In the FY21 budget for the city of Philadelphia, funding for the Office of Adult Education (OAE) was cut. The OAE had connected learners to programs for the past 37 years, making education accessible for all ages. This is a major loss for Philadelphia and all those who would benefit from OAE programs, including English as a Second Language (ESL) and citizenship, high school equivalency, workforce development, and other adult basic education programs.
“Why do learners who have been failed by our systems have to be resilient all the time?” Amy Ballard and Bryce Bayer wrote in Opinion: Adult education isn’t a priority in the FY21 budget — but it should be.
This funding is crucial to helping those who will need education and training to prepare for careers during and after this challenging time. Providing citizens with basic education resources and programs is important for rebuilding the economy after COVID-19. An educated adult population leads to a safer, stronger, and more sustainable society.
Individuals at the lowest literacy and numeracy levels have a higher rate of unemployment and earn lower wages than the national average. Low literacy costs the U.S. at least $225 billion each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment. During this difficult time, adult education should be a priority in rebuilding the economy after COVID-19.
COVID-19: Adult Literacy Resources