Serial No. 106-35


Printed for the use of the Committee on Education

and the Workforce

































The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:31 a.m., in Room 2175, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. William Goodling [Chairman of the Committee] presiding.

Present: Representatives Goodling, Petri, Barrett, McKeon, Talent, Souder, Schaffer, Deal, DeMint, Isakson, Clay, Kildee, Martinez, Woolsey, McCarthy, Tierney, Kind, Sanchez, Ford, Kucinich, Wu, and Holt.

Staff present: Sally Lovejoy, Majority Senior Education Policy Advisor; Michael Reynard, Majority Media Assistant; Lynn Selmser, Majority Professional Staff Member; Kevin Talley, Majority Staff Director; Shane Wright, Majority Legislative Assistant; Dan Lara, Majority Press Secretary; Alex Nock, Minority Education Legislative Associate, June Harris, Minority Education Coordinator; Roxana Folescu, Minority Education Staff Assistant; Gail Weiss, Minority Staff Director; Mark Zuckerman, Minority General Counsel; Marshall Grigsby, Minority Education Legislative Associate; and Mary Ellen Ardouny, Minority Education Legislative Associate.




Chairman Goodling. [presiding] Good morning. We are pleased to have all of you with us to talk about family literacy.

As Members have heard me say many times, I was so embarrassed with the way I was using Title I or Chapter I money, I don't remember which it was way back then, when I was a superintendent of a school. Because we would never know how much we were getting; we never knew when we were getting it; and normally it came in October or November, after your planning was supposed to have been completed. So finally, I threw up my hands and said, "Well, at least we should be able to go out and do something with the parents and the children long before they get to school. Because we know every person in the district that dropped out of school; we know every older brother or sister that dropped out of school; and we know every parent that dropped out of school. Why don't we see whether we can ahead of time?"

So we went out and went into the homes and spent several months working with the parent and the children in the home. We didn't bring them into a session in school even after we finished that. Mostly, we took them to a room in a church so they didn't, all of a sudden, have that school setting, because they were only 3-and 4-year-olds.

We found that their parents began coming to PTA meetings that they had never come to, and started participating. We found that the children, when they arrived in school, were reading-ready and ready to go; it was a great experience. I always say I don't know how it took us so long to realize if you don't deal with the entire family, you are not going to accomplish very much. So it took us a long time to understand that.

So I am happy to have you here today. We are hoping that, when they are finished with the struggle over the appropriation process, that family literacy will have done well.

[The statement of Chairman Goodling follows:]




Chairman Goodling. I would now turn to the Ranking Member, Mr. Clay.




Mr. Clay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good morning.

Today's hearing on Even Start and family literacy highlights two of the many successes in the use of Federal education funds at the local level. Both the Even Start Program and the use of family literacy by other programs, such as title 1, have been shown to increase student achievement and the educational and parenting ability of families generally.

The testimony that we will hear today will be useful as we proceed with the reauthorization of Even Start and other Federal education programs.

In the last Congress, we passed President Clinton's America Reads Reading Excellence Act which helps children learn to read well by the end of the third grade through tutoring, teacher training, and family literacy activities.

This year the administration has proposed significant increases for programs to help adults master literacy and other basic skills, including a $103-million increase to expand State literacy efforts for immigrants and other limited English-proficient adults.

Literacy, Mr. Chairman, is a gateway skill necessary to succeed in today's workplace. Unfortunately, we have yet to fully grasp the significance of our Nation's literacy problem. American businesses lose an estimated $60 billion in productivity each year due to employees' lack of basic skills. In addition, approximately 20 percent of America's workers have low basic skills, and 75 percent of unemployed adults have reading or writing difficulties. Workers who lack high school diplomas earn monthly incomes of $452 compared to $1,829 for those with a bachelor's degree. Mr. Chairman, I look forward to the testimony today and welcome the witnesses, hoping that we continue to focus on the positive nature of our Federal education investments in future hearings.

I yield back the balance of my time.


Chairman Goodling. Any other comments?

[No response.]

If not, our witnesses are Sharon Darling, president of National Center for Family Literacy -- and of course, I called on her when I tried to move our Even Start Program, to come and tell us what it is we should know. She is the founder of the National Center for Family Literacy. She will provide the Committee with an overview of family literacy concepts. She will also outline the components of a quality family literacy program.

Andy Hartman, we all -- or most of us are old enough – know Dr. Hartman from when he was here with the Committee. He was a former staff member of the Committee and staff director; he will discuss the importance of evaluations on the Even Start Program, and the use of instructional programs based on scientific research.

Cheryl Keenan is the director of the Bureau of Adult Basic and Literacy Education with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. She is the head of Adult Education for the State of Pennsylvania and she manages the Even Start Program for the State.

Mary Brown is the program supervisor of the Even Start Family Education Program in Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Ms. Dayle Bailey is the adult education/parenting educator for the Richmond County Family Literacy Project in Rockingham, North Carolina.

And Sister Barbara Ann English from the Notre Dame Mission AmeriCorp Volunteer Program in Baltimore, Maryland.

So we are happy to have all of you, and we will start and go down the line.

All of your statement will appear in the record, and summarize if you can so that we have time to ask questions.





Ms. Darling. Thank you. Thank you, Chairman Goodling, and I hope that this Nation can find some way to honor you for your incredible contribution to families throughout this Nation as we move forward.

And I appreciate the opportunity to be here, and thank you to the Committee Members for inviting me to testify today.


Chairman Goodling. Mr. Clay has already indicated he is going to give me $100,000.


Just to get rid of me.



Ms. Darling. It is not nearly enough. I am sure if we took up a collection, maybe we could find a little more.

It is a wonderful opportunity to be here to talk about family literacy. I was here in 1988 at the first hearing on family literacy, and it was an incredible experience then, as we started thinking about the Even Start legislation. So it is fitting to come back and let you know how we are doing in the Nation in family literacy.

My role today is going to be to talk to you a little bit about the national movement of family literacy; what it is exactly that we are doing; and how it is working. I will make a few brief suggestions and recommendations about the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. More detailed recommendations are in my written testimony.

As you well know, the under-education of parents is so linked to their children's success in school that sometimes parents who don't have basic skills not only lack the resources to be citizens and workers, but they also lack the resources to provide both educational and noneducational support for their children in the home. That the failure of children and the reading test scores that we see of the bottom 20 percent of our children are so tied to their parents, the parental involvement of their parents, and basic skills of their parents; that it is essential that family literacy be front and center in the reauthorization of the ESEA, and particularly in Title 1.

Family literacy, as it spread across the Nation, has really embedded itself in a number of Federal programs and I think epitomizes what we would like to see in funding streams of Federal programs coming together at the local level. Which is that we would no longer have silos of funding, but have funding that comes together to focus on a whole family. The synergy of that is what we really would like to see at the local level with many programs, and family literacy typifies that and epitomizes that for the Nation.

Family literacy, in its most comprehensive form, is that defined in legislation in the Adult Education Act, the Community Services Block Grant Act, Even Start, and Head Start, which is really the interactive literacy activities between parents and their children, training for parents regarding how to be the primary teacher for their children and full partners in the education of their children, parent and literacy training, and age-appropriate education for children.

What that really means is that we are helping parents get the skills they need to become self-sufficient, to be employed, and the skills they need to help their children as they go through school. It also means that we are helping children get that start that they need in order to be competitive with their more advantaged peers. We are also helping those children, as they move through our elementary grades, be successful. It also means that we are helping parents, sometimes for the first time, come together with their own children and learn to help those children and learn to be the parents that they want to be and be the support for their child's education.

It is a very powerful intervention, but it is very comprehensive. It is integrated; it is intensive, and it needs to be of sufficient duration to actually help the bottom 20 percent of those parents and children in our Nation.

When it is well implemented and of high quality, it produces excellent results, and those results will carry us forward for this generation and the next.

I want to share with you just a few studies about what we know about how family literacy is working. The National Center for Family Literacy has been looking at many research studies around the country tracking parents and children. Actually at our center, we have 7,000 families that we have been tracking all over the country for the past 8 years. I want to just talk about a few of the studies that have been done on family literacy programs.

This particular one is on Even Start. In 1997, there was a study of 534 children who were studied, looking at them when they enrolled as 3-and 4-year-old children, and now they are in the K-5 system. What happened to those children along the way? Did the spiral that started up continue up?

What we found was that they were ranked very, very high above average on almost all skills contributing to school success, and 90 percent of those children showed satisfactory grades as they moved through the K-5 system. Their parents, also, 54 percent of them got a GED; 45 percent of them who were on public assistance were removed from public assistance, and we know that it is an excellent welfare strategy. Family literacy really looks at two generations and moving both to self-sufficiency, not sacrificing one for the other. Fifty percent of those who were not in education and training, and a large percentage of them were, were employed. We also found that things changed in the homes. Parents started talking to their children about school, visiting their children's school, were highly involved in their children's education.

We have looked over time at the statistically significant changes in families, and we know that if we really bring the whole family into the equation, we can make sustainable changes.

It is with that backdrop that I would like to make a couple of recommendations: That we acknowledge the fact that the bottom 20 percent of the children are not going to be able to be helped fully unless we help their parents as well. So there needs to be a much stronger definition of family literacy in the ESEA reauthorization in all Titles, particularly Title I and the Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Project. We can no longer limit that to only the schoolhouse walls. We really need to look beyond that and send a message, that it is about the home and the family as well as the schools, and we need to really take that on if we are going to be successful.

One specific recommendation is for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a population of Native Americans who are generally left out of the mainstream. Family literacy is highly successful on Native American reservations. We have been working on 21 since 1991. I would strongly recommend that in order to expand those programs, that the BIA be allowed to be a State agency for the purposes of Even Start, just as they are with title 1, so that we can more effectively use those resources.

I would also like to close by saying that Congressman Goodling was generous enough to conduct a policy roundtable with Representative Ernie Fletcher and Representative Anne Northup at the National Conference on Family Literacy last month. At this public forum, some of these recommendations were discussed. A transcript of that event is being prepared by a court reporter and will be distributed to the members of this Committee. And once the transcript has been received, I respectfully ask the Chairman that the transcript be submitted for the record.

I think we know that family literacy works; it can be an important strategy in the success of students in this Nation. We really need to put a stronger emphasis on it as we reauthorize the ESEA.

Thank you.

[The statement of Ms. Darling follows:]




Chairman Goodling. Thank you very much.

I recognize the Ranking Member for introduction.


Mr. Clay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to acknowledge and recognize the presence at the hearing this morning of some 80 students from Capitol Commitment, which is a nonprofit training school headquartered here in the District of Columbia.

Capitol Commitment provides job skills training into telecommunications, and when the graduates complete their courses, they work as telephone technicians. And I think they are proud of a 97 percent placement record after graduation and a retention record of 75 percent.

So, I want to say "thank you" to this program. It is evidence that some Federal programs do work, Mr. Chairman.


Chairman Goodling. And the jobs are unlimited; all you have to do is be prepared. So, thank you for getting prepared. Dr. Hartman.




Dr. Hartman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee.

This is for me a really special pleasure to be able to be part of a hearing on Even Start. And since you mentioned, I was a part of your staff when we both came and were talking about your experiences in Pennsylvania and started considering creating legislation around it. We had the first hearings that Sharon Darling was a participant in. And I would assume Mr. Kildee was also, as the Chairman of the Subcommittee at that time, a part of that as well. And Mr. Houghton was very involved.

So it is really great to be here so many years later -- 11 years later -- from when it was signed into law, and really to celebrate how it has turned from an idea into a program, and really, as you saw in Kentucky, into a movement around the country. What I find very exciting is what is happening at the State and local levels. States like Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Arizona, and others are using their own funds, and local programs and local cities and towns are using their own monies to investment in family literacy. Probably the best sign of success is when someone else takes the money out of their pocket and sees the value and spends it on an issue. And that is happening with family literacy, as you know.

I would really like to focus on two things this morning. One thing I would say, being on this side versus that side, is it seems like the red light comes on a lot faster from down here so, I am going to try to move very quickly through the two topics.

One is to talk really briefly about the national evaluations that have gone on since the day one of Even Start. This program has been evaluated very well. And, secondly, what some of the research base on literacy development might indicate for improving Even Start practices.

Let me just start off by saying that the research base for the basic premise that parents have to be, and are, a key part of helping children become readers and becoming literate and successful in school has gotten stronger since 1988 when we had the first hearing on Even Start.

In a recent presentation, Dr. Reid Lyon, from the National Institute for Health -- many of you know his work on reading -- who was speaking about what is it that causes and we need to deal with in preventing reading difficulties in children. He listed having language and literacy experiences during infancy and the preschool years as one of the six factors that researchers clearly indicated have a major role in preventing reading difficulties. What happens before children get to school and when they are in school at home and in the community is critically important. He pointed to 45 separate researchers and their work that have been published in scientific journals to support that. So it is irrefutable, from a research base, that what Even Start is attempting to deal with is absolutely critical.

What we did not have at the time, when we were trying to get Even Start into law, really was a programmatic approach to how to then help parents, particularly those who have the lowest literacy skills, take that step forward and become really empowered to be their children's first and best teachers, as you said.

I think we really have to remember and be honest about that. We knew the problem, and their had been experiences like yours in Pennsylvania, and Sharon's in Kentucky, but we didn't, frankly, have a research base on the implementation and the programmatic part. So when I talk about the Even Start evaluation, I think we have to see it like we see medical research and a lot of business research, is that it is an ongoing effort to continuously find better and better solutions to the problem. We didn't know the answer and the perfect program 10 years ago, and we don't know it today, frankly, but we are getting closer.

Let me talk about a couple of things we have learned from the evaluation. One, Even Start is targeting the absolutely right parents; 87 percent of parents of children in Even Start are school dropouts; 54 percent have dropped out before the 9th grade. So these are some of the most educationally in need parents in our whole country. In addition, the parents are getting younger, and many, many are below the poverty level.

On the outcome side is a bit of a mixed message. The results for the children have been positive and encouraging. In the very first evaluation where they had a control group involved, the children in Even Start outpaced the control group. Parents are getting GED's in Even Start programs at almost four times the rate than they would otherwise from the same research.

One of the things we did not see is a kind of strong literacy gains in the parents that we would hope to see outside of the GED gains, particularly in parents who have very low literacy levels, and whose GED is still probably several years outside their grasp; we didn't see the kind of literacy gains. We did see increases in home support for literacy types of activities in the Even Start sample.

One of the other things we have learned, in general, is how to do evaluations better. There is a third evaluation being conducted right now by Abt Associates, funded by the U.S. Department of Education. And you know Mary Jean LeTendre and Pat McKee have been doing a great job in terms of implementing this act. That is going to be the largest and best evaluation to date. There will be a control group of a large number of parents, and we will get the best data ever. This will probably a year from now that we will have new data on a more recent sample of Even Start programs with better research, a better model that we have learned from the first two waves of evaluation.

Secondly, we have learned some very specific things, and those have been put into the law. The law has been amended based on what we have learned from the evaluations. There has been technical assistance to help programs implement it, and the results have improved as a result.

The intensity issue is one. You, Congressman Goodling, amended Even Start several years ago because of the first evaluation showing that there was not an intense enough level of educational services for the parents and families. People just weren't coming enough and getting enough services. The law was changed. Lynn Selmser and others on the Minority staff worked with you in a bipartisan way to change the law. Mary Jean LeTendre and her staff and Sharon Darling and the Center for Family Literacy have done technical assistance and helped programs to understand how to do that better. And it has made a difference in the services.

What we have also learned, as I said, is this has to be a continuous effort. We need to keep looking to do this better, and I would suggest two recommendations.

One is we need to look at the adult education component. Sharon talked about the four components of family literacy. When you think about it, we are really just asking children to do what we want every children to do, but do it better and to keep up with their peers. We are asking the parents to do two things. One is improve your literacy skills. Get your GED; get a better job; but also use those skills to help, when you go home, help your child so he or she, herself, will improve their literacy skills. For an adult with very little literacy skills, this is a tremendous undertaking. And it will take an excellent, very targeted, well-run adult education piece to make that happen.

I think we have not probably adequately worked with the adult education component, which is often an existing adult ed program in a community, to have them provide the family literacy piece of adult education to the extent that it needs to.

The new amendments that were put into the Adult Ed Act by the Workforce and Investment Act that makes family literacy a bigger part of adult education, I think will go a long way to helping that.

Finally, I would just say that the work that has been going on for the last 20 years -- and Mr. Clay talked about the Reading Excellent Act -- about what we have learned about how human beings, but children as well, learn to read. It has been some of the best and most ground-breaking work in education over all anywhere in the world, and at any one place or time. And the Reading Excellence Act is going to do a great job of getting that out.

The focus of taking that research and testing and really developing, through research, implementation and interventions has been mostly focused on the classroom context, which is where the Reading Excellence Act is primarily focused.

There hasn't really been adequate resources spent on taking that knowledge base and looking at the family literacy context and situation and creating models that will take that research and bring it in to the intergenerational approach. And as a result, we really haven't adequately taken advantage of that research in the family literacy programs, I believe.

I think the Institute for Literacy, the Department of Education, and NICHD could and should all work together. But, frankly, I think we would need some support to fund this kind of work that we need to get done to develop those models, so we would see the results that I know you want.

Thank you.

[The statement of Dr. Hartman follows:]




Chairman Goodling. Ms. Keenan.




Ms. Keenan. Good morning Mr. Goodling and Members of the Committee.

I would like to thank you, first, for your longstanding support of the Even Start program and target my remarks today to issues of family literacy that are specific to Pennsylvania, and to tell you about how Pennsylvania has used the Even Start Program to jettison larger efforts in Pennsylvania designed to support issues that are specific to Pennsylvania's needs.

I hope that my testimony provides you with an illustrative example of why States need flexible Federal legislation to accomplish its goals.

First, I would like to tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Cheryl Keenan; I am the director of the Bureau of Adult Basic and Literacy Education in the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and I am responsible for the administration of the Even Start Family Literacy Program, as well as Title II of the Workforce Investment Act, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, and some related State programs.

My comments today come from the perspective of someone who is responsible for designing State programs that leverage State, Federal and local resources to fit the needs of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania under the leadership of our Governor, Tom Ridge.

The work of this current Congress, specifically in advancing the opportunities to design comprehensive family literacy services, is well noted. And the opportunities that you have provided to States through title II of WIA, through the Reading Excellence Act, through Head Start, through Even Start, and through the Community Services Block Grant give us unparalleled opportunities to use family literacy to accomplish multiple public policy priorities. So with that, I would like to tell you a story about Pennsylvania.

In 1992, when Even Start was transferred from Federal to State control, Pennsylvania was awarded about $3.3 million. And with those Federal resources, we funded 15 Even Start projects, and over the years, they grew to 24 projects by about 1998. So that in this period of time, Pennsylvania really did grow strong expertise in family literacy and a strong base of support for family literacy services.

During the 1998-1999 State budget process, Governor Ridge proposed a new State family literacy initiative which earmarked $3 million of State adult literacy appropriation for family literacy services. So in the early days of policy decision making about this new program in Pennsylvania, we turned to our Even Start programs to advise us on issues of practice. And one of the first decisions that we made was to merge Even Start and the Pennsylvania Family Literacy Program into one comprehensive Statewide program of family literacy.

That decision alone allowed us to leverage the current Federal money to effect an $8-million Statewide program of family literacy; something that I think is well noted in the history of how States are approaching family literacy. The net result of that merging allowed us to fund 53 programs of family literacy in the State. Those programs were in 36 different counties and were designed to serve 2,500 families in Pennsylvania. So the existence of the Even Start Program was instrumental in Pennsylvania achieving its family literacy goals.

The second point that I would like to make is that States need flexible pieces of Federal legislation to achieve State-determined policies and priorities. In designing the family literacy program in Pennsylvania, we reflected on the major priorities of our Governor and in the needs of our Commonwealth, especially in terms of the education agenda and the economic and workforce development agenda. So the family literacy program was designed to support and add value to existing Commonwealth initiatives. And I would like to give you a few illustrative examples of that.

First, in Pennsylvania, family literacy supports academic achievement for all students, as defined by the Pennsylvania Academic Standards. It does this by providing preschool children with appropriate early childhood experiences to ensure that children enter school with the readiness skills that they need for academic success. And it prepares parents to be active partners in the literacy acquisition of their children.

Secondly, family literacy in Pennsylvania supports the Governor's early childhood reading initiative, Read to Succeed. That program is designed to ensure that all children will be able to read with comprehension no later than the end of the third grade. Read to Succeed acknowledges the importance of parent support of children in literacy acquisition, which, of course, is a primary tenet in all family literacy programs.

Third, in Pennsylvania, family literacy works collaboratively with strong public libraries. In Pennsylvania, our Governor has doubled our public resources for libraries to strengthen the library infrastructure. And in Pennsylvania, we have partnered with the library system to be sure that there are extensive reading opportunities that are available for families during the summer months, and extended reading activities into the community.

Fourth, it supports our economic development agenda by being sure that in the adult components, that there is a critical integration of work-based skills into the adult education curriculum.

Lastly, it prepares adults for economic self-sufficiency by working specifically with welfare recipients and prioritizing services based on an individual's welfare status, by varying the degrees of intensity of services that welfare recipients get depending on where they are in their timelines with welfare reform, and by including family literacy services into an individual's agreement of mutual responsibility and providing special Welfare-to-Work demonstration grants.

So in these ways, family literacy is supporting the broad policy goals that have been set to address the needs of Pennsylvania's citizens. And I would hope that Congress, in reauthorizing Even Start, will understand that States require optimal flexibility in order to pull State and Federal programs together in ways that address State-specific needs, because there are no cookie-cutter approaches for literacy that fit all 50 States.

Very quickly, a third point that I would like to make is to talk a little bit about how Pennsylvania is approaching accountability for family literacy programs and to make the point that, in Pennsylvania, we believe that the ultimate accountability that exists is between the Commonwealth and its local programs, because, ultimately, Pennsylvania has the greatest need to ensure that its citizens are properly served.

We have in adult education put into place program performance standards for accountability and continuous improvement projects prior to the enactment of WIA to demonstrate that accountability is important to us. And we are planning to do the same with our family literacy program whether or not it is contained in reauthorization language that accountability is important to States.

So, in conclusion, what I want to reemphasize is that Pennsylvania has used the opportunities provided by the Federal Even Start Program to create the existence of a strong Statewide comprehensive family literacy program; that we would not have been able to do that without Even Start; and without Even Start, it would be unlikely that we would have mobilized our State resources as quickly as we did to achieve our goals.

But more importantly, Pennsylvania has managed to use the family literacy program to support what Pennsylvania needs to ensure the academic success of its students and realize its economic development agenda.

Our approach to accountability is one that makes sense for the quality of our programs and for coordinating those measures with other initiatives that family literacy supports.

So, by implementing specific State initiatives, such as Read to Succeed, the Pennsylvania Academic Standards, and Team Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania has positioned family literacy to be an important contributor to the things that are important to Pennsylvania--its children, its families, its communities, and its competitive advantage for its businesses and its citizens.

Thank you.

[The statement of Ms. Keenan follows:]




Chairman Goodling. Ms. Bailey.




Ms. Bailey. Good morning Chairman Goodling and fellow Committee Members.

I appreciate the opportunity to tell you today about Even Start and how this program and the opportunities it offers is making a big difference in the families in Richmond County, North Carolina.

Our Even Start Program began 6 years ago as many other family literacy programs have begun, when a disturbing trend was seen to be developing in which children would come for kindergarten registration with severe developmental delays and modalities, particularly in the area of language, with delays of up to two years. And when you are talking about a 4 to 5-year-old child who is entering school two years behind where he or she should be, this child is really coming to school being set up for failure. Because of this, our family literacy programs have developed.

Many of the parents really love their children as we love our children, but they didn't really realize the importance that they had to play in the educational success of their child by participating--by reading to their child and by participating in the school system. Many of the parents lacked support systems. There were services in the community to which they could go to improve their lives, but in many cases, there were barriers that prevented them from utilizing these services, such as lack of transportation, no child care for younger siblings, or poor communication skills due to which they really could not find out what services were offered and which services for which they were qualified.

So we feel we have found a solution in the Even Start Family Literacy Program, which provides the basis for an effective home/school/community partnership. Not only does Even Start provide educational opportunities for parents and their children, but it also offers an opportunity to centralize, coordinate, and build upon existing community agencies. Therefore, the agencies, instead of duplicating services, are all pulling together with Even Start as the hub of the services, to offer more comprehensive services to family.

Through the four components of the program, parents come to school at our site. We are a rural community, literally on the wrong side of the tracks, in the lowest socioeconomic area of the county. We are a very comprehensive family literacy program that offers early childhood education, NAEYC-certified preschool programs. This is our 6th year, and each year of the 6 years, for 9 months instruction, our preschool students have gained from 16 to 24 months in language skills.

At the same time, the parents are provided opportunities and experiences through parenting in order to practice parenting skills; through parent and child together time, to learn from one another; and from experts in the community as different agencies work together, to practice parenting skills and to learn more effective parenting skills. And, of course, in parenting there is a very strong literacy focus through reading programs such as Mother Read and Book-It, and we have our own lending library in which parents can check out books and toys and games for their children. They all have library cards; we go to the library, and the librarian comes and does story hour with us.

And we have found through parenting that we have seen changes in the parents, who actually at one time did not even know how to play with their children, who will now play with their children, who read to their children, who eagerly take home books, and are really becoming more and more partners in their child's education.

We also try very hard to offer a welcoming, supportive environment for these adult students who come to school. Many of them had very unhappy school experiences themselves, and so we feel it is very important to make them realize that they are wanted and welcome. And because of this, our average attendance rate for the last 6 years has been 90 percent or higher. Our retention rate, until the parents have met their goals each year or beyond that year, has been 85 percent or higher, also. And we credit this to trying to meet the students' needs, not trying to fit them into our perception of what we feel they should learn, but them telling us what they want to learn and feel they should learn in meeting their need.

One of the speakers had mentioned the area of adult education, and when we first began 6 years ago, the focus seemed to be in adult education on getting that GED, and that is what most parents, as they came in, wanted to get. Some, of course, would probably never get to that point, but we have worked with them on reading and writing and math, because this is what they wanted. But within the last 6 years, there have been many changes made. And one of these is due to the Welfare-to-Work Program.

Over 40 percent of our students now are participating in Welfare-to-Work, and when they enter our program, they want a job, and they want us to teach them the necessary skills in order that they might go out and get a job. And we feel strongly that academic skills must be tied in with whatever literacy skills the parents need in their lives. And so we have worked very hard through the Human Resource Development Program of our college, through teaching computer skills, through having parents volunteer in the offices in the school and learning about business machines and answering telephones. And we have tied in with our academic and parenting skills many workplace literacy skills in order to meet the continuing needs of our students.

We have served over 200 families in the last 6 years, and of these families, we have seen many go on to college. We have six who have gone and finished the teacher trainer in order to be teacher assistants and substitute teachers. We have hired two of them in our program as a matter of fact. And we also see a ripple effect. These parents are going out; they are getting jobs; they are earning their GED's. They are attending PTO meetings; they are attending parent-teacher conferences, and they are referring family members to us, and they are our best recruiters, as we meet their needs.

And we strongly feel that with many families today that seem to be in crisis, the problem seems to be in the breakdown of the family unit. For some reason, the parents are not able any longer to support their children's education, and they are not able to help out as they should. And so since the problem seems to lie within the families, we feel strongly that the solution to the problem must also lie within the families. And we feel that the Even Start Family Literacy Program is a very viable and proven resource for helping families in our communities.

Thank you.

[The statement of Ms. Bailey follows:]




Chairman Goodling. Ms. Brown.




Ms. Brown. Thank you. I also would like to say what a privilege it is to be here to speak to you, again, about Even Start. It was my pleasure several years ago to come and be a part of a hearing on educational programs that work. And, of course, I believe with all my heart that Even Start is one of those educational programs that really work.

I would like to say "Amen" to all the wonderful things they have said about their Even Start programs because all those kinds of wonderful things are also happening in my Even Start program in Oklahoma City.

But, specifically, today, I would like to tell you in my testimony what can happen when Title I and Even Start really work together.

The Oklahoma City Public Schools Family Literacy Program received Even Start funds for the legislated limit of 8 years. It was validated as a model program by the U.S. Department of Education in May of 1993. By the end of 8 years, the program had developed many collaborative partnerships that were vital to its operation, and the in-kind budget at that time exceeded the grant amount by approximately $72,000. Even with this degree of success and with so many collaborations, an excellent program would not have survived without title I support. However, with title I support, the original program serving approximately 60 families survived and is doing well, and a second Even Start grant was awarded to our Oklahoma City Public School District to open three new auxiliary sites. So we now have 4 sites in Oklahoma City serving about 120 to 135 families.

For Even Start family literacy programs to survive beyond 8 years, I believe there must be some other consistent, sufficient source of funding available. Since the goals of Title I and Even Start are so compatible, it seems logical that the two programs be supported with funds from the same basic source. Even Start grants that establish family literacy programs are, after all, funded by Title I, Part B.

Fortunately, at about the same time that the Oklahoma City Public Schools Even Start had to secure other funding, an article appeared in the third quarter 1996 issue of Window on the World of Family Literacy, from the National Center, which stated that "Title I, the largest funding portion from the Elementary and Secondary Act may be the best untapped source of funding for family literacy programs." The article titled "Strengthening the Ties Between the New Title I and Family Literacy" strongly advocated the use of Title I funds to implement family literacy in public schools. Mary Jean LeTendre, Director of Compensatory Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Ed, was quoted as saying, "Any school that runs a school-wide program does not have to ask for any kind of permission to run an Even Start program."

The use of Title I funds to support family literacy programs in elementary schools would not only make it possible to serve more at-risk families with the kind of intense educational services needed to break their cycle of under-education and poverty, but Title I funds would also make it possible for elementary schools to serve families with children below mandatory school age and above the age of 7, which is the limit with Even Start funds.

A longitudinal study conducted by the local evaluator of our Oklahoma City Public School program indicated that only 19, or approximately one-fourth, of the original Even Start programs funded in 1989 are still in existence. According to their replies to a written survey, all of the surviving programs are collocated sites which fully implement all four components of family literacy. An elementary school located in a neighborhood with a high population of educationally and economically at-risk families, i.e., a Title I school-wide program, is an ideal setting for a family literacy program where all of the elements can function as a whole.

A study of the surveys returned by 12 of the original programs reveals two keys to their survival: One, Federal or school district funding, which could mean Title I monies; and association with an elementary school.

In the previously mentioned article, Mary Jean LeTendre also says, "If I were to say what I think can be the quintessential leveler of the haves and have-nots, it would be family literacy."

In 1989, family literacy was a term which many lawmakers and citizens had never heard. In 1999, just 10 years later, family literacy has proven itself to be a successful program with the potential to lift families from poverty to self-sufficiency and to empower parents to advance their own education and be positively involved in the education of their children.

A recent report released by the National Center for Family Literacy revealed that family literacy is included and encouraged in very specific ways in a number of currently reauthorized acts. These include the William F. Goodling Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act of 1998, Even Start reauthorization, the Reading Excellence Act, Head Start reauthorization, Family Literacy Work/Study Waiver, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act or title II of the Workforce Investment Act, and Title I reauthorization.

The original intent of the Even Start law was to bring together services that already existed in local communities to provide comprehensive, intensive, holistic services to families who needed them. The inclusion of family literacy in such positive ways in all of the above legislation indicates that real collaboration is now occurring at the Federal as well as the local level. Surely title I should be one of the key participants in the new family literacy initiative. I am grateful for the sake of many families in Oklahoma City that our local school administrators though so.

As a member of an Even Start staff for the past 10 years, I have seen the power of family literacy at work. The importance of a parent in a child's education has been demonstrated in many powerful ways in our program. Those who have been fortunate enough to grow up in homes where education was valued by parents should not need anyone to convince them of the effectiveness of intergenerational intervention.

Only positive things can happen if the use of title I funds, as well as other Federal funds which impact education, makes it possible to offer more family literacy services to more children and their parents.

Thank you.

[The statement of Ms. Brown follows:]




Chairman Goodling. Sister English.





Sister English. Mr. Chair and Committee Members, I am very happy to be here today to witness to the success story of Notre Dame AmeriCorp in five places: Boston, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Apopka, and Baltimore. This is a partnership between National AmeriCorp and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. We are 4 years old, and we have done some amazing work in tutoring, after-school programs, community service projects, and family literacy. We serve families that are Latino migrant families in Apopka, Florida, a mix of immigrant families in Boston, Latino families in San Francisco, and urban poor families in Cincinnati and Baltimore.

The special witness I will offer you today, however, will be more focused on the work in Baltimore; it is the work I love and know well.

The story takes place in southeast Baltimore. The date is the early 1990's, and the scene is very challenging. Nonprofits, community activists, institutions, business and civic leaders, parents, community association leaders have studied census data and reflected on trends from the period of 1980 to 1990. We saw terrible things, a 48.5 industrial job loss, a shift in homeownership, an 11 percent vacancy rate, and so on and so forth. Our area also was, in spite of the fact that it is very mixed in income, was revealing the level of poverty that are HUD guidelines for the bottom level.

So we rolled up our sleeves and, collectively, we resolved to turn the situation around. We developed a community plan; it provided recommendations in economic development, stabilization of housing, and improvement in the quality of life. And I am happy to say we have raised over $5 million, volunteer community effort behind this. This is community power.

One of the priority recommendations in that plan was to create and implement a plan on how to support and strengthen our schools. We recognized that schools are important anchors in our neighborhoods, and, unless they are excellent, our residents will not choose to send their children to them. We also recognized that Baltimore City Public Schools are under-budgeted and need the support of the entire community if they are to succeed.

To organize this action, we set up the Southeast Education Task Force. The Education Task Force, again, is a big mix of everything from nonprofits to parents to community leaders to principals, teachers, and even a partner with the University of Maryland College Park. Through dialogue and reflection, we set the course for a school-community partnership action in the 16 schools located in southeast Baltimore.

This is the result of our effort: There are 18 recommendations, and we are working in all of them, at all the time, all 18. None of them will get second-class citizenship status.

As the year that we set this plan forward progressed, we began the partnership with the AmeriCorp, and it was perfect timing. In that first year of action, we were able to send two very struggling schools 10 Americorp members to get things done. They tutored children 8 hours a day, Monday through Friday, and they were an amazing grace for those schools.

Over the years, we have been able to build that base of Americorp members to 29 in Baltimore, and 13 of them are at the Julie Community Center where I work. We send them out to three elementary schools, General Wolfe, City Springs, and Tench Tilghman, and all of them are involved directly with children, but as a team. Both adults, the Education Task Force, and the Julie Community Center staff, we concentrate on the whole family in school success. And this is our special spin on family literacy.

Our strategies are many; I would like to name a few. AmeriCorp members act as teacher aides in the classroom and work with children in after-school hours. Their focus is on reading, and I am happy to say that every single year since we have begun, the children that our Americorp members tutor have reached one grade level of improvement, and sometimes two.

We complement their efforts with the children by sending Julie Center instructors out to help with pre-GED and GED classes and literacy classes. Sometimes those things happen in the same room at the same time, and most of the time they don't. What is important is that the whole family is focused on success and learning.

AmeriCorp members work with parents whose children are not on task in school or whose children are acting out. And through a process of praise and rewards, they engage those parents and pull them in to support their children in school.

The Julie Center provides parent development work sessions at schools. These are spinoffs of family literacy, where we work with parents and children in double sessions and then in separate sessions and pull them together. We read and talk about and role play. We laugh; we cry; we do photo displays. We produce plays; we sing. We do everything that it takes to get everybody engaged in the task. We think about these things: family life, family members, respect for each one, positive communication in the family, family rules and consequences, even family economic literacy.

Another spinoff is health literacy, where we take people through basic health problems that they experience and put them in the context where they read about it and act about it, role play it, and produce very proactive ways of resolving their health problems.

Another spinoff is Parents with Power, where parents move from oral engagement around Welfare-to-Work to doing all the things that it takes to make an individual life plan to get from welfare to actual work.

All these efforts, together, really support and promote family learning and set the tone for meeting expectations that individuals and families can succeed.

And, finally, I would like to relay some of our future plans around family learning and school success.

For school year 1999-2000, we are piloting, with the help of AmeriCorp members, a full-service school at Tench Tilghman Elementary School. This school is located in the empowerment zone. It is a hot-spot community. It suffers the plight of drugs, poverty, and crime. Under the excellent leadership of Ms. Elizabeth Turner, the principal, and her dedicated staff, we are pursuing partnerships to provide a full array of health services, social services, adult education, and employment services at this school. AmeriCorp members will be engaged in the many aspects of family literacy through this effort, as Tench Tilghman reaches out to provide a place of well-being for their families and a space where school success happens every day.

That is my testimony.

Thank you for your attention and for all the support you have given and will continue to give to educational efforts. Blessings on each of you.

[The statement of Sister English follows:]




Chairman Goodling. Thank you all very much.

I have one question, and anybody, or all of you, can answer it. I am sure Sharon probably has something and probably Ms. Bailey and Ms. Brown, particularly.

When we started Even Start, of course everybody said we wouldn't get any money, and we didn't know how much money we would get, so we said, "Okay, we will get local districts to participate or local entities to participate and help finance, and we will have grants. And after 4 years, it can reapply for another grant, and then after that time, they are finished." What I heard more than anything else, I guess, at the last conference was, particularly in rural areas, that they have a very, very difficult time in getting the financial support because they don't have the businesses in those communities and so on.

My hope is to change that to, once you get a grant, you have the grant, and the only way you can lose it is the Secretary discovers that you are not doing very well with the money that is provided.


Dr. Hartman. That is good.


Chairman Goodling. Now if we do that, what percentage is a percentage that you believe local districts or local communities could add to the support so that we can stretch those dollars? We are hoping to get 500 million new dollars this year.


Stop laughing, I expect you to make sure that that happens.


So, what is your response, Sharon, if you want to start? What is a magic number that the locals might be able to supply?


Ms. Darling. I think, first of all, Even Start really has done what it was designed to do, and that is it has brought together other funding sources, and it has done that very successfully. But at the same time, every community, particularly the rural communities, needs somebody there whose voice is strictly for family literacy. You know, family literacy is a part of a lot of other laws now, but somebody needs to keep stirring the pot and be kind of the beacon for it. So I think it would be important to make sure those good programs continue on.

I would think that a 25 percent contribution from the Federal level and 75 percent match, past the 8-year limit, would be something that would keep that alive in the communities, and still not take the pressure off of States to put State dollars in, not take the pressure off of the Title I, and not take the pressure off of adult education.

What I would not want to see is kind of, "Well, we are going to check that off because Even Start is doing it." You know, it really has a role and needs all of those funding sources. So, I would think 25 percent at a minimum.


Chairman Goodling. Thank you.


Ms. Keenan. I would like to weigh in on that, from a Pennsylvania perspective.

We do agree with you that that 8-year rule is very ambiguous and very difficult to implement and puts a burden on some of our needier communities, and certainly is particularly burdensome in our rural areas.

In looking at the match issue, preliminarily, we believe that we should keep it at about a 50-percent match requirement. We think that for our most needy communities, that is a match that they can deal with and sustain. They currently do that, and we think that the 8-year rule should be removed and that the match requirement should be about 50 percent.


Dr. Hartman. Congressman, could I just make one comment? It is not really about the match, but it might be something to consider as the middle ground.

I was at the meeting in Louisville with you and your colleagues, and this has been an issue from almost day one, that came up, as you know, as soon as the first 4-year limits came up. When you changed it to 8 years, I was still working on the Committee.

The only thing I would say about having it be, "if you got a grant, that you would have it unless you do something wrong," is I think that the fact of the reviews have -- first, I think it has been a positive element, and while not having us, say, an 8-year limit that you couldn't even reapply, but having some kind of proactive regular time when programs that have gone beyond 8 years are evaluated, personally, I think it would be important.

So, I think we have seen that in Head Start, that if you wait for people to commit a crime before you talk about taking their money away, things can slip quite a bit. I think what has kept, frankly, Even Start on its toes, and as an intelligently growing field, is that there is this sort of this competitiveness in the sense that you have got to be good. And I think if you take this away, it becomes a formula program, essentially. You would learn that edge, and I don't think we have the model, the knowledge, yet to do that, personally.

I think creating some tension in the program, while allowing people to go on beyond 8 years -- because I agree with that -- but creating and continuing some kind of need for people to, on some kind of regular basis, and not maybe as often as 4 years even, of re-explaining what they are doing and showing their data, and the State saying, "Yes, in your area, you still are the best person." I think that has been actually a positive thing, and I would hate to lose that element.


Chairman Goodling. Ms. Brown?


Ms. Brown. I was going to briefly tell you the history of what happened in Oklahoma City because I think it addresses this. We appreciate it so much, the extension to 8 years. What has happened at the end of 8 years is that our collaboration with Title I has allowed a really fine program to continue. And then the reapplication to open new programs -- in other words, the new money that came into Oklahoma City 2 years ago does not support the original in any way. What it did was expand the number of families that could take advantage of Even Start services, and it enabled us to open sites in other portions of the city. It enabled us to serve all the ethnic populations in the city.

The other point I would like to make is that when we reapplied for that new grant to open new programs, our match was already 50 percent. Do you see what I am saying? And the in-kind contribution for our new grant in its third year application was $373, and the grant is $253.

I am saying that I agree so much with Andy. You do need to look, I think, at some kind of evaluation, you know. You have got to be good to continue. In fact, I think that should be the emphasis all along, because whatever the program is, there are going to be some not so good and some good. So that is a really good evaluation process, but then, you know, I am not sure that one-size-fits-all. That has been one of the wonderful things about Even Start, that a program can be a different design here and there, that as long as you are really getting tremendous support from the local community, as long as the need is there, that just maybe look at it on somewhat of an individual basis. Even our original site now that is funded with Title I funds, we still run it in the same sort of way in my mind. In other words, those Title I funds don't totally support that program. We still have the same amount of in-kind going to that title I-funded Even Start site, as we did before it got Title I funds.


Chairman Goodling. Okay. Mr. Kildee.


Mr. Kildee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Chairman Goodling. After Mr. Kildee, I believe we have a vote so we will have to go and come back.


Mr. Kildee. First of all, I appreciate Ms. Darling's statement about Mr. Goodling. There is no question that the father of Even Start is Bill Goodling. He was a voice crying in the wilderness, and he really made that a consuetude for the rest of us. He will leave many legacies here, but one of his finest legacies is Even Start, and I really appreciate all of you testifying to that this morning.

Let me ask you this one question: As with many programs serving the highly disadvantaged, very often there is a problem of attendance and retention. How can attendance and retention rates be improved in the Even Start Program? And has the welfare reform helped or hindered in the effort to increase attendance and retention?


Ms. Darling. We have been keeping up with a lot of those statistics, and so I can speak to that; all of adult education programs generally have a problem with retention, and it has been a big challenge for adult education programs.

What we found in family literacy programs and in Even Start programs is that that retention rate has dramatically increased. And I think you heard here that, you know, 85 percent retention rate as opposed to maybe 40 percent retention rate in regular adult education programs. So we know that we are onto something, that when it is a comprehensive program, when children are involved with their parents that they attend more regularly and they stay with the program longer. So I think recruitment and retention really revolves a lot around the comprehensiveness of the program when it is well implemented, when it is high quality, and that comes through training and technical assistance, helping teachers learn a new way of working with families and not individual family members.

The welfare reform, from our perspective -- originally programs were, you know, weeping and gnashing their teeth and saying people can't come to programs anymore because of they have to go to work. Welfare reform has really encouraged people to come into programs. You know, we have people with a new urgency saying, "I am going to have to go to work and I don't want to go into the jobs that I am qualified for. I want to get something more for my family."

But family literacy programs have been successful in adapting to those changes. They have been operating where a parent comes to class 2.5 days a week maybe with their children, and the other 2.5 days they are in the workplace. They have been working with after-school programs and brown bag suppers, where parents actually come with their children after a day of work. Family literacy has a lot to contribute to welfare reform because it strengthens the second generation as well, and not put a child in a warehouse somewhere while mom goes to a minimum wage job, but says we really are concerned about what is going to happen in the family and how parents can support children.

So I think it is a wonderful platform for welfare reform. I think it is underutilized. Some Governors are seeing it as such. The Kentucky Governor, for example, just put $1 million of surplus TANIF money into family literacy, as did Maryland's Governor, and we see a lot of that in Washington State, as well.

So I think it has created a sense of urgency in some of the parents who are coming back. They are desperate; they are scared that they are going to have to go into something that they don't understand.

But the real issue is going to be, how do we make sure these parents keep the jobs? If they have never had an alarm clock in their home, they have never seen anybody who worked, how can family literacy play a role to help them come back and debrief about what happened on the job? How can it play a role to help them move forward so that they can get a wage that will support their children?

I would like to say that I think the welfare reform has, when the shoe drops and the economy takes a turn for the worse if that ever happens -- we are going to have a lot of families out there that we need to invest in right now with family literacy programs, so we can be sure that they are successful in the future.


Chairman Goodling. I asked Mr. Schaffer to run over and vote quickly so that he can continue, so as fast as anybody can come back.


Mr. Kildee. I want to just thank all the witnesses. This is like getting a Ph.D. in family literacy listening to people like Andy Hartman and the rest of the witnesses. I appreciate it, your commitment very much.


Chairman Goodling. We taught him everything he knows.


Mr. Kildee. Your program is great.


Chairman Goodling. We taught him everything he knows.


Mr. Kildee. That is right.


We did.



Dr. Hartman. It is great to see you again, Mr. Kildee; thanks.


Chairman Goodling. If you will wait, we will be back to continue quickly.



Mr Schaffer. [presiding] Could the Committee come back to order. Until the Chairman comes back, I will stand in as Chairman. That will allows us to go ahead and get some more questions and answers on the record. I will recognize the gentleman from Massachusetts. Mr. Tierney.


Mr. Tierney. Thank you.

First of all, I want to thank all of you for your testimony here today; it has been very helpful.

Let me ask anybody who might feel qualified to answer this. In situations where we have programs in the workplace for adult literacy -- and we are finding now that there are a lot of corporations not buying other corporations, and we get a little removed from community involvement. And I had one particular case in mind in my district, where all of a sudden they are no longer able to run programs where people might come an hour before work and get paid for that hour, the first hour of work continue in the program and get paid for that. And now we are having companies give us word from wherever else they might be that that is not going to happen anymore.

How do we encourage those individuals who are now working anywhere from 50 to 55 hours a week, including the overtime, because certainly the company is not going to hire anybody else and pay them any benefits or whatever? It is all about squeezing everything they can. How do we encourage or make it possible for those people to get into a program and stay in a program?


Dr. Hartman. Let me start, and then we will just probably go to the real experts on this as well.

I think generally what people have found with workplace programs is, you know, you hit it on the head in terms of time; time is a huge issue. You think about kids and work and all that, and I think about myself going home and then starting school. So making it accessible, and there is a couple ways that seems to have a positive impact on participation. Doing it at work, which, you know, sometimes employers have some concerns about, you know, but doing it at work is very important.

Another thing that people have looked at and used is technology, so people can do it at home, or at least take part of it home with them.


Mr. Tierney. Though the problem is that most of these, they can't use the technology.


Dr. Hartman. Right; it does depend. Now some programs, whether it is in a school program or a workplace program, they are giving people laptops, for example, to take home after they have used them in the program and have been shown how to use them. So there are people who are trying to get around that. Or, simply video tapes, and most homes do have VCR's now, and so there are some excellent videotaped programs that actually several State directors and the U.S. Department of Education have created some programs on videotape that aren't standalone, but can reinforce that and just create that contact time.

Cheryl Keenan kind of chuckled when you said that. For workplace situations just creating the opportunity is important.

The other part of it you sort of touched on is, is there was an article in The Washington Post business section of a report by a manufacturing organization that did a survey, and what they found was that there have been, over the last several years, increased numbers of job applicants coming to work who don't meet the basic skills screening for the jobs. That is what employers are reporting. They are going deeper into the job pool. However, what they also find is actually less basic skills and instruction being supported by the employers at the same time.


Mr. Tierney. You know, it is very simple; what you have is the parent company now has 10 divisions, and they have them compete. So they don't make the decisions, say, at the other end of the country that you have to get rid of your literacy program. They just say you have to get your production numbers up and your costs down. So all of a sudden, they are not going to let you work a 40-hour week or 45; now they need to put you in the 55 hours, and they are not going to pay for that offset in time. And then the company will turn around and say, "Well, we are willing to support a program financially because we can spend a few bucks. It is the time off the line that we don't want to let these people have."

So I guess what I am asking is, can somebody help us with creativity and say, to this company, "All right, here is what you have to do to make up for that?"


Ms. Keenan. Yes, I would like to address that.

What we are talking about specifically now are workplace education programs, and many of those programs are partnerships between education providers and businesses, and the instruction is very highly targeted to workplace skills, kind of customized.


Mr. Tierney. Actually, this was actually a literacy program, and the number that we are talking about are strictly literacy programs where people are working, but they have been doing jobs that didn't require a great deal of literacy skills.


Ms. Keenan. Yes.


Mr. Tierney. Now the job is changing.


Ms. Keenan. So what really happens with the programs is that time on the clock is what we are talking about, has been one of the most effective ways to engage businesses in kind of buying in and valuing the program. And when time on the clock goes away, what do you do?

To me, one of the things that needs to happen is that if you are talking about a merger and you are talking about different leadership in an organization, there is a reeducation that needs to occur, because someone, somewhere, is not making the connection that productivity and profits are connected to the literacy levels, and that reeducation needs to start again. I really do believe that time on the clock is a very important thing for a successful program because it does give you the buy-in.

The other piece of it is, is that, interestingly, as I talk to family literacy workplace literacy providers, folks that have been engaged in that business for a long time do extend the benefits to family. I mean, we often think of the workplace as one thing and family literacy as quite another thing, but people who have been involved in the workplace business really do talk about the values that they see extended into the family, being able to manage children's health issues, school issues, and things like that.


Mr. Tierney. Well, again, the sad part of that is, is that these are the same managers in place. The difference is that they have now sold out their position, and, you know, it is the constraints of the productivity demands and the restraint of costs that force these same people to make a different decision.

So we don't have any answers, basically?

Okay. Thank you.


Chairman Goodling. [presiding] Mr. Kucinich, you had an unanimous consent request?


Mr. Kucinich. Yes, sir. I ask unanimous consent to have my statement included in the record.

Thank you.


Chairman Goodling. Yes.

[The statement of Mr. Kucinich follows:]




Chairman Goodling. Mr. Schaffer.


Mr. Schaffer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

First of all, Mr. DeMint had to leave and asked me to raise a question and get the answer on the record. And I would like to direct that to Sister English, and that is with respect to the participation of Even Start of faith-based organizations.

To what extent does their participation entail a compromise of your evangelical mission and your ministry objectives as an order?


Sister English. I feel there is no compromise. The basic gospel value of abundance of life for all is the one that I would fall back on and say that, in order to have abundance of life, everyone needs to function at their highest capacity. So there is no compromise at all.


Mr Schaffer. Are there any limitations or anything that would somehow prevent faith-based organizations from participating in the Even Start program?


Sister English. I believe not. The proselytization that often gets hooked in with religion, of course, would not be allowed, and that is fine; it shouldn't be.


Mr Schaffer. Ms. Brown?


Ms. Brown. Two of our Even Start programs in Oklahoma City are located in area churches. I think the ideal location for an Even Start program is in an elementary school, it is a wonderful site, but many times, the school cannot accommodate that program, nd so when we opened our new sites, we looked to the nearest place to the school, and there were churches. It has been a wonderful collaboration. We pay very minimum; we just pay what it costs to heat and cool those buildings. And churches have wonderful early-childhood facilities and this kind of thing, and we have had no problem whatsoever. The churches have felt that it was a minister to the community. It has just been a really wonderful situation. Many churches are interested in social issues, as well as spiritual issues. I think, as Sister said, you don't proselyte, but the very fact that this program exists in a church does carry a message to the participants who come there. It is a very safe place for many of them to come, so that is one of the things that has happened with our new sites. And I have talked to one or two other places who have sites in churches, and it has been a very happy experience.


Mr Schaffer. Thank you; I am sure Mr. DeMint will appreciate your responses, as I have.


Sister English. And another thing, just in the afterthought. We have a church partnership. It is called the Church Outreach Partnership, and they engage many of their congregants in tutoring children in after-school hours.


Ms. Brown. And I should have mentioned that. Many of the people in these two churches are involved in our programs in various ways.


Mr Schaffer. That is great.

I want to get to the matter of accountability in the evaluations that have occurred with the Even Start over the years, at least since 1989 I presume, is when children started getting enrolled. Dr. Hartman, you mentioned a little earlier that the new evaluation is going to give us much more information than we have had in the past, but I guess I want to speak to the money we have spent over the last few years and whether we know the extent to which Even Start has helped improve the rate of literacy.

You get a certain picture by tracking cohorts of students as they improve in their reading abilities and their academic success, but without a baseline or a control group, it is difficult to assign any cause or determining cause and effect relationship. There may be a whole assortment of things that helped.

Can you speak to that? Do we have any indication that there is a cause and effect relationship in the improvement of kids in any, you know, other than the anecdotal evidence? It just seems that this makes sense, and it ought to be plain and obvious that the dollars spent help children, but how do we prove that?


Dr. Hartman. There have been I think, as I mentioned, three ways or three actually distinct phases of an evaluation. I think they have been related actually to three separate contracts with people to carry them out.

And the first one that Abt Associates, which is an area firm, carried out, that you did have was kind of in retrospective. It was small, but actually a control group built into a larger kind of collection of universe data from all the sites and all the programs. I am sure everybody has been involved in that kind of national -- it was a smaller actual group of programs that did actually have a fairly careful control set of programs and families matched to them.

And in the second phase -- and I can get back to you on this -- there was not a control group component, and I am not sure why.

And now in the third, which is actually out for data collection right now, there is, in fact, a much stronger and more robust, and I think a very exciting set of results, because it is a very big control group with scientifically-developed methodology and design. So that data is probably about a year from becoming kind of public to the Committee.


Mr Schaffer. What is the time span of the study?


Dr. Hartman. They have been covering about 3-year periods for each. Going back though to the first evaluation that did have the control groups, it was when the program was getting underway, so I think it is going to be real interesting to see the more recent one.

But, as I mentioned, the results for children were positive. For parents in terms of getting GED's was actually very positive; 6 percent of the adults, for example, in the control group got a GED, and 23 percent of the adults in the Even State programs did. So that is quite significant. You can't rule out every single, possible other cause, but there was a very careful control group assigned to it, so they believe from the scientific evidence that Even Start did have that impact.

What they didn't find -- and then there were also changes found in the home – were more reading materials, more reading activities, going to the library, and those kinds of things. The one piece that I was pointed to that really they didn't see the change -- they did see some improvement in the adult, but they also saw it in the control group, so there didn't seem to be anything attributable to Even Start. It was the impact of particularly low level literacy adults, and they were who weren't going to get a GED. I think someone else mentioned, for some adults, the GED is going to be a long, long process and maybe not the appropriate goal even. For those adults, there was not a clear gain in literacy skills attributable to the Even Start program. And I think that is an area of focus that has already going on that we need to do more in.

Sharon, I know, wanted to say something real quick.


Ms. Darling. I think in that study and a study prior to that -- the very first study – that they showed just the opposite, and that was those who made the most gains were those at the bottom-end of the literacy continuum, and they made the most rapid gains in the first 40 hours of instruction. So, the conclusion there was that it reached the hardest to serve and did a better job with them than we traditionally have accomplished.

In our research at the National Center for Family Literacy, we have been researching Even Start programs, as well as programs funded from other funding sources. And we really did look at a control group early on, looking at short-term gains. We compared to Head Start programs that had the same socioeconomic levels. We used the same instrument, and we used a Head Start base for family literacy programs. So we looked to see, did it make a difference if parents came with their children in a Head Start program, as opposed to just a Head Start program, which is indicative of the family literacy approach?


Mr Schaffer. Let me get one more comment in before that light turns red and that is, within the current fiscal year, we have budgeted $135 million for the Even Start program. The latest numbers we have is that we serve 31,500 families around the country. The Congressional Research Service has concluded that the total cost per family is about $4,438, and I am not sure of the time period that covers. My question is this, is there some way we can help more families for the same expenditures, and that we just be more efficient?


Ms. Brown. I am not an evaluator; I am the director of a local program. One of the things that I did with the monies is look to see what it cost for a child to be in the public schools, and in Oklahoma City, I think it is more than $4,000 per individual. So I really think that when you bring in collaboration money, that that money already -- I think this is a point -- has been allocated. All of the collaborations that we have made, all of the money that I have added to the Even Start funds, already was money allocated. In other words, it was going to be spent some way, but we brought it together so that it served families in a very holistic way.

One of the comments that I was going to make before you mentioned specific dollars was that evaluation is a challenge no matter what. When you are talking family literacy, you are talking about evaluating things that are almost non-evaluatable in a way also. One of the things that has helped me in my local program -- the national evaluation has been wonderful and has given wonderful information – is my local evaluator. One of the things that the Even Start legislation requires is that you have a local evaluator. A local evaluator is able to look at some of those other things and see them and measure them; the qualitative and not just the quantitative analysis.

It is very difficult to know how to get that information to those of you who make the policy. Of course, when I was here before and testified on educational programs that work, one of the wonderful things about that day was that a young father presented his testimony. One of the resolves that I have made with my Even Start program is to get my clients, my families who have really experienced Even Start to write letters to those of you who sit in these kinds of places, because you really are trying to do so much more. You know, adult education is a wonderful standalone program. There are many wonderful preschool standalone programs. Head Start has been a wonderful program. One of the exciting things that our local evaluation showed, and it is not a lot of children because it is just one program, but we now have children from our program in fourth and fifth grades and they are still outstripping their peers.

Now, the control group there has simply been the students in those same schools, but they are Title I schools; they are schools with at-risk population who weren't in Even Start. Whereas I think the traditional evaluation has shown that, you know, when only the child is intervened with, eventually they lose it because they are going back to that home situation where there has not been an intervention, where the parents' attitude toward education has not changed, where the parent has not realized that that is his or her responsibility; that they are the first teachers of their children. Parents as Teachers is one of the collaborators with my program. They provide the home visits, but it is such an intensive -- I often say that we do -- our tasks in Even Start is impossible. When you really look at a family who has been disadvantaged for a lot of years, who, in the case of many of my families, can't speak any English, you think, well, you know, in a short period of time. But if you really do, I think, intensive services -- and the other wonderful thing about Even Start is that you don't have to throw them out after 1 year or a certain period of time. You intervene; you do what you can with the families that you can reach, and then, hopefully, more and more.

But the other thing about it, before us is set an impossible task, yet we do an amazing job. And you almost just have to visit local programs, talk to people, and then you will begin to see. Your question a while ago about the evangelical involvement, Even Start is almost its own evangelical organization in a sense. The people who have really benefited from local programs are very evangelical about their participation, and they tell other people. In fact, I have often said, as a Christian, wouldn't it be wonderful if the people in my church were as excited about telling other people about Christ, as the people in my Even Start program are about telling other people about Even Start. And I think that is a real test of the value of a program when people's lives, I mean their total lives, are changed, and it is something that I really believe will show up years and years and years from now. It is not the short fix; it is not the quick fix, but eventually, we will see a tremendous difference.


Chairman Goodling. Mr. Wu.


Mr. Wu. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I just wanted to ask one quick followup. I think that I have an idea of where the answer is going to go, but I wanted to make sure that we gave Ms. Darling -- because she was moving toward a comparison of where parents are involved versus a control group where parents are not involved, and both groups of children have some form of intervention. And I was hanging for the conclusion of that result and I don't think we quite let you get that far. I would like to hear the end of that, please.


Ms. Darling. Thank you; I appreciate that.

We have been studying over time parents and children and also looking at them compared to programs where their parents did not come with them. And what we found is in the short term, when parents accompany their children to school, they do much better, that they gain more rapidly in preschool programs, compared to the exact programs where parents are not a part of their children's education.

We also looked at adults in adult programs and looked at their gains in family literacy programs, as compared to adults in programs where they are not accompanied by their children and where they don't have those comprehensive services. And the results are dramatic. There is a significant difference in gains as well as attendance and retention for adults. There is a significant gain for children.

We also found that the spiral that started upward continued upward. For example, in the Rochester study, we looked at the children who came in as three-and four-year-olds; only 20 percent of them were above the 20th percentile when they came in as children on a vocabulary test. When they were in third grade, 88 percent were at or above grade level in reading and math.

And Rochester has been doing a study comparing family literacy students to other students who come from similar circumstances, in terms of education of the parent, as well as economic situations, and what they found was significant. And so they have invested a lot more and have expanded their family literacy programs to 15 when they were just 3 because they feel like that is the best early childhood intervention for these children.

So we have a lot of results. I mean we didn't just look at Even Start. And I think one of the problems in the beginning with Even Start evaluation is it takes a long time to implement this program. It is not something that teachers have been trained to do. It is not something that community understands right away. So it takes a little bit of time to get those programs fully developed.

So we went in to look at programs that, you know, we thought had the four components in place. Some of the statistics Andy was talking about earlier; I mean those programs only had maybe an hour of adult education a month because they really didn't fully understand the intent of the law, and it has taken some time, some teacher training, some staff development, and technical assistance to get programs to fully implement.

So I think the next evaluation is going to tell quite a different tale.

Thank you.


Mr. Wu. Thank you very much, and thank you, Mr. Chairman.

One of the reasons why I might be looking back toward the back with some concern is my family just joined me from Oregon last week, and we left many of my 22-months-old's books back in Oregon and as I was listening to this, I was thinking I am not setting a good example. He is picking up the phone and talking into it, but I am not showing him enough examples of reading.


Thank you very much. We are going to remedy that tonight.



Ms. Darling. Good for you.


Chairman Goodling. Mr. Ford.


Mr. Ford. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I only want to echo what one of the last panelists commented about.

Yes, ma'am, I think it was you. You were talking about some of the success stories and how you were hoping that perhaps some folks in church would do the same thing.

I am from Memphis, Tennessee, and my State has 25 Even Start sites. And there is a young lady in my district, interestingly enough, I met just the day before yesterday, speaking at a school, which also serves as an Even Start program site -- the Locke Elementary School.

I won't take long, Mr. Chairman. I just want to read her three sentences -- Tracey Bowland -- which I think is a great followup to what you just said.

When asked of her opinion of Even Start, Ms. Bowland explained, "I have made a tremendous change in my life over the past 3 years, and Even Start has helped me to become a successful and independent person. I have been given the opportunity to work for Memphis City Schools and help other parents in the program reach for success. I feel better about myself and my life because I don't have to depend on the Government for assistance."

This Congress is so concerned with people leaning and depending on public assistance; this clearly is a program that helps move people from the margins to the mainstream or from the outside to the inside.

So I appreciate your comments, and I look forward to working with all my colleagues here on the Committee in doing all that we can to help you make a difference and others in my city and district to make a difference in the lives of not only Tracey Bowland but thousands of others throughout the Nation.


Ms. Brown. We think of Even Start as an educational program, but Even Start is so much more than that. One of the things that I am not sure the evaluation addresses, for instance, child abuse in families where Even Start has been an intervention. One of the first comments that we get from parents is that, "I don't have to hit my children anymore. I have learned ways to deal with them."

The parenting component of Even Start is something that just absolutely must not be overlooked. And all of those other wide range of results that come from participation in Even Start programs, self esteem, feeling like you are somebody, and enabling you to pass along those kinds of values to your children, and this sort of thing. We haven't even mentioned that whole area here; we have been thinking so educationally, which is wonderful; that is necessary, too. But there is so many other ways that an Even Start program impacts a family in positive ways.


Mr. Ford. Mr. Chairman, I hope you don't mind if I also submit a written statement for the record as well, if that is okay.

I yield back the balance of my time.

[The statement of Mr. Ford follows:]




Chairman Goodling. Mr. Kind.


Mr. Kind. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Am I batting cleanup today? Maybe so.

Well, I, too, want to welcome the witnesses and thank you for your testimony here today and your patience.

I also want to compliment the Chairman for his leadership on this issue. I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically support the Even Start program. We have some neat things occurring back in the State of Wisconsin that I am very excited about.

But there are two areas that I feel are running into some shortfalls, and they were touched upon briefly by the panels. I was hoping you could expand upon these points. Ms. Darling, you indicated the impact family literacy programs are having on Native American communities and the outreach being done there. I wonder if you could just amplify that a little bit more, and tell us if you have an opinion as to whether enough is being done. Is there enough outreach and effective programming being done with the tribes across the country? In Wisconsin at least, this is one of the shortfalls that I have noticed in regards to the program.


Ms. Darling. We have been involved with family literacy on Native American reservations since 1991. And it has been the most powerful program that we, out of all the programs we are working with in the 50 States, have seen to date. It fits very well with the Native American population because of the richness of their culture. And parents are saying to us, you know, "You are acknowledging the fact that I have something to share with my child and teach my child." The children are coming sometimes at such a disadvantage when they come to these family literacy programs. Their parents have just more or less given up on life; nothing can change for them. We have seen dramatic differences.

We've had an outside evaluator on these projects from the very beginning; the evaluations are funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It is called a FACE program. They have invested in adequate staff development to make these programs work, and I really think, and they believe, and the other tribes believe, that if we could spread family literacy to everyone of the BIA schools in this Nation, that we could really make a substantial difference in that population.


Mr. Kind. Yes, I don't question the effectiveness of the program; you don't have to sell me on that. I guess my question goes to whether enough is being done, if there ares enough resources getting out to the Native American community?


Ms. Darling. That is the point; I think there are only 22 programs on Native American reservations, and yet every year, all of the tribal leaders are saying, "We need this program," and there is no money to expand it. There are just absolutely no resources, and so there is not enough that is being done. I mean we need to expand this concept. It works; we have tested it out in that culture and that population, but, one of the recommendations I made was to take right now the money in Even Start is to set aside for migrant and Native American populations.


Mr. Kind. Right.


Ms. Darling. But it is operated out of the Even Start Department of Education, where over here, the Bureau of Indian Affairs is operating all of these other family literacy programs that are highly effective.

They, for Title I dollars, are treated as a State agency, and they write a State plan, and then they determine how to disburse the resources. They need to do the same thing for the Even Start dollars, so that they can look at where they already have strong programs and where programs are needed.


Mr. Kind. Right.


Ms. Darling. But, you know, increasing resources for this approach for Native American populations is critical.


Mr. Kind. Let me raise the other area of concern -- I will just open it up for the general panel and anyone who wants to respond to it -- and that is the challenges we face in rural America. And I believe one of you indicated that one of the keys of success of implementing effective programs in rural areas is having a point person, someone who is willing to go to bat and really make this a community issue. That is a constant struggle we have, especially when it comes to the competitive discretionary grant process back in the State. It’s hard for rural school districts to really be able to access this type of funding in order to get these programs up and going. In Wisconsin, rural America has really been taking it on the chin, particularly with the crisis on the farm, since the agricultural community has a direct impact on property tax roles and in local school districts. This is a program I feel is inadequately getting to rural children right now or to families.

Does anyone care to respond with any observations or any recommendations that you might have on how we can better serve rural needs?


Ms. Keenan. With Pennsylvania being the largest rural State in the country, I think maybe I should try to attempt to answer that.

When we were fortunate enough to get a substantial increase in State funds and leverage it against Even Start, the rural counties, of course, were a major priority to us. And, you know, when you talk about competitiveness, I think that there needs to be some planning and foresight on the part of the State, really, in terms of structuring these grant opportunities so that rural folks are eligible and can meet the criteria.

We have done that in Pennsylvania by putting in non-duplication and putting in incentives for establishing programs in new areas where they don't exist already, so that rural folks can come in and not be put into the pot with a lot of areas that are very rich with resources.

The other thing I think that it comes down to, and as we testified earlier, is the match issue and the 8-year rule around the partnership. They are two very strong barriers against rural participation. Oftentimes, what we are finding is that the models that we have to fund in rural areas, you know, for instance, there is a proliferation of center-based early childhood services such as Head Start. There are a lot of home-based components, and we have to look at rural areas a little bit more differently in how we look at their applications in the competitive grant process and make sure that that grant process provides for the needs of rural areas so that they can compete. And then, again, I think one of the largest issues is the match issue. I think that when you get up there around 75 percent matches, it is very, very difficult for some of the rural areas to compete. That and the 8-year rule are the major things.


Mr. Kind. Let me just conclude by asking if any of you know whether any of the comprehensive school reform grant money is being used to access Even Start programming?


Ms. Darling. We were really disappointed that we submitted family literacy evidence of effectiveness to be included in the book, so to speak, for comprehensive school reform, and they wrote back a letter saying that they did not want to consider anything beyond the confounds of K-6 as whole school reform. So I think it is really important that we take a look at that.


Mr. Kind. Okay.


Ms. Darling. Because it sends that message, again, to Title I, that you can fix it in this classroom with these 30 chairs, and we keep reinforcing that, so I appreciate that question. We are working hard on it.


Dr. Hartman. If I could just look back a second. Mr. Schaffer asked a question about cost, and if I remember correctly from studying the evaluations for the testimony, the average cost of the Even Start programs in rural areas is on average higher. While he was talking about averages, actually the range is very large, from $1,000 to $6,000, and one way a program keeps the cost down is they work with existing programs. They get their early childhood -- and in the rural area, there is just less there. I mean in New York City, there is adult education program every five or six blocks. In rural areas, there may be 15 miles in some areas before there is an adult ed. program, so some rural programs have to actually use the Even Start dollars to actually create some of the component services that you just don't see in the city.

So, if cost limitations gets to be an issue -- and I don't know if it will -- the rural situation would be important there.

If I could just get something on the record, Mr. Chairman, I think it is important to note that the average cost per participant in the Even Start programs now is half of what it was 1989. There has been a steady decline in the average cost per student. As programs have figured this out -- I think Sharon made a good point --they figured it out they could create better collaborations; they are using other partners, and the Federal cost for Even Start has been declining for 10 years. We don't know whether that will continue or not. At some point, I imagine it will plateau, but I think Mr. Schaffer raised an issue about cost, and it is important to know that a few programs are working more efficiently and smarter than they have been ever before.


Mr. Kind. Thank you.

Thank you all. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Chairman Goodling. Any other questions or comments?

We want to congratulate Ms. Bailey. I understand you were a Teacher of the Year this year.


Ms. Bailey. Thank you very much.



Chairman Goodling. We certainly congratulate you.


I had to laugh. I don't know whether it was Ms. Bailey or Ms. Brown who said it, but you said, "Now that you can use Ttitle I money," and I had to laugh because that is the only way I got it started 31 years ago, I guess; using Chapter I money.

We thank you very much for your testimony. If you have any suggestions as we go through this reauthorization of Title I, be sure we get your input because we’ve got to put it together some time this year.

Thank you.

[Whereupon, at 12:30 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]