Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

old friends, brilliant careers

Another person from a past phase of my brilliant career that I got to hang out with in Ottawa is Norm Beach, adult english as a second language teacher, anti-poverty campaigner and environmental activist extraordinaire. We worked together at the Toronto District School Board and at CUPE 4400.

Norm is embarking on a new phase in his actually brilliant career. He is taking a four-over-five sabbatical and is using the year to write. Here are a couple of things that are online.

Missing piece of poverty picture

Adult education, the key to helping many parents improve their families' lives, hasn't even been near the radar screen in the public debate about schools and poverty.
Medicine to treat the eco-blues
I admit it doesn't make sense that I would glare at a discarded Coke can rather than the drivers pumping toxic chemicals into my lungs. But I can't blame every harried commuter stuck in a traffic jam, especially since I've been one myself. And Coke cans don't glare back.


Wendell Dryden said...

"...the lives of parents whose language or literacy barriers keep their children stuck in the poverty trap."

Ever so gently, I want to say, again, that low literacy is not the cause of poverty.

The two correlate, yes. But it is, at best, unclear which way the causal relationship runs. Of all the Health Canada "health determinants", improvement in income is the one most likely to scaffold improvements in the others.

Health care, personal security, emotional support, clean living and working environments and, yes, support for personal educational improvement, can all be purchased if only the income is there.

When, in my province, an employer (or union) decide a GED is necessary for a job, irrespective of the job's normal requirements, a barrier is created and someone gets stuck in poverty. But the choice is political - not educational - and it will take a different political choice about the (re-)distribution of Canada's wealth to restore the opportunity to escape poverty to significant numbers of people.

literacies publisher said...

Wendell - you read everything! I agree wholeheartedly. I sometimes feel trapped by the literacy-causes-poverty argument - or by the learning-to-read-will-raise-both-you and-everyone-you-know-out-of-poverty argument. I think I know why people say that but I do not find it helpful at all, in fact quite the opposite. On the other hand, I think that the way newcomers with academic qualifications view it is quite different.

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