This week, September 23 – 29, marks “National Adult Education and Literacy Week.” Central Vermont Adult Basic Education (CVABE) is proud to serve almost 500 adult learners in Washington, Orange and Lamoille counties. Although we address four specific domains (basic literacy; high school credentialing; English Language Learning / citizenship; career and college readiness), the results of our work go much deeper.
The effects of under-education and low literacy are startling and devastating, and adult education organizations nationwide work tirelessly and behind the scenes to make a much larger difference than most people realize. Adult education betters the lives of individuals, families and our communities at large.
The National Council on Adult Learning estimates that low literacy costs the U.S. at least $225 billion each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax
revenue due to unemployment. It is no surprise that 70% of adult welfare recipients have low literacy levels. (The National Institute for Literacy) While the financial cost of low literacy on society is incredibly high, the effects on families are even higher.
Low literacy and under-education is generational. Children of parents with low literacy skills have a 72 percent chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves (National Bureau of Economic Research). The National Center for Poverty estimates that, nationwide, 82% of children whose parents have less than a high school diploma live in low-income families.
To put this in perspective, in Vermont there are over 5,700 adults without high school diplomas. Census data suggests that almost 1,200 of these adults live in Central Vermont. There are tens of thousands more who have diplomas, but are considered low literacy. Low literacy and under-education is silently plaguing our families and communities, a vicious cycle that can very simply be reversed through educational opportunities.
In the United States, more than any other country, a child’s economic and educational status is affected by parental education. (Pew Economic Mobility Project) Research has shown that children who experienced a positive change in family educational profiles showed higher eighth grade reading scores, completed nearly one-third of a year more of schooling, and were more likely to attend college. (Robinson, 2010) When a parent attains education and a better job, the effects directly impact the future of their children. In 2017, full-time workers without a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $515, compared with $718 for high school graduates. (Bureau of Labor and Statistics). Adult education makes a difference!
At Central Vermont Adult Basic Education, we like to believe that “Adult Education and Literacy Week” is not about our good work. We are a part of a larger learning community. It is about our brave students who want something different for themselves, their families and their future generations. It is also about out 100+ volunteers, who give their time and expertise to support our learners. It’s about the local businesses that refer employees to us, and sometimes even pay them for their time with us. It’s about the hundreds of individuals who financially support our educational efforts.
For more information on our services, or how you can support our efforts, please call (802) 476-4588, or email Brian Kravitz: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our motto at CVABE is local partnerships in learning, and for Adult Education and Literacy Week we would like to salute our entire learning community. Thank you!
To see Governor Phil Scott's proclamation on Adult Education and Literacy Week, click here.