LVA's New Educational Coordinatorby Literacy Volunteers and Advocates on 07/06/15
Kenneth Parker counts himself as lucky that he can use his passion for adult education to help move DC toward achieving a larger goal. LVA learners and supporters of adult literacy should count themselves as fortunate as they benefit from Mr. Parker's knowledge and commitment.
As LVA's new educational coordinator, Mr. Parker, is well-qualified. Not only does he have hands-on experience in teaching but he offers a solid grounding in academic knowledge. He is an adjunct professor of education at the University of the District of Columbia Community College and at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Mr. Parker is developing a curriculum for LVA that can better aid learners in their efforts to master basic literacy skills. He believes that it is important to develop a unified curriculum that will help learners and instructors to build upon new found skills and knowledge.
Mr. Parker has seen many learners -- in public school and now at LVA -- improve their skills. He is pleased to see that LVA tutors, instructors, and learners possess the passion and desire to improve reading skills which are vital elements needed to achieve success.
Tutoring and teaching are more than just "jobs" to Mr. Parker.
"For as long as I can remember I have been passionate about education," recalls Mr. Parker, who held tutoring positions in college. He also helped establish a tutoring organization that paired students with children of impoverished backgrounds.
It was as a fourth grade teacher that Mr. Parker came to understand just how truly damaging the lack of basic literacy skills could be to young children.
"When I was a classroom teacher and administrator in the public school system here in DC, it really saddened me to encounter students who were unable to read," he recalls.
As a fourth grade teacher in SE DC, he says many of the students had been pushed through the system without having the skills necessary to succeed. Many of the students he encountered in elementary school were reading at least two to three grade levels behind.
Public school systems in DC and other places are striving to improve their ability to serve students whose background and lack of skills put them at an initial disadvantage. Yet, too many of these students have left school with sub-standard literacy skills which leaves them at a huge disadvantage in DC's demanding job market and in trying to raise their families.
That's why Mr. Parker sees LVA's mission as being about social justice as much as it is about literacy. More than ever, the two are increasingly intertwined.
"Adult literacy and adult education are of the utmost importance. It is one of the keys to moving significant numbers of people out of poverty. Without the ability to read, write, and compute these adults are relegated to living below the poverty level."