Response to Scott Murray's webinar for CLLN.
I believe Scott Murray is talking the economic talk that I had been advised was necessary for the literacy community to learn to do in order to reach policy makers ears - because they are now economists. Remember when our prime ministers used to be lawyers? Now they are economists! It was at the BC Conference where this advice was given. I heard it but not wanting to ever talk economist talk, I just stored it but let that one really slide.
This is the second time I have heard Scott Murray speak and my reaction is the same each time. I ask myself who is his audience? It has to be economists and politicians and policy makers. It isn't me, because the message I receive each time I hear Scott Murray speak is that we adult educators and the learners we work with are losers, failures, not making any impact, doomed to fail even more down the road. I saw a chat goodbye in the event that said the presentation was scary. That's how I felt the first time I heard Scott Murray speak at a Cesba event. To be honest, the way Scott Murray delivers his message is not something I want to hear nor do I feel I need to hear.
What does come through for me is the fact that funding needs to be invested in Level 1 and 2 students. That employers need to realize this because lots of Level 1 and 2 students are working and could be upskilled in literacy right in their workplace - that this is a good investment strategy. I think Scott Murray's message says this. I can support this message. I think his message also says that investment at the higher Level 4/5 end can be less and for a shorter duration. So for me that means that colleges should be getting less and community-based literacy programs getting way more. And perhaps that community-based literacy programs could be supported in working more closely with the employers of the students in their programs to ensure seamless and supported literacy upskilling opportunities at that level. I could support that.
I heard Craig Alexander speak on CBC radio last night before he was to get his Diamond Jubilee Award for his literacy advocacy work - and I have to say that it was heartening to hear him sort of get it right and talk about his colleagues and friends - those at the monied tables of power - not really understanding the reality of the literacy needs in Canada. I do think that voices at those tables need to be vocal and championing the cause. If they have to speak some of that economist language to do so, then so be it. Don't get me wrong, it's not my talk and I won't learn the language - but sometimes it may be the only language that is heard.
I am not justifying the IALSS or PIAAC data or process or results. I understand the purpose they are meant to serve and don't buy the message or support the capitalist/globalist structure they serve. DataAngel has worked with that data and come to his conclusions. CLLN is supporting the distribution of that data and promoting the message. Is the outcome of adequate funding for adult literacy provision for all learners in Canada what they hope/expect to achieve in their efforts? I hope so. Does the end justify the means? Sometimes.
I agree that Scott Murray's language is really telling in terms of his own thinking and take on his data. I gasped when I heard him say "reading diseases" even though I knew it was coming from your email. OMG! It hurts the ears to hear him speak I have to say. I have to work really, really hard to keep focused and try to understand what he is saying. We so don't speak the same language at all! And that was the point made in that BC Conference I was at - we literacy educators don't speak the same language as the policy makers and economists and so we don't hear each other. But they have the power and that makes a huge difference to us in terms of not being understood by them.
Interesting how silent the Chat Room became during question time. Again made me wonder why this talk and message is being delivered to the adult educator audience? It just feels self-defeating to even carry on when the projections are so negative and whatever we do in the face of the data doesn't matter. I really feel that programs and educators should be honoured with more funding, better coordination, and hope - because they have been working for way, way too long under the very worst conditions for the worst wages and no benefits and that needs to be recognized.