 25, 2017

The two organizations we look to for leadership, Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) and National Council of the State Directors of Adult Education, launched "Educate and Elevate." This joint public awareness campaign unites our voices and continues to build momentum against the White House budget cuts threatening adult education funding.

Educate and Elevate ensures that – for the first time since this fight began – teachers, students, lawmakers and other supporters of adult basic education (ABE) can easily stand together and work from the same platform. This is our chance to put our new platform to good use and show lawmakers that an investment in ABE is an investment in America’s future.

Please visit the Educate and Elevate website to learn more about ways you can get involved. 



March 29, 2017

The literacy council is joining a national coalition and advocacy campaign to ensure that members of Congress do not approve a devastating cut to adult education. The message to share with your representatives is NO CUTS IN ADULT EDUCATION. Read the campaign's key messages and see tips for your letter or phone call!

Adult learners can get involved, too!
Scott Hall, Adult Basic Education Supervisor at the Hubbs Center in St. Paul, just informed me that Hubbs students have already sent nearly 800 thank you cards to local and national legislators. Kudos to them. Find out what student letters should include...

What's motivating this?
As we mentioned previously, the Trump administration’s initial budget proposed a cut of 13.5% in the U.S. Department of Education for fiscal year 2018. While adult education was not specifically mentioned in the proposal, we anticipate that the complete budget, which will be released in mid-May, will include the cut of 13.5% for adult education along with most other education programs.

A cut of this size would cause tremendous harm to adult education programs and students across the country. As adult educators, volunteers and friends of adult education, we each have the responsibility to take swift and decisive action to ensure that the proposed cut is not enacted.

Please let us know the action you've taken
If possible, please inform me how many letters/calls you and your students (if applicable) have logged  – and to whom. This will help us monitor how much we have done and where we need to focus our efforts. You can easily share your action with me through this webform.

This may well be the most important action you can take this year to support adult basic education. Thank you for being an advocate for our students!



March 16, 2017

The White House released its “skinny” budget on Thursday. This version doesn’t include much detail, but it is clear that our concerns were legitimate. While there is a lot to be concerned about in this budget, I’ll stick to issues that affect literacy and education.

  • As suspected, the White House budget proposes to eliminate the Corporation for National and Community Service, or CNCS (VISTA, AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, etc.).
  • There are severe cuts to job training programs funded through the Department of Labor.
  • The budget contains deep, across-the-board cuts to the Department of Education and though there isn’t specific detail, we are assuming at a minimum a 13.5% cut to adult basic education.
  • The cuts also include a number of valuable public school programs, (teacher training, out-of-school-time and work-study, TRIO and GEAR UP programs for low-income/first generation college-bound students), while at the same time increasing funding for private school vouchers and charter schools.
  • Scores of programs and agencies that offer aid and support to adult learners and families have been cut or eliminated in the President’s budget.

This Washington Post article breaks it down nicely:

Action Steps
Please call your members of Congress to let them know you support adult basic education and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Be polite, but I believe an "all caps-style" message is warranted here: “DON’T CUT ABE OR CNCS.”

Letters and emails also make a difference, as do visits to local offices of the members. Check out our tips on communicating with legislators plus data for making your case.



February 20, 2017

According to the White House budget office, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which finances AmeriCorps VISTA programs, is one of nine agencies slated for possible elimination in the upcoming budget year as part of an effort to “reorder the government and increase spending on defense and infrastructure.” Read the New York Times article.

In Minnesota, a large portion of that resource goes to literacy efforts, both for adults and children – and yes, the Minnesota Literacy Council receives CNCS funding. Eliminating this agency would constitute a devastating blow to our work and destroy a program that has helped millions of people. It is imperative we act now to express strong support for CNCS.

Action steps

To learn more about the impact of our VISTA program, visit our VISTA page or watch this 5-minute video to see the program through a child's eyes.

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January 30, 2017

The Minnesota Literacy Council has successfully advocated for the cause throughout our 45-year history. With the uncertainty that a change in a political administration brings, there is new urgency in our advocacy efforts. 
I like to say, “Change is good… as long as it’s good.” We want you to be aware when we hear of a change that isn’t congruent with our mission, vision and values.

Our approach
Our approach to public policy work has been to promote collaboration and build partnerships. But the bottom line is that people – and lots of them – are what really affect change. By reading this, you're taking a first step in becoming part of this movement!
Past results
Advocacy does make a difference. Two significant accomplishments resulting from our advocacy efforts include:

  • Increasing the Adult Basic Education government funding formula. ...READ MORE
  • Changing an antiquated AmeriCorps VISTA policy. ...READ MORE

A call to action
As you no doubt know, President Trump issued an executive order on Friday temporarily banning refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. At this time, I am urging you to educate yourself.

Though not directly related to our legislative agenda, here are some links to information about the executive order and how it may affect our student population.

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