Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy Announces Leadership Change at USCAL National Conference Examining the Adult Literacy Crisis in the U.S.

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Barbara Bush, former first lady of the United States and founder of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, called budget cuts to education “short-sighted” at the first U.S. Conference on Adult Literacy (USCAL), taking place in Houston, Texas, November 2-5.

Barbara Bush, former first lady of the United States and founder of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, called budget cuts to education “short-sighted” at the first U.S. Conference on Adult Literacy (USCAL), taking place in Houston, Texas, November 2-5.

Speaking to a crowd of more than 650 tutors, teachers, adult learners, and program directors from around the United States, Mrs. Bush said: “Our challenge is getting even bigger, I fear, as we feel the effects of budget cuts around our country. Why is it that one of the first things to cut is education? Because of these short-sighted cuts, we are going to have to get even more involved."

“We have to keep reminding our elected officials that an educated population actually saves governments money,” Mrs. Bush continued. “Crime rates would decrease; there would be less teenage pregnancies, drug abuse problems and children on the street. Educating others is potentially one of the most cost-effective tools the nation has to recover during this tough economic time.”

During her keynote address, Mrs. Bush announced a leadership change at the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which she established in 1989. The foundation, which has awarded more than $40 million to create or expand 902 family literacy programs in all 50 states including the District of Columbia, will now be led by Doro Bush Koch, who also addressed USCAL attendees, and Jeb Bush, who spoke via video.

Mrs. Bush promised that her children will “continue to work for many years to come” and she urged the audience to stay encouraged about the important work they do every day to advance the cause of literacy. “Every single person who learns to read is a victory.”

USCAL is a partnership of 26 national organizations spanning many sectors, including community colleges, public libraries, community-based organizations, and more. The conference also included a keynote address by Betty Anne Waters, the true-life story behind the movie “Conviction” starring Hilary Swank, a public policy forum to discuss the economic trends that are threatening our nation’s publicly funded adult education system.

For more information about USCAL, visit the USCAL website, http://www.proliteracy.org, or contact the conference team at conference(at)proliteracy(dot)org.

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Amy Schmitz
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