President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal includes dramatic cuts to adult education funding and the complete elimination of many vital federal programs that support adult literacy, workforce development, and human services. The scope of the cuts to The Department of Education is significant, with an overall cut of $9 billion (13%), including a $95 million cut (16%) to Adult Education and Family Literacy state grants.
ProLiteracy has launched a new nationwide campaign, Letters for Literacy, to rally the forces of literacy advocates to contact their elected officials and ask them to reject the proposed budget cuts. Funding for adult education programs is necessary to help the 36 million American adults who function at low literacy levels break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. The campaign provides templates, contact information, statistics, and more to help advocates and learners urge their elected representatives to support adult literacy.
“The Letters for Literacy campaign is a way for literacy champions to voice their concern and advocate against these deep cuts that will hurt adult literacy programs, learners, and their families,” said Kevin Morgan, president CEO of ProLiteracy. “We are urging Congress to reject a budget that increases defense spending by $52 billion at the expense of programs that help further the education, health, and employment of Americans.”
ProLiteracy recently released The Case for Investment in Adult Basic Education, a white paper based on research by Dr. Stephen Reder. Reder’s research includes data that provide strong evidence of the impact of participation in adult basic skills programs and a positive return on investment related to improving an adult’s life. These improvements include future increases in income, literacy levels, high school equivalency attainment, and postsecondary engagement. “Low adult literacy has a huge adverse impact on the employability and earnings of American adults, and, equally important, on our nation’s economic and social well-being. This research provides a strong case for an increased investment in adult education,” said Morgan.