New Year’s Message

As we head into the new year, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your membership in our organization, the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE). As our membership grows, so does our impact! We came together in solidarity and were able to not only stave off proposed funding cuts, but also move the needle for increased funding (a feat we had not seen in many years)! As a field we were able to gain long overdue recognition from legislators, funders, and business and industry as we showcased the value and benefit of our services through Educate and Elevate, the 8 time award-winning public awareness campaign that so many of you participated in at the local, state, and national level. Thank you for taking action and working along side our organization to impact legislation and funding!

This year also saw the launch of our new adult learner membership option, the new student led Ambassador Program which has been adopted in 18 states, and the new “Student Voice” strand at the COABE conference! All of these were “firsts” for our field and for our organization, and as yet another first, we have set up membership so that it is now FREE to all adult learners. We encourage you to onboard as many adult learners as you would like, so that we can even more effectively raise our voices together for adult education.

We also met together frequently, in numerous settings, to tune up and add to our skill set as we learned from each other in various settings including the 50+ webinars on a myriad of topics over the past year. Many of these opportunities were provided free of charge, with thanks to our partners and funders who generously sponsor our efforts such as the Manager Mondays which focused on giving local program administrators the skills they need to effectively run their  programs, the topical monthly webinars, the virtual conference, and of course our signature national conference which features the greatest “coming together” in the field of adult ed! We are also truly grateful for the 36 national  strand partners and 47 state partners who contribute to the success of the conference. We hope that you too participated in a few of the professional development opportunities developed by and for our members. As well, I want to encourage you to register for the 2019 COABE Conference and make your hotel reservations as quickly as possible to ensure you have a room at the conference. We anticipate this will be our largest conference yet!

Also this year, we launched the newly rebranded and revised COABE Journal  which focused on Career Pathways and also provided a way for our members to share best practices, research, and view point essays. So many of you contributed in various ways, and I want to thank our managing editor, Judy Mortrude, our journal chair and president elect, Dr. Donald Finn, and our dedicated staff for working closely with me on this exciting endeavor!

I also have the distinct pleasure of welcoming to the fold our first international large group membership, which is comprised of all the adult educators in the country of Kenya! The Secretary of Education contacted COABE, wanting to form a partnership after seeing our Educate and Elevate public awareness campaign. 

In the coming year, we also hope to focus on a number of new initiatives, including our new Prison Literacy Initiative and our Workforce Initiative. Stay tuned for exciting updates!

In closing, on behalf of our dedicated Board, led by Board President, Kaye Sharbono, and our dedicated staff, I want to wish you and yours a happy and prosperous New Year!


Sharon Bonney
Executive Director