GUEST COLUMN by SUSAN NARVAIZ
Thursday, February 12, is Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday. It is also “Literacy Day at the Capitol.” Why do we need a Literacy Day at the Capitol? Surely everyone there knows how to read and write. Certainly our elected officials would want to make sure that every Texan who wants an education has access to the basic learning tools that President Lincoln had two centuries ago. After all, it is 2009, the age of the highly technical, globalized marketplace.
But in 2009, we have the following reality in Texas concerning literacy:
Why is there a Literacy Day at the Capitol?
In Texas Works 2008: Training and Education for All Texans, a report from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, cites that a serious imbalance is emerging between the demand for skilled workers and the state’s ability to supply them. As the nation’s current leader in job creation, Texas cannot afford to fall behind. This report provides an in-depth study of this issue with recommended steps to ensure that our state’s young and growing population is one of the world’s strongest and most highly skilled work forces. It highlights many statistics and findings:
In a state that has so much to boast about, we must not fall further behind. It is my hope that you will join the many who will ask the Texas Legislature to consider these statistics and support the Texas Education Agency’s request to appropriate $50 million dollars to fund Adult Education and Literacy for Texas.
Your voices on the state, local and federal level will give added impetus to funding programs that will reach millions, who with increased access to quality adult education and workforce retraining, will become valuable employees, benefitting their families and contributing to our overall economic well being.
You might ask, how we will tackle this challenge? Listen to the following:
Even though, at capacity, and with Texas only serving 3.5% of adults in need of basic education, there ARE programs that deliver astounding results…
These are successful initiatives. However, it is imperative that Texas better fund these programs and reach out to more students.
Rutgers University conducted a study on 500 Adult Basic Education graduates and the impact their participation in ABE had on their children’s education. Among other encouraging discoveries, 75% of those interviewed saw an improvement in their children’s grades, and just as many said their children began showing a better attitude toward school.
Adult education programs work for the family! Adult education works for our communities! Adult education and workforce training if funded will work to keep our state’s reputation for being the best place to locate a business and to find a diversified workforce.
Susan Narvaiz is the San Marcos mayor. A strong advocate of adult education, she earned her GED in 1976.Email | Print