June 30, 1992 to July 1, 1995
Adult Education Act, P.L. 100-297 as Amended by the
National Literacy Act, P.L. 102-73

Submitted by:

California Department of Education
Specialized Programs Branch
Youth, Adult and Alternative Educational Services Division


Chapter 17

California has the Nation's largest number of adults with limited proficiency in English, and almost a half million are enrolled annually in programs to improve their English. This grants program will focus resources on those counties that currently do not receive equal access to State general funds for adult education, as well as to contiguous counties whose programs are extremely small in relation to the population they serve.

Some 1.5 million of California's 3.3 million functionally illiterate adults are estimated to have limited proficiency in English.1 Approximately one-third of these individuals are served annually by ESL programs conducted by adult schools and community colleges. As a result of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, thousands more are expected to swell the numbers enrolled in ESL classes over the next few years.

In recent years California has mightily increased its capacity to meet the language acquisition needs of adults with limited English proficiency (LEP). However, several counties in the State have not been able to increase their capacity. These include 18 counties, most of them rural, where school districts are prohibited from receiving State funds for adult education, as well as contiguous counties whose programs are extremely small in relation to the population they serve. This grants program under Section 372 of the Act will focus resources on these underserved counties.

Program Description

California's English Literacy Program under Section 372 of the Act consists of English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) instruction for limited English proficient adults (LEP's) whose inability to speak, read, or write the English language constitutes a substantial impairment of their ability to get or retain employment or to function effectively as citizens, parents, family members or consumers. Guidance and referral services are available as needed.

Instructional and support services are provided via coordinated efforts of school districts, community colleges, libraries, volunteer and community-based organizations, and local literacy councils. Resources made available under Section 372 of the Act are coordinated with existing resources that serve the LEP population.

The Program coordinates with the outreach efforts of the Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN) developed with Section 353 funds. OTAN and the English Literacy Program agents work together in counties with minimal adult education services to develop and/or expand multi-county, multi-agency literacy consortia. These consortia combine resources in order to provide services to the greatest number possible. Since limited resources for both English Literacy Program and OTAN must be spread over a multi-county area, the programs emphasize the use of mobile instructional units, television, computers and other forms of telecommunications technology to reach many of the learners.

Application Process and Funding Criteria

This section describes the application, funding and appeal process, eligible recipients, and criteria for evaluating applications.


Grants under Section 372 are administered through contracts awarded on a competitive basis. As such, the application, funding and appeal process is the same as for grants awarded under Section 353, which is described in Chapter 14 of this Plan. CDE will award not less than 50% of funds awarded as an English Literacy Grant to be used to fund programs operated by community-based organizations with demonstrated capability to administer English proficiency programs. [Adult Education Act Section 372]


Literacy consortia consisting of three or more agencies or organizations that serve or wish to serve LEP clients with ESL services in a multi-county area are eligible to receive grants under this program. The consortia serve counties that do not have or have minimal services provided through school districts. These counties were specified by the California Department of Education in the notice of availability of public funds and in the request for proposals (RFP).

Agencies and organizations that form literacy consortia may include school districts, community colleges, libraries, volunteer and community-based organizations, universities, businesses, labor unions, and local literacy councils. If a literacy council already includes several organizations and serves a multi-county area, it may apply as a consortium.


The criteria for evaluating applications for grants under Section 372 are as follows:

  1. Written documentation that three or more agencies or organizations will form a consortium to deliver ESL services to LEP adults in a multi-county area.

  2. Evidence that the project will meet identified English language acquisition needs and priorities of the target population as supported by research or analysis.

  3. Assurance to collect pre- and post-test data on student achievement via procedures and tests to be specified by CDE. These will be the same or similar to evaluation procedures that are required of recipients of local assistance grants under Section 321 of the Act, and which are described in Chapter 8 ("Local Applications") of this state plan.

  4. A list of current programs, activities and services for LEP adults that receive assistance from federal, State, and local sources in the area proposed to be served by the applicant.

  5. Description of cooperative arrangements among public and private organizations that currently serve LEP adults in the area proposed to be served by the applicant. The applicant shall also describe how the proposed project will build on these cooperative efforts.

  6. Description of how proven instructional methods and technology shall be employed to conduct cost-effective instruction and the management of instruction over a multi-county area.

  7. Evidence that the project staff has professional qualifications and experience adequate for achievement of project objectives, including experience or training using competency-based instructional and assessment methods.

  8. A detailed budget itemizing all proposed expenditures, in-kind support, and additional sources of revenue to support the project.

  9. If applicable, the extent to which the project is related to and is carried out in conjunction with Section 353 projects or coordinated with local adult education programs operated under Section 321 of the Adult Education Act.

  10. Outline of a final report that would be submitted to CDE at the close of the project. The report would describe what was done, the degree of effectiveness, and the reasons for the level of effectiveness.


The CDE staff monitors each project. The Revised State Plan, including programs and projects under Sections 321, 353, 371 and 372, will be evaluated by an independent contractor (See Chapter 16).

1 Donald Dixon, et. al., op. cit. estimated that in 1987 there were 3.1 million functionally illiterate adults in California, or 15 percent of the population over 14 years of age. The 1989 figure is an estimate based on population growth. Both figures are conservative, however, since they probably underestimate the number of undocumented persons.


*****Continued On "Ch.18 Workplace Literacy Plan"*****