Reggie Speaking Out at Adult Education and Family Literacy 2013

Reggie, a 57 year-old Ward 7 resident, speaks out about his past disinterest in education, along with the joy and empowerment he now gains from a renewed yearning for learning.

Listen to his story below:

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Terry Abbot Speaking Out at Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2013

Terry Abbot, who left school in her 7th grade year due to family responsibilities, speaks out about the need for authentic and quality support from institutions cultivating adult learners, as well as the support she gives to, and receives from, her children in their mutual learning journeys.

Listen to her story below:

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Jessica Speaking Out at Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2013

Jessica, a Guatemalan mother who has been living in DC for twelve years, speaks out about her desire to improve her English in order to obtain a higher paying job and a better quality of life for her children.

Listen to her story below:

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Rhonda Johnson Speaking Out at Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2013

Rhonda Johnson, a student of Byte Back, speaks out about the significance of post-secondary education in her life, particularly on using her newly acquired computer skills to work through depression, drug addiction, and unemployment.

Listen to her story below:

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Escaping the plight of the working poor

Former US President Lyndon Johnson launched a fight against poverty. 50 years later, President Obama wants social justice. But students at an adult school in Washington haven’t noticed much of either.

“Most of the adults who take part in our programs are either unemployed or have really poorly paid part-time jobs,” explains Lecester Johnson, the director of the Academy of Hope in the US capital. “We have students who have three or four jobs just to get by.”

The adult education facility is just a stone’s throw from Congress in one of the richest cities in the world. At the Academy of Hope, the adult students are learning the basic 3Rs – reading, writing and arithmetic – and hoping to earn a high school diploma some day – to get a better job and escape the vicious circle of poverty.

“About 25 percent of the people in this country are leaning toward illiteracy. Here, in the capital, it’s estimated that around 85,000 cannot read properly,” says Johnson.

Earning a living wage

Lecester Johnson, director of the Academy of Hope in Washington One quarter of all Americans are illiterate, says Lecester Johnson from the Academy of Hope

A term often used to describe these people is ‘the working poor’ – people who have a job, but can’t make ends meet with their meager income.

This group has mushroomed in the United States in the last decade, even as the official unemployment statistics have fallen. It is, in fact, not hard to find a job in the US, but living off that income is another matter entirely. Continue reading

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Changes in GED test make it harder for adults to get high school credential needed for jobs

imrsBy Robert McCartney

It’s hard to find personal stories more heartening than those of unemployed and low-earning adults struggling in classes for hours each day, month after month, to get a substitute for the high school diploma they never got as teenagers.

They wrestle with algebra, photosynthesis and the Bill of Rights for the sake of an entry-level job or a 75-cent raise in their $10 hourly wage.

Many also do it so they can help their children with homework and set a positive example for the next generation.

District resident Tiffany Harris, 31, said of her 9-year-old daughter: “She’s seeing me in school, so that should give her a better reason to stay in school and learn herself.”

Harris, who also has a 3-year-old son, is studying 16 hours a week at the nonprofit Academy of Hope in Northeast Washington. She would like to work in a restaurant, but any job would do to pay her bills.

“I can fill out an application okay, but when they see you don’t have experience or a high school diploma, they throw it to the side,” she said.

For Harris and other strivers working to get a General Educational Development credential, or GED, the challenge has become significantly harder.

Beginning this year, the seven-hour GED exam was revamped to make the document more comparable to a high school diploma.

Continue reading

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Who We Are

DC Adult & Family Literacy Coalition is an alliance of adult learners, educators, advocates, public and private program providers, foundations and individuals from the District of Columbia to promote more effective adult education. One of our goals is to develop ways for the adult education community to share best practices in DC areas. This committee was created to facilitate that sharing. We focus on sharing best practices in assessment, teaching, curriculum development, management, and more.

Our coalition members include:

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