Adult education well worth time, money invested

Monday, September 13, 2010

The most important thing you can learn in school is how to learn.

Fortunately, most of us learn everything we need to "learn how to learn" at a young age.

All is not lost for those who miss out on part of their education, however, and opportunities have never been better.

That's why Adult Education programs in Nebraska and around the country are celebrating this week as National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week.

Adult Education programs like those at Mid Plains Community College help adults improve their basic literacy and math skills as well as their oral and written English. Much of the work is accomplished with the help of volunteers.

Most of us hear about Adult Education in reference to the General Equivalency Diploma -- GED -- equivalent to a high school diploma, the most basic yet vital milestone on one's educational journey.

"Nebraska's adult education programs served 10,827 adults last fiscal year and more than half of the state's 17 programs have waiting lists for their services," said Vicki Bauer, state Adult Education program director. Nebraska's 33 testing centers span the state, offering easier access to adults who have completed their instruction and are ready to take the GED tests.

The goal, Bauer said, is to help adults improve their skills to prepare them for post-secondary education or vocational training so they qualify for jobs and can better support themselves and their families.

Congress declared this as National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, and with good cause.

A national survey of adults showed that more than 93 million American adults have basic or below basic literacy skills that limit their ability to advance at work, receive an education, help their children with schoolwork, interact with health care professionals and prevent them from participating in their communities.

Any program that helps reduce those numbers is well worth the investment of time and money.

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