Adult and continuing education policy in the USA

Marcella Milana, Lesley McBain

    Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


    Self-portrayed as “the largest and most technologically powerful economy... with a per capita GDP of $49,800” (CIA, 2014, Economy - overview), the United States of America (U.S.), with a population of over 300 million is the third most populous country of the world. A founding member of the United Nations, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and one of the world’s major economies, the U.S. exerts political influence well beyond its territory. This influence, backed by often being the highest dues-paying member of these organizations, depends to a great extent on national politics and priorities, and spans direct military control to more subtle direction of the educational development of children, youth and adults. Although no official national definition exists, adult and continuing education comprises adult literacy and education up to secondary school levels), adult vocational training, and non-credit postsecondary programs supported by federally supported programs (ED & DOS, 2008). After clarifying the USA’s political powers and responsibilities in adult and continuing education, this chapter concentrates on the grand-scale policy frameworks shaping U.S. priorities. While not accounting for all the policies and practices across the US’s 50 states and the District of Columbia, it does shed light on the prevailing philosophical, ideological and political interests in adult and continuing education at the national level. These interests influence both state and local governments’ decisions but also provide significant input to international debates on adult education policy development in other countries and international organisations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGlobal perpectives on adult education and learning policy
    EditorsMarcella Milana, Tom Nesbit
    Number of pages16
    Place of publicationHoundmills, Basingstoke
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    Publication date2015
    ISBN (Print)978-1-137-38824-7, 978-1-349-56199-5
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-38825-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    SeriesPalgrave Studies in Global Citizenship Education and Democracy


    • adult education
    • policy
    • USA
    • Ideology


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