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Adult Education Programs--A Nutrient and Part of the Remedy
|Posted By: Catherine King on August 24, 2005|
|A wonderful paper, and well-supported. K-12 public educational institutions are embedded in a community "nest" that is in many cases impoverished; and children attending school live a large part of their lives in a "soil" that has few nutrients (to mix metaphors). Thus, the children that come to school from that impoverishment cannot optimize their potential, regardless of what improvements we make to our schools or to our teacher educational programs.|
A part of the remedy that underpins the problem of community poverty can come from the increased development of the huge network of adult education programs that exists in the U.S.
But there is also a problem of poor vision among our political leadership: leadership that fails to see the comprehensive relationship between (1) adult education programs embedded in communities across the nation and (2) K-12 problems that emerge as "poor academics"--that we are supposed to fix by more testing, by training and credentialing supposedly poorly trained teachers, or by earlier and earlier educational programming (like all-day day schools) actually replacing the home educational situation.
In this later situation, as good as schools can be, education as an institution can in fact become a poison to communities and to families, rather than working together with them in mutual support, as they are supposed to do.
Also, in the policy planning situation, rather than fostering a vision of the comprehensive aspects of community and child education, adult education programs are often seen as in competition with K-12 or HeadStart, etc., programs for funding.
But as the paper suggests, parents are the first and the best teachers long before our children enter the school arena--and should be. If so, then providing comprehensive support for adult education programs that are embedded in comunities would be like adding a pervasive nutrient to communities and to families that would, over the long term, improve the soil from which our children emerge to enter school--both economically and in terms of all of the other aspects that basic literacy and continuing education brings to our children's lives.
Catherine B. King
Department of Education
San Diego, CA