The Half Full Glass
I had lunch with some literacy friends and in the midst of talking about the number of literacy program closures and lapsed funds we suddenly started to see opportunities again. We started to talk about how the election might bring us new federal allies and that we need to dust off the work we were doing to build a pan-Canadian network for literacy workers and learners and for literacy research in practice (see below).
The Canadian Union for Public Employees (CUPE) launched their new book Transformations: Literacy and the Labour Movement and the website Learning in Solidarity (learninginsolidarity.ca) this week. The book looks at the past, present and future of how the labour movement and the literacy movement work together. I, sadly, could not attend the launch but I have heard that the conversation quickly turned to the future and how labour can speak to power (policymakers) about the importance of literacy work in building equity in all facets of life, not just as a tool to ensure labour market participation.
Some people have written a Declaration that "calls on parties to take a stand on seven proposals and to reveal their plans for putting adult education back on track in Canada." I don't know if they were thinking about the Declaration of Persepolis but I like to think that they were because that was written at another optimistic time.
And Suzanne Smythe, one of the Declaration signatories, has written a policy note for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives about what happened when the federal government dismantled any semblance of a pan-Canadian literacy network and shifted funding into private hands through the Canada Jobs Grant.
It is looking good out there. Our people are getting their mojo back. The ice is cracking. We are hoping for an early spring. We are getting ready to seize the moment.
Here are some of those earlier works on pan-Canadian networks:
Building a Pan-Canadian Strategy on Literacy and Essential Skills: Recommendations for the Federal Government (2002)
A Framework to Encourage and Support Practitioner Involvement in Adult Literacy Research in Practice in Canada (1999)
Developing a Framework for Research in Practice in Adult Literacy (2005)
Focused on Practice: A Framework for Adult Literacy Research in Canada (2006)