Episode 5: Strengthening Community through Adult Literacy
Imagine what your life would be like if you could not read. What kind of job would you have? How would you care for your family? Well, this is a reality for many people across the country. In fact, recent reports show that 1 in 5 adults in North Texas cannot read. This means that more than 800,000 adults in Dallas County alone are struggling with literacy and that number is projected to grow to more than 1 million by 2030.
This is a problem that impacts all citizens in one way or another, especially our economy. According to ProLiteracy.org, increased access and funding for adult literacy education resources and a change in public policy, including increased participation of the private sector in adult literacy education, will directly impact all Americans by contributing to a healthy economy through increased employment and reduced public assistance.
My guest in today’s episode is Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT) President and CEO, Dr. Linda Johnson. Dr. Johnson has over 20 years of non-profit management experience with educational and arts-based non-profit organizations. Linda joined LIFT in 2017 from Dallas Independent School District (DISD), where she served as Executive Director of the College and Career Readiness program.
In her work with LIFT, she strives to enhance the lives and strengthen communities by teaching adults to read. More specifically, LIFT is reaching into the neighborhoods where people live, work and worship to teach adults to read, and thereby increasing access to employment, reducing reliance on social services, and improving the quality of life for many students and their families across Texas.
During this episode, Dr. Johnson sheds light on the growing adult literacy problem in Texas and explains how education policy and practice have utilized to address the current situation. She also discusses the strategies and resources her organization, LIFT, deploys to address adult literacy and strengthen communities across the state through advocacy and partnerships.
About the Guest
Dr. Linda K. Johnson, President and CEO for Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT), has thirty-five years of management experience, including more than fifteen years of CEO experience. Before joining LIFT in 2017, she served as Executive Director of College and Career Readiness for the Dallas ISD and led three Dallas ISD departments: Advanced Academic Services, Career Education and Workforce Partnerships, and Postsecondary Success.
Dr. Johnson holds a M.B.A. from the University of Dallas and a Ph.D. in Public and Urban Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington where she is also an Adjunct Professor. Additionally, she has been involved in numerous national market research and community-wide master planning projects.
Dr. Johnson was awarded the 2012 Council of the Great City Schools / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Research and Assessment Leadership award for Early Indicators of Future College Success Longitudinal Postsecondary Analysis of Dallas ISD Graduates 1998 to 2009. Her other white papers include: Models of College Success: High School Influences on Dallas ISD 2002 Graduates and Reaping the Benefits: The Impact of Immigration on Dallas Public Education.
Contact with Dr. Linda Johnson
Connect with the Host
You can reach me on Twitter @drjeffmiller and Instagram @drjeffreymiller or go to my show website purposedriveneducator.com and leave a question or comment about any of the content shared on this episode. You can also read my latest blog post at www.drjeffmiller.com