Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Poster Paper: Shifting from Even Start to Career Pathways : Evidenced Based Family Literacy Policy Driving Organizational Change

Friday, November 13, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

M. Marie Steinbacher, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Association for Adult Continuing Education/ Public Policy committee member; Pennsylvania Department of Education
Practitioners in the field of family literacy are facing significant changes in policy and practice that impact administration of programs. Administrators of adult education and family literacy agencies are challenged by today’s dynamic climate of policy process and are responsible for identifying evidence based strategies to meet measures of accountability. Economic challenges and environmental shifts coupled with changes in educational pedagogy have created the need for the Pennsylvania Department of Education - Division of Adult Education to review policy guiding administration of state grants to programs. Current political priorities regarding literacy education have shifted and the result is a decreased public focus on family literacy. Coupled with the issue of diminished focus, a second challenge occurred in 2011 when the William F. Goodling Even Start policy, a federal public policy that provided grant funding to implement family literacy programming was terminated. Termination of Even Start policy eliminated a significant source of resources available to Pennsylvania for the administration of family literacy. Additionally, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) will require adult education and family literacy programs to collaborate for support of Career Pathways to help in the development of a highly skilled and educated workforce. This paper provides a guideline to assist family literacy practitioners in this endeavor. 

In this research project I identify a new model of family literacy service delivery, outline suggested policy revisions, and uncover areas of organizational change that will affect suggestions for policy implementation. Research examines evidence based policy to guide planning and implementation of family literacy programs focused on supporting career pathways through enactment of WIOA. I highlight support strategies for systemic implementation of new adult education policy using data on current and proposed policy. Using scholarship on organizational change I outline evidence based theories and strategies aligned with priorities and goals of the PDE for revising the family literacy model. The decision making matrix utilized to identify an evidence based model and the tools for operationalization of effective administration practice are highlighted as a framework for change management. I produce tools that administrators and practitioners may utilize as programs are tasked with shifting from a traditional model of family literacy to a model that requires collaborative efforts to effectively and efficiently deliver educational services for adult learners.      

Deliverables of the research include policy recommendations for a revised family literacy service delivery model and a process map for successful management of organizational change through implementation of public policy. The product of this research will provide a framework for future research into the field of family literacy evidenced based practice and evidenced based management of change through the policy process. Drawing on models of success for revised public policy while investigating strategies for systemic change this project lays the foundation to further practitioner understanding of the connection between policy and practice. The overarching goal of my research is to develop suggestions for managing organizational change within adult education agencies located in Pennsylvania when implementing new evidence based policy to guide family literacy service delivery.