Racial Equity in Adult Education Grant Update – Part 2

Racial Equity in Adult Education Grant Update – Part 2

Check out Part 1 of this series for an introduction to the Racial Equity Team and the overall goals of the Racial Equity in Adult Education grant.

Advisory Groups

The first step the team took was creating the Racial Equity ABE and Partners (REAP) Advisory Group. Although there was a lack of applicants, 9 passionate individuals were selected. These members represented all regions of the state and were able to provide diverse experiences and input. There were also 2 members representing Minnesota’s Department of Corrections.

As stated previously, the advisory groups are meant to guide and support activities, so at the first meeting in November of 2021 See and Addy explained the grant to the group, and the group got right in to discussing concerns they had about their ABE programs. Monthly meetings with this group provided great insight into the experiences of ABE partners, educators, managers, and staff members.

Following the creation of the REAP Advisory Group, another advisory group was formed consisting of ABE students – the Racial Equity Adult Learner (REAL) Advisory Group. There were over 60 applications for this group, many of which were students thinking they were signing up for a class. After sorting through the applications with the assistance of the REAP Advisory Group, the Racial Equity Team selected 7 final members.

In selecting the final candidates, diversity was at the forefront of all decisions. Diversity can mean many things, not simply race or color of skin. The REAL Advisory Group needed to be diverse in gender, age, race, sexuality, ability, location, program status, etc. Throughout this project, the inclusion of students currently incarcerated was critical, so there were 2 students selected to represent the DOC.

The first meeting was in February of 2022. Discussions with this group led to being extremely beneficial to the project. Hearing the diverse experiences of students from all walks of life provided a background of the students ABE serves and the changes that could be made to benefit said students. Without this advisory group, the Racial Equity Team would not be where they are currently with this project.

In the early stages of the project, the team was also able to meet with a representative from Urban Planet and were given access to view demographic information regarding students. The initial research was helpful, but distributing surveys would give the best and most accurate information.


Alongside the guidance and support of the REAP and REAL Advisory Groups, See, Addy and Rose created and administered three Google Forms surveys – one for administrators, one for educators/staff, and a final one for students (with a printable PDF version specifically for students incarcerated). The surveys were essentially created based on the conversations that took place during the monthly advisory meetings. The groups were able to brainstorm specific areas within ABE, such as professional development (PD), curriculum, resources, teaching/learning experience, relationship to educators/staff, etc. These main areas of focus led to the development of the questions within each category.

The combination of the survey questions and the three different ABE perspectives – administrator, educator/staff, students –  gave the team a better understanding of Minnesota ABE and its needs. Keep in mind, although not all questions have the word ‘equity’ in them or specifically address ‘equity,’ they tell a story and all serve a purpose in pursuing equity.

To disperse the surveys, the team relied heavily on consortium managers. See sent all consortium managers the information about the surveys. Depending on which survey was being dispersed, the managers were asked to take a survey, send the surveys to their site’s educators, or forward information on to educators to administer the Student surveys. There were 53 Administrator responses, 123 Educator responses, and 448 Student responses.

The process of creating these surveys, under the guidance of the REAP and REAL Advisory Groups, brought the Racial Equity Grant team closer to completing the grant goal of conducting a data analysis. In Part 3 of this article series, future grant activities will be explained, as well as obstacles the team has faced.

To hear about the grant activities in more detail, join the Racial Equity Team at this year’s Summer Institute!

Image credit:

Equity vs Equality” by MN Pollution Control Agency is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Addy Wolbaum, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Assistant Southwest ABE - Marshall
See Moua-Leske, Program Manager / Grant Manager Southwest ABE - Marshall