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For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 12, 2002
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106

First Two Massachusetts Adult Basic Education Teacher’s Licenses Awarded

BOSTON - Two educators received the state’s new adult basic education license at a Statehouse ceremony on Thursday, marking the start of a change that Gov. Swift and Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll said will improve education opportunities for adults.

Andrea O’Brien of North Andover and Lucille Fandel of Cummington were the first two recipients.

The Massachusetts Family Literacy Consortium and the Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education also presented Gov. Swift with an award for her commitment to adult and family literacy programs and the adult learners they serve.

“It is critical that we remain committed to ensuring that all Massachusetts citizens, both young and old, have the opportunity to achieve literacy and improve their lives,” Swift said. “The dedication of our teachers, such as Andrea and Lucille, is a testament to the spirit of learning and to the strength of our partnership.”

Commissioner Driscoll agreed.

“Massachusetts is fortunate to have so many people working to address the needs of adults who have not yet learned to read and write or who have limited English proficiency,” he said. “We have a tremendous need for these services, but I am confident that this new license will translate into better educational opportunities for our adult learners.”

The new Adult Basic Education license is the first stand-alone ABE teacher’s license in the nation that is not predicated on a preK-12 license. It is voluntary, and available to all teachers of adult literacy, basic skills, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). The state Board of Education approved the license last year after three years of development.

Instructors serve adult learners in areas including adult literacy, adult secondary education, and English for Speakers of Other Languages. The teachers provide services in various settings including public schools, community colleges, community-based organizations, civic centers, libraries, and the workplace.

The first two recipients are both veteran educators:

Ms. O’Brien is a Staff Developer at the Lawrence Adult Learning Center, and serves as the Adult Education Representative on the MATSOL Board. She was a member of the working group that drafted the Department’s English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Curriculum Framework.

Ms. Fandel is a Family Literacy instructor for Springfield Public Library’s Read/Write/Now program teaching reading, writing, math, and computer literacy. For the past 15 years she has worked with Russian, Haitian, and Vietnamese refugees in the ESOL education programs, and has spent a great amount of time outside of the United States in areas including Guatemala and Sudan.

International Literacy Day, celebrated on Sept. 8, honored the more than 4 billion literate people in the world, and called attention to the fact that there are more than 875 million adults around the world who cannot read or write. In the United States there are approximately 90 million illiterate adults, and in Massachusetts there are approximately 900,000.

According to a recent survey by Mass. Inc., approximately one-third of working-aged adults in Massachusetts are in need of some type of basic education services.

For more information on the state’s adult education opportunities, check the Department of Education’s Web site.

Last Updated: September 12, 2002
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