The main goal of ABE is to provide flexible and equitable instruction to all students.
Like all education systems, Adult Basic Education faces unprecedented challenges in 2020. We are fortunate that the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has set clear goals that help direct us in the work we are doing as we adapt to these challenges while alleviating the pressures of mandates which may be difficult to fulfill given the circumstances.
MDE “affirms that the main goal of ABE programming during the 2020-2021 school year is to provide flexible and equitable ABE instruction to all ABE students while following health guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19.” Previously our mandates included a focus on maintaining financial viability and increasing the number served by increasing our student contact hours (the basis of funding in most years).
Jodi Versaw at MDE ABE states: “Because this year’s programming has had to shift, we encourage ABE staff to shift their perspectives on funding and contact hours, as well. ...in this time we must recognize that a simple count of contact hours is inadequate to describe the amount of effort and change currently required to do this work. And so we acknowledge that some activities and strategies that may be worthwhile and effective for ABE learners this school year will not generate contact hours. The charge is to focus on effectively serving the ABE learners in your community.” Steps have been taken to ensure stable funding for ABE programs that allow this shift in focus.
In response, Metro North ABE is building flexible programming models to serve more people effectively with a special focus on equitable instruction. All this builds on the continued base of strong academic and employability standards. In addition, we are improving technology skills to better provide access to and services students need at this time. To assist, many of our sites are offering Chrome books and Hotspots to those students in need.
With these clear and inspirational guidelines, ABE MDE is helping us chart a new way forward to better serve students to achieve their goals, now and into the future.