Legislative Briefing

Members of Congress and legislative staff are invited by Honorary Co-Hosts Senator Reed (D-RI), Senator Young (R-IN), Representative Yarmuth (D-KY) and Representative Grijalva (D-AZ) to attend a briefing on

Adult Education: A Catalyst for American Recovery and Growth

Thursday, February 25 at 2:00 pm EST

Today, 51.4 million adults in the United States lack basic literacy skills and 75.1 million Americans are low-skilled in numeracy. Adult education programs around the country serve these adults by providing numeracy, literacy, English language skills, digital literacy, work readiness, high school equivalency and more – all essential services, especially during an economic downturn.

Watch the briefing to learn first-hand how our nation’s adult education programs have pivoted to serve the most vulnerable students during the pandemic. During the briefing, you will hear from adult educators in the field and a current and former adult education student. Panelists will share successes and challenges with providing distance teaching/learning and upgrading their digital infrastructure in response to COVID social distancing practices. As we look ahead, adult education will be an integral piece of the recovery and growth puzzle. This briefing is your opportunity to get an inside look into adult education and we hope to see you there!

Watch Recording

Moderator and Panelists:

Sharon Bonney (Moderator), CEO of the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE), New York
Sharon Bonney began her career with COABE as a part-time administrator in 2009, moving up in the organization as she showed an unparalleled commitment to the field of adult education. Sharon has helped advance the organization on a number of fronts, including managing efforts to move it from a 1,300-member group in 2009 to 32,000+ active members in 2020. She was the guiding force behind designing and implementing a new national conference model; developing new state, national and workforce partnerships with more than 100 organizations; rebranding the COABE research journal and a related research-to-practice initiative; and designing all new professional development offerings, including webinars that engage have engaged more than 50,000 members. Read More >


Oogie LaMar, Adult Education Administrator, Michigan

Oogie LaMar has been elected to the MACAE Board in 2017 as the Advocacy Chair.  Oogie experiences includes nine years as the Director of Adult Education for the Wyoming Public Schools and the Kent ISD with an additional twelve-years as an administrator with the Wyoming Public Schools serving as Newhall Middle School Principal and Omega Alternative High School’s Dean of Students.  Prior to Oogie’s service as a K-12 administrator, he served as a college administrator at Grand Valley State University, Central Michigan University and Aquinas College.   Kent ISD’s Adult Education programs serve nearly 1200 adult learners and provide services for ESL, ABE, GED, HSC and Career and Technical Education course work.  Oogie enjoys advocating for adult learners and has testified several times for funding at the State and national levels.  He has presented throughout Michigan’s Region 4, MACAE Fall Conferences and Nationally at COABE and CASAS conferences.  He currently serves as a Board Member of Head Start for Kent County (Past President), Central Michigan University Alumni Board (Emeritus) and has served on the West Michigan Literacy Center’s Advisory Council.   He and his wife Julie have been married for 21 years and are the proud parents of two teenaged daughters (Morgan and Liza LaMar).  Oogie earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Master’s Degree in Secondary Administration from Central Michigan University.  Fire Up Chips!

Shakita Boyd, Adult Learner, Connecticut

As a young girl in New Haven, CT, Shakita Boyd loved school. She loved learning and exploring new ideas. She was active and engaged and eager. However, her mother’s fight against drug addiction meant Shakita faced years bouncing between foster homes and group homes, and despite her determination and self-advocacy, Shakita ended up dropping out of high school in 2010. Still focused on her education, Shakita repeatedly enrolled in adult education while navigating personal tragedies, predators, unemployment, and homelessness. After a move to rural CT, Shakita once again enrolled in night GED classes and found herself walking many dark miles each way to participate in class. When the pandemic forced the closure of in-person classes, Shakita took advantage of a Chromebook loan program through her adult education program in order to continue studying while simultaneously struggling toward a safe way out of an abusive relationship. As of the beginning of December, Shakita is now a proud GED graduate who is committed to being an advocate, a support, and an inspiration for others as she continues on to college to study environmental science and political science.

Dr. Meghan McBride, Former Adult Learner and Current Vice President for Adult Education at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, Georgia

Dr. Meghan McBride is a former adult learner who has worked in education since 2007. She currently serves as the vice president for adult education at Georgia Piedmont Technical College in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, where she has worked since 2018. In this position, she oversees a large program that serves more than 3,000 students annually in adult basic education, corrections, English as a Second Language (ESL), and Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IELCE) programs, as well as a testing center that offers the GED® exam and HiSET®. Read More >

Dr. Don Finn, Adult Educator and Associate Professor of Education at the Regent University School of Education, Virginia

Dr. Don Finn has been an adult educator since 1992 and currently serves as associate professor of education specializing in adult education, professional development, curriculum and instruction, and leadership at the Regent University School of Education (SOE). Don has served in a number of leadership positions at Regent University including SOE Dean (2015-2018), chair and vice chair of the university curriculum committee (2007-2015), and chairman of the SOE doctoral and curriculum & Instruction programs. Prior to joining the Regent faculty, Don participated in and led several initiatives on various projects through the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University between 1999 and 2006.  Read More >