Posted by Christy Williams on October 29th, 2015
Adult education facilities across the country face a similar challenge: The best way to provide quality education for young adults who did not complete high school. Funding issues, changes to HSE requirements and exams, and a continued focus on the importance of an educated adult population play a crucial role in adult learning institutions from Seattle to Tennessee. Even in the face of adversity, many states are pulling through with major accomplishments in the field of adult ed.
United Way launched its Reconnecting Youth project in King County, WA, in an effort to help high school dropouts, age 16 to 23, earn a high school equivalency certificate. The program’s estimated cost is $8,900 per student which will be partially paid for out of state funds. As Seattle’s high school dropout rate currently puts them at 42nd in the country, the program aims to change that. The higher age range is an effort to reach out to older dropouts who in the past would not have qualified for state or federal aid.
The Adult Learning Center in Taos, NM, recently expanded its focus to include a broader range of services. In addition to the ESL and HSE classes they have offered for 20 years, ALC has implemented college readiness and career development courses. The center is a part of Career Pathways, a national program to support the transition from education into the workforce. In addition to learning the background skills and knowledge to succeed in higher education, students are getting educated on professionalism, general finance, and health and wellness to live a satisfying life.
Adult ed instructors and students are facing the changes to HSE head-on in Hannibal, MO. The state recently changed HSE requirements from the GEDⓇ test to the HiSETⓇ exam which tests the same content as the previous test, but in a deeper way. The HiSETⓇ test was developed to align with Missouri’s Common Core Standards. However, lawmakers in Missouri recently denied Common Core Standards at the state level, leaving adult ed instructors to prepare students for a test that aligns with outdated standards.
Recognizing the importance of an educated population spurred Tennessee lawmakers to implement a new $1.1 million program called Tennessee Reconnect + Complete. The program includes a widespread marketing campaign targeted at those age 25 and up who completed a few college credits but never graduated. The plan includes airing television ads early next year and sending out mailers on adult education options. Universities across TN are meeting to determine how they can serve adult learners better by offering more flexible programming and possibly giving credit for real-world experience.
Homeless students in California were recently handed an opportunity for future success from Governor Jerry Brown and Senator Mark Leno. Given the high cost of taking a HSE exam, and the disastrous results an uneducated population can have on a state’s economy, the leaders implemented a new bill which waives HSE testing fees for homeless youth. The ultimate goal is to offer young people a chance at a better education and higher earnings as they enter the workforce.