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Locating Adult Literacy Programs In Regular Schools and Adult Education Centers: What the Learners Have to Say (page 1)
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Finding appropriate and affordable classroom facilities is an ongoing problem for adult literacy programs. Renting less expensive space in an adult education center, or accessing a free classroom in a regular school, would seem an ideal solution. This article examines adult literacy learners' opinions of these alternatives, in order to add a crucial dimension to the facility selection process. The data reported are from a qualitative study of adult literacy programs in western Canada. All given names are pseudonyms. The term regular school refers to a private or public grade school building. The term adult education center refers to a building that houses adult academic and/or vocational courses.

Overview of the Literature

While regular schools have stable and substantial government funding, adult education programs are notoriously underfunded (Butterworth, 1996; Hayes, 1997; Sticht, 1995). Adult basic education and literacy programs' reliance on temporary grants is well documented (Blaxter, 1999; Mulcrone, 1993; Parker, 1990). Quigley (2001) asserts, "Few in the public domain know that funding is woefully inadequate compared with any other educational system" (p. 56). In Manitoba, Canada, community-based literacy programs can apply for ongoing funding from the provincial government, but at much lower levels of fiscal support than regular schools or post-secondary institutions (Darville, 1992).

The adult education literature also attends to the role that physical settings play in the learning process. Yates (1999) stresses the need to provide adult education in adult learning centers, blaming the associations that adults make between school settings and past schooling failures for adults' reluctance to attend literacy and adult basic education programs in regular schools. Hoddinott (1998) affirms that adult education facilities "are important because they reflect the conditions under which Literacy and Adult Basic Education services are delivered and the value which we, as a society, attach to both the services and the clientele" (pp. 137-138). Physical settings are thus an integral part of what Sokol and Cranton (1998) refer to as the "psychosocial ambiance" (p. 15) of learning environments.


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