Pictured from left to right Tom Nash, Kaye Sharbono, Sharon Bonney,
Secretary Betsy DeVos, Reecie Stagnolia, and Patricia Tyler.
ADULT EDUCATION LEADERS WORKING TO INCREASE CAREER READINESS FOR AMERICA'S ADULTS MEET WITH NEW EDUCATION SECRETARY AND CONGRESS TO SEEK SUPPORT
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- As part of a campaign to improve access to adult education and skills programs that dramatically increase job opportunities, leaders of two major adult education organizations met this week with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and more than 80 members of Congress and staff. Tens of millions of adults in America can't read or compute simple math. They are often unable to find work or qualify for job training programs.
According to officials from the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) and the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education (NCSDAE), Secretary DeVos told the leaders she is committed to strengthening adult college and career readiness and is eager to find innovative and high-tech solutions to help. The meetings came as COABE members, joined by various adult education state directors, fanned out across Washington for the spring Capitol Hill Day.
The two organizations, which represent more than 55,000 adult education teachers and administrators, recently launched the national Educate & Elevate campaign to raise awareness about and ensure funding critical to support adult education programs nationwide.
The United States consistently scores below the international average in literacy, numeracy, and modern problem-solving, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. One in six adults in the U.S. lacks basic reading skills and cannot read a job application, understand basic written instructions, or navigate the Internet. Two out of every six adults in the U.S. cannot understand basic numbers, like working a cash register or understanding a transit schedule, as COABE and NCSDAE leaders pointed out.
"The Secretary assured us she is very interested in finding innovations and new technologies to help the 36 million adults in America who can't read job ads or qualify for job-training programs," said COABE's president Tom Nash Director of Adult Education for RSU #14 - Windham Raymond School District in Windham, Maine. "We thank the Secretary for her interest and look forward to working with her and the Department of Education." A goal of the Trump administration is to provide more job opportunities for American workers, therefore the leaders discussed the need to prepare more adults to fill current and newly created job openings at all levels. Adults with a high school diploma or equivalency certificate are more likely than those without to work full time, earn an average of $30,000 a year or more, and are better able to lift themselves above the family poverty line.
"It's time that we move beyond the concept of 'leave no child behind.' Today we need everyone pulling together so that adults, too, can move ahead with the skills they need to find and get good jobs, support families, and minimize strain on social and legal services in our communities nationwide," Sharon Bonney, COABE's executive director added.
Federal and state funds support the majority of adult education programs. These funds have served approximately 1.5 million adults a year of the 36 million adult Americans in need. Budget decisions are pending for appropriations to support the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). This act was overwhelmingly approved by Congress in 2014 to transform the nation's adult education system.
"The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is a game changer that will transform our work in preparing students to compete in today's workforce," said Reecie Stagnolia, incoming chair of the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education (NCSDAE) and vice president for adult education, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. "Adult education is a wise investment in America's future that will yield a significant return. Improving the educational attainment of our adults prepares them for successful transition to college and careers and is an economic catalyst for global competitiveness."
Nationwide, many potential students languish on waiting lists, some can't afford transportation to get to distant classes, and some without child care are unable to attend night or weekend classes. Secretary DeVos, COABE, and NCSDAE leaders pledged to look for strategies to connect with more adult students through innovative technologies and informational campaigns.
Following the meeting, the leaders expressed confidence that Secretary DeVos would consider adult education a priority in her policy agenda. "It was truly an honor to meet with Secretary DeVos and discuss the critical role our nation's adult education system plays in increasing the education and skills of our adult population," said Stagnolia.
Other leaders at the meeting included Kaye Sharbono, COABE's incoming president and adult education leader in Louisiana, and Patricia Tyler, executive director of NCSDAE. The hour-long session concluded a successful day of meetings with more than 80 Congressional members and staff.
For more information contact Sharon Bonney at info@COABE.org or 888-44-COABE.
COABE and the NCSDAE are engaged in a joint public policy/advocacy
initiative which is generously underwritten by
Coalition on Adult Basic Education, PO Box 620, Syracuse, NY 13026
Posted by Shelley McGowan on May 2, 2017
Posted by Shelley McGowan on April 21, 2017
Posted by Shelley McGowan on March 30, 2017
Posted by Shelley McGowan on November 17, 2016
HOW ADULT EDUCATION HELPS BREAK THE CYCLE, AND THE IMPACT IT MAKES IN FAMILIES' LIVES
What difference does adult education make in adult learners’ lives?
Adult education helps adults break cycles of intergenerational poverty and illiteracy by giving them the skills they need to succeed as workers, family members, and citizens. Stories adult educators hear every day include the successes adult learners achieve, for example, because they:
According to adult graduate Chelsea Howard of New Orleans, LA, “…if you keep your momentum, adjust your path when necessary, and do not give up, you can accomplish anything.” Adult education programs and teachers help adult learners do just that.
Posted by Shelley McGowan on September 26, 2016
Join us in congratulating Paula Callan, MMRACE advisory board member, for her new position at Messalonskee High School! Read more at centralmaine.com
Posted by Shelley McGowan on August 22, 2016
Our very own Paula Raymond and husband Gary Raymond have donated countless volunteer hours to make our city a more beautiful place to live!
Posted by Shelley McGowan on July 12, 2016
Join us in welcoming our incoming board members! Hannah Bard, Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education , Holly Caron, Golden Pond Wealth Management , Ann Lind eman, Bangor Savings Bank, Wanda Steward, Kennebec Valley Community Action Program, and James Wood, United Insurance Tilton Agency
Posted by Shelley McGowan on June 30, 2016
Photo by Jeff Pouland Soon-to-be graduates of Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education stand before family and friends at the beginning of the graduation ceremony Tuesday night at Trask Auditorium at Waterville Senior High School.
Posted by Shelley McGowan on June 1, 2016
Ginny Shorette, left, and Angie Harrell speak about graduating from Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education program Tuesday. Both women overcame challenges to graduate. Staff photo by David Leaming
WATERVILLE — Ginny Shorette and Angie Harrell are living proof that it is possible to overcome life challenges and succeed, even when you think you can not.
The women, 20 and 36, respectively, will graduate Tuesday night from Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education after having dropped out of school when they were younger, enrolled in adult education courses, worked hard and persevered.
“I’m so proud and relieved,” Shorette said. “I’ve got a lot of family coming. They’re all really supportive and excited. They’ve got all kinds of things planned for me.”
English teacher Paula Raymond also is proud.
“These were a couple of young women whose lives and luck just were never there for them,” Raymond said. “They gave our program a last ditch effort so to speak. Both worked hard over these past few years.”
Graduation ceremonies will be at 7 p.m. in Trask Auditorium at Waterville Senior High School.
Shorette, of Oakland, dropped out of Messalonskee High School when she was a sophomore. She just couldn’t seem to make it in traditional classes, was not grasping information the way other students did and continued to fall behind. She struggled with depression and anxiety, which contributed to her difficulties.
When she enrolled in adult education, it became clear she had an ability to learn, but in a different way than in a traditional classroom. She spent time one-on-one with teachers and counselors who helped her learn how to organize, and she focused on the diploma she so earnestly wanted. She got professional help to work through her issues with depression and anxiety, got a job in a fast-food restaurant and eventually was promoted from a crew member to a swing manager.
“I was in there working one day and the owner came in and was walking around and I guess he noticed me working and talked to my general manager and I was promoted,” Shorette said. “I got a raise. I’m still getting raises the more I do.”
The more she accomplished over the last two years in both school and work, the more confident she became. She is in the process of doing paperwork to enroll in college to study phlebotomy and hopes to become a nurse one day.
“I never thought I was going to do it, and it wasn’t that I didn’t want my education. It was that I couldn’t pull myself out of what was happening around me in my life,” she said.
The staff at Mid-Maine adult ed, including Raymond, who also teaches courses other than English, and history-government teacher Ken Gagnon, who sat with her and spent time with her, made the difference, she said.
Unlike Shorette, Harrell did not have a supportive family. In fact, it was the opposite.
In 2010, she moved to Maine from Washington state after growing up in a family that did not value education and whose members were addicted to drugs, she said. Her family moved back and forth from Florida to Washington frequently, and hers was a precarious upbringing, surrounded by drugs, partying, violence and crime, she said.
She had three children and lost them to the state because of her own issues with addiction. When she got pregnant for the fourth time, she decided she needed to get far, far away from drugs and raise her child in a healthful environment.
When she came to Maine, she went to the New Hope Shelter in Solon and connected with a woman she now calls her “god-mom.”
That woman convinced Harrell that the only way to get off welfare is to get an education, so she enrolled in adult ed and has taken courses for four years. Harrell said she also developed a faith in God that has helped her to become stronger and change the way she relates to the world. Because of help from her godmother, her church, her son, who is 6, and the staff at Mid-Maine Adult Ed, she will graduate Tuesday and hopes to enroll in college and get a job, possibly doing alcohol and drug counseling.
“You want to show your kid that they can do it, and I don’t want my son to drop out of school,” she said.
Like Shorette, Harrell said instructors, including Raymond and Gagnon, took the time to understand how she learns and how best to help ensure her success. She also learned that focusing on work and sticking with it were critical.
“Once you lose that groove, that’s it,” Harrell said. “You have to push through it no matter what you’re going through.”
Harrell, of Waterville, said she will be the first person in her family to get a diploma out of prison, and she worries that it may be difficult to get a job because of her background.
“I should have been dead 50 times over — I know it,” she said. “Once I rose above that, I know that I am worth a lot more than I was told all my life.”
Both Shorette and Harrell encourage others who want to purse an education but are afraid to, to just do it.
“Push through it. Don’t let the fear keep you back,” Shorette said. “If you let it hold you back for that, it’ll hold you back from other things.”
Harrell said she was the “queen of excuses” for why she could not continue something, but once she made up her mind to go on, she kept on going.
“People can do a lot more than they think they can,” she said.
Meanwhile, Raymond said Shorette and Harrell worked very hard, and she is excited to be able to see them graduate Tuesday.
“They took many a deep breaths, and they were willing to trust those of us who were advocating for them,” Raymond said. “They both can lift their heads up high and walk proud into their future endeavors.”
Hannah Bard, director of Mid-Maine adult ed, said 35 men and women will graduate this spring and 12 will march in ceremonies Tuesday night. Nine will graduate with high school diplomas and 26 will receive HiSET, or high school equivalency certificates. The HiSET is one of three high school equivalency tests in the nation and is used in seven states, according to Bard.
She said she can not say enough about how impressive this year’s group of graduates is.
“Each one of them has worked incredibly hard to be graduating on Tuesday evening, facing challenges that would have halted others,” Bard said. “They had to make uncomfortable choices to change their lives for the better. One of the best things about this group of graduates is that I know Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education is not their last step, but rather their first step to new journeys.”
Amy Calder — 861-9247
Posted by Shelley McGowan on May 30, 2016