I am excited to have been selected as the Correctional & Reentry Education Moderator for this community of practice. Please feel free to let me know if there is a topic, area of interest, program, or discussion that you think would be helpful for our field. Looking forward to working with everyone. Jeff A
Welcome to the moderator team. It's great to have you lead this group and your expertise is invaluable when developing strategies for corrections education and re-entry services.
It's great to have you as a LINCS moderator focused on a topic for which you have such vast experience, Jeff! I look forward to learning a lot from you and the other members of the Correctional and Reentry Education Community.
Take care, Susan Finn Miller
Moderator, English Language Acquistion CoP
Thanks for the kind words. One of my goals is to build this incredible community with those doing incredible work and those wanting to learn. Please let me know if there are any topics or issues you would like us dive into. Jeff A
I join the group of well wishers as you embark on moderating this community, Jeff. You have so much to offer this group. You have an amazing story, and I so appreciate your humility in sharing it. I wish you and this community well!
I have done some professional development (PD) on high school equivalency instruction for the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP), and I have always felt inadequate in doing so. What advice would you offer PD providers when they train FBOP staff?
Steve Schmidt, Moderator
Reading and Writing COP
Thanks for the question and as one who taught inside the BOP, only as an inmate, I wear a rather unique pair of glasses. When training FBOP staff we should encourage educators to look deeper into the student that sits in the classroom and see what their past experiences in their childhood education systems were like as they grew up. Many barriers and challenges that students face come from childhood learning experiences that might not have been so effective, and could have had long term effects. Alternative forms of learning experiences, like contextualized learning to keeps students engaged and should be explored by educators. If students can relate to carpentry, they might have a better chance grasping the concepts of fractions. Finally, men and women behind our prison walls sometimes need a bit of encouragement, support, and the proverbial "nice job". A little encouragement and direction can go a long way in not only getting better learning results, but in building a better educator.
Professional development providers should consider using student success stories and failures (live if possible) to make our correctional education system better. It is said that "those closest to the problem, are often closest to the solution". Hope this helps.
Jeff and everyone,
Here are some topics that those involved in re-entry-related education might be interested in (pardon if these have previously been covered!):
(1) Funding sources (including both public- and private-sector sources) to support education for individuals with criminal records (including incarcerated, previously incarcerated, or never incarcerated);
(2) How local and state Workforce Investment Boards can support re-entry ed;
(3) How adult educators can work with local re-entry service providers (through community or county re-entry task forces, referral arrangements, guest speakers, etc.);
(4) Case studies of various models of re-entry education programs which customize education to the multiple challenges returning citizens face (e.g., not just "getting a GED" but dealing with lack of housing (and reluctant landlords), lack of driver's license, broken family relationships, physical and mental health issues, reluctant employers, lack of employment history .......);
(5) Re-entry ed for various populations of returning citizens (e.g., women and mothers, men and fathers, those with limited English proficiency, youth, older adults, individuals with health-- including substance abuse -- problems and/or disabilities....)
(6) What the adult education field and other stakeholders have said about the why's and how's of re-entry education over the past four decades. (This is not a new issue. There have been many studies, policy papers, initiatives, etc. about this topic going back to at least the 1980s. What can we learn from them so we don't continually re-discover this issue and reinvent the wheel?)
Thanks for your leadership on these vital topics. If our field really wants to make a difference in adult learners' lives -- and in the well-being of their families and communities -- re-entry education should be a priority. It is linked to so many other importance issues (e.g., public health, public safety, economic and community development, children's success in school, .......), all of which have social justice roots.
Thanks Paul for some great ideas. I will be reaching out to see if you might be willing to help bring some of these issues to the our LINCS community. We have much work to do and I am looking forward to connecting. Thanks again. Jeff A