DC Adult & Family Literacy Coalition

Why DC needs more adult education programs?Adult Education in DC

By 2018, more than 70% of jobs in the District will require some post-secondary education or training, yet an estimated 80,000 adults, including 60,000 without a high school credential, lack the basic math, English language, digital and problem-solving skills. As a matter of fact, one in three adults in DC cannot read a newspaper, a map or complete a job application. Moreover, research shows that adults with low literacy skills are more likely to live in poverty; thus more likely to be in need of social services.

In fiscal year 2013, just over 8100 individuals were served through four different DC education agencies. Others were served through human services, workforce development, corrections and/or youth services. In other words, we are serving far too few in a patchwork system of services that is both inefficient and ineffective. Building career pathways for these DC adults to succeed requires a District-wide commitment to a systemic change and bringing together all of the different agencies serving adult learners.

Who is DC Adult & Family Literacy Coalition (AFLC)?

DC Adult & Family Literacy Coalition is an alliance of adult learners, educators, advocates, public and private program providers, foundations and individuals from the District of Columbia to promote more effective adult education. One of our goals is to develop ways for the adult education community to share best practices in DC areas. This committee was created to facilitate that sharing. We focus on sharing best practices in assessment, teaching, curriculum development, management, and more.

Vision: All adult residents of the District of Columbia will have the literacy, math and technology skills they need to meet their career and life goals.  The city will have a high-quality, easy-to-access system of education for adults who do not yet have these skills.

Mission: To advance the cause of literacy, numeracy and technology skills for all adults in DC by advocating for policy that supports these goals, sharing best practices and raising public awareness of adult & family literacy. We believe all adult residents of the District of Columbia should have the literacy, math and technology skills to meet their career and life goals. We also believe that the city should have a high quality, easy to access system of education for adults who do not yet have these skills.

Committees: We advance our mission through the work of three committees: Adult & Family Education Awareness, Best Practices, and Public Policy.  A Steering Committee is responsible for the overall direction of the coalition and for coordinating the work of the committees.

What DC Adult & Family Literacy Coalition wants?

Research shows that adult learners with basic skills at or above the 6th grade level benefit from programs that integrate basic skills instruction with career content and helps adult learners make the transition to further educational opportunities. The District must invest in practices that connect adults with beginning-level literacy, math and digital skills.

We want to offer those residents an educational platform by

  • Setting a goal for the District to adopt a citywide initiative to ensure every adult learner has access to a career pathway by 2020.
  • Establishing a cross-agency task force to develop and implement a strategic plan for connecting basic skills programs to career pathways, and provide funding for the Workforce Investment Council to convene and staff it. ($175,000)
  • Creating an innovation fund to help the task force pilot, evaluate, and then plan to expand proven career pathway approaches ($1 million)
  • Continuing in fiscal year 2015 intra-district transfer of $4.1 million from the Department of Employment Services to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s Adult & Family Education programs. This money would provide adult learners the literacy services needed to gain their basic reading and math skills.


For more information, please contact

Evita Smedley

Adult & Family Literacy Coalition


Riley Grime

Adult Education & Family Literacy Awareness Group


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