top of page


where are the teachers report cover

Where are the teachers? Adult Education Workers Explain the “Teacher Shortage” 

In this newest report we want to document teachers in their own voices and focus on individual experiences that give insight into the so-called “teacher shortage.” The collection of voices you will read are respondents to a survey launched by Adult Ed WAVE (Workers Amplifying Voices for Equity) in July and August of 2023. Adult Ed WAVE is a group of current and former Adult Education workers who began meeting in response to the increased interest in the Wage Transparency Project. The group’s mission is to center teachers’ experiences and increase teacher representation in field-wide decision-making.

Your voice is important to this movement. If you have any questions, or you feel like your experience is missing from this report, please reach out to

Lessons from a plain language analysis article cover

Lessons from a plain language analysis: U.S. Clean Air Act Title V public notices as barriers to environmental justice

Natalie Sampson, Carmel Price, Melanie Sampson, Mary Bradshaw, Bianca Freeman | Published in Environmental Science and Policy, Volume 151, 2024

"In this paper, we explore relationships between plain language, environmental justice, and everyday participation in our democracy..." Keep reading at the link below.

Community Voices Snapshot cover

Community Voices: 2022-23 Report

Our Community Voices group informs our Clear Language Lab work to advance communication equity by: dismantling oppressive norms, amplifying community knowledge, and centering relationships.

In 2022, we surveyed 11 of our participants to learn more about their experience with everyday communications. Respondents shared why they joined the Community Voices group, common themes they find in successful communications, and ways to make community interaction more equitable.

Please contact if you have any questions.

It Starts and Ends with the Funders report cover

It Starts and Ends with the Funders: More Insights into Turnover in Adult Education in Illinois

This report is a supplement to our first piece where we called on SOS to allocate more funding towards their grant. This one focuses specifically on the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) and how their funding policies directly impact the Adult Education field.

In this latest piece, we call on ICCB to make changes to their grantmaking strategies and acknowledge the harm that these policies have cause the field of Adult Education. Among other action items, we call for them to eliminate their "Generation" policy, distribute allocated funds in a timely manner, and recognize that learning English has value apart from WIOA goals. 


This is an on-going effort and everything we learn related to these issues will be available to the public. Please reach out to if you have any questions. 

Language is not neutral article cover

Language is not neutral: Writing for healing, transformation, and liberation

Melanie Sampson | Published in The Clarity Journal 84, 2022.

"In this paper, we examine the impact of trauma on communities that have experienced systematic oppression and what role plain language can play in contributing to a different legal system in the United States that transcends bias, inequality, and punishment. We acknowledge that the entire punitive system needs to be reimagined, and this paper is discussing just one avenue toward a more humanizing, compassionate approach..." Keep reading at the link below.

A Revolving Door of Professionals report cover

"A revolving door of professionals": Investigating High Turnover in Adult Education in Illinois

This report is a direct extension of the Wage Transparency Project. We collected stories and insights from Adult Education workers about their experience in the field. Many are leaving Adult Education, while many are struggling to stay in it. Both cite low wages and the prevalence of part-time work as their reason for their dissatisfaction.

We call on the state of Illinois to invest in Adult Education workers by increasing funding to adult literacy and providing guidance around sustainable wages. We will continue to create new versions of this report but the message is the same: high wages and full-time positions (40 hours/week) for adult education workers. 


This is an on-going effort and everything we learn related to these issues will be available to the public. Please reach out to if you have any questions. 

Share your Experience to support adult educators!

Adult Education Wage Transparency Project

As passionate advocates for literacy justice, we feel that adult educators deserve to know the reasons behind their salaries. At Literacy Works, we share many job posts but we require that the salary or hourly rate be included otherwise we won’t share it. One organization responded, “But if we show how much we’ll pay, people won’t apply”.


We were immediately struck by how powerful wage transparency can be. If people know how much to ask for and employers know they’re going to ask - wages will rise and workers will be able to stay and invest in their work. 

In the summer of 2022, we started our work towards a more sustainable adult education field. We asked teachers and administrators to share their experiences around wages and their work in adult education. They are responding through surveys, jamboard posts, live events, support letters, and anonymous comments. 

View the results:

Adult Education Teacher Wage Survey

Adult Education Administrator Wage Survey

Community Board (jamboard)

This is an on-going effort and everything we learn related to this project is available to the public. Please reach out to if you have any questions. 

The state of digital inclusion report cover

The State of Digital Inclusion

In 2021, we ask adult learners and tutors across Illinois about how they access and use the internet where they live. Among other findings, we learnerd that 23% of respondents reported not having reliable access to the internet and either left or were struggling to continue their adult education classes. 

When programs ask to spend their grant funds on internet equipment to support these learners, they were told that it was not allowed according to grantmaking rules from the Illinois Secretary of State Library Office.

In response, we created a report of our results and shared it with this funder with the aim of changing the rule so programs could spend their funding on hotspots or tablets. ​In the summer of 2022, this funder changed the rule and now programs are able to spend their funding for this need. Our report was credited with being part of the reason for this change. ​ 

Literacy Action Project report cover

Literacy Action Project

This project from Literacy Works aims to bring thought-provoking ideas that advance social justice principles from discussion to action. Each quarter, we'd focus on a new topic and provide resources for you to read, learn, discuss, and act. 

-READ: A week or two before the discussion, we'll send out a copy of our latest action paper.​

-LEARN: After reading, check out the resources and extended learning opportunities on the topic.

-DISCUSS: Next, you join us to discuss what you learned.

-ACT: Last, you take this information back to your organization and start new conversations​

bottom of page