Allegany County Adult Ed, YMCA Partner to Promote the Cause
The National Coalition for Literacy is celebrating Adult Education and Family Literacy Week September 10-16, 2012, and the Allegany County Adult Education Program will partner with the Y.M.C.A Family Center to promote this cause. Free books will be distributed to local families during the “Friday After 5” event on September 14, 2012. Donations of “gently” used or new books are being requested, specifically books for children and appropriate reading books for adult learners. Anyone who is interested in donating books may drop them off at the front desk at the Downtown Y.M.C.A. or by calling 301-724-0683.
According to The National Coalition for Literacy website at www.national-coalition-literacy.org, adult education programs serve individuals, 16 years of age and older, who need to improve their basic skills with an emphasis on literacy, math and English language proficiency. Instructors work with each student to obtain their goal, such as to: earn a high school diploma, help their children to succeed in school, get, retain or advance in a job and/or transfer to a community college or training program.
The need for adult education is a great one. According to the American Community Survey, of the more than 200 million adults (age 25+) in the United States in 2010, approximately 15% have NOT earned a high school diploma or an equivalent. Moreover, 93 million adults function below the high school level according to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy.
Adult education supports national priorities as individuals with higher education are more likely to get and keep jobs, lift themselves out of poverty, reduce health care costs and take better care of their families. They are better equipped to help support their own children’s’ educations and break cycles of illiteracy and poverty. Getting people the basic skills and training they need to reach their goals benefits them, their families and the nation.
In 2006, the Office of Management and Budget rated adult education programs as “Effective,” their highest rating, saying, “The program recruits, retains and assists more people from its target population at a lower cost than other [federally funded] job training programs.” In 2010-2011, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Adult and Vocational Education invested $596,120,000 in the education of nearly 2.01 million students, a mere federal cost of $296 per student. Additionally, The Center for Labor Market Studies estimates that a diploma’s contribution—including the payment of payroll, federal and state income taxes- could amount to more than $250,000 per graduated student.
Adult education prepares parents to be their child’s first and most important teacher. Studies continue to demonstrate the correlation between parents’ literacy, especially mothers’, and children’s success with literacy and school. A recent report concluded that programs to boost the academic achievement of children from low income neighborhoods would be more successful if they simultaneously provided education to parents.
Family literacy is lifelong learning for the entire family. Adults and children receiving family literacy services not only strengthen their learning skills among their peers, but also come together to support and inspire each other’s educational successes/ Children spend five times as much time outside the classroom as they do in school, so parents and caregivers must be equipped to support their learning. During these difficult economic times, family literacy and adult education has never been more important.
For more information about the Allegany County Adult Education Program, call 301-687-8025, and for more information about the Downtown Y.M.C.A Family Center, call 301-724- 5445.