At least one Indiana school district plans to eliminate its adult
education program to help cope with th $300 million in K-12 education cuts
ordered by Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Long-term, that's a penny-wise and pound-foolish approach. Adult education programs do
more directly to get people working, paying taxes and supporting
public schools than most people realize.
Fort Wayne Community Schools held its annual GED graduation ceremony
Wednesday night to honor the 303 adults who passed the GED exam in
2009. To a person, the five student speakers said their motivation to
earn the GED was to get a job or a better job.
David Potts dropped out of Woodlan High School in 1974. He wanted to
join the Air Force, so he took the GED and was told by a recruiter
that he had passed. He spent four years on active duty. When he was
laid off by his long-time employer in 2008, he began looking for work.
Needing proof of his GED certification, he contacted the state and was
told that he actually failed the exam 30-plus years ago.
Emily Lydy dropped out of North Side High School when she had a baby.
She worked her way up in a series of medical jobs until an employer
checked and found she was a dropout. She was fired. Lydy returned to
school, passed the GED and is now studying nursing at Ivy Tech.
Humberto Giron earned a high school diploma in Mexico City, but it
did him no good when he moved to Fort Wayne six years ago. He enrolled
at Anthis Career Center to earn a GED so he could become a police
Anthony Martin bounced around 15 schools in Michigan before he moved
to Fort Wayne at age 17 to live with his father. Because he would have
been 21 before he could earn a regular diploma, he enrolled at Anthis
to earn his GED. He plans to get a job in construction.
Jon Peete spent four years at North Side, but left without a diploma.
He held a good-paying job for years, but was laid off in 2008. He
landed another job last August, but the company pulled the offer the
day before he was to start because he didn't have a diploma. Peete
enrolled at Anthis and took the GED exam within two months. He's
looking for work now, but also considering enrolling in college.
The story is the same for most of the other graduates. Why would any
community want to make it tougher for residents to get a job and
become tax-paying citizens?