[AAACE-NLA] Funding Adult Education as a Political Obligation
Catherine B. King
cb.king at verizon.net
Sat Mar 4 08:50:00 EST 2006
George, Hal, et al:
I would like to make the point about funding and our Adult Education mission and programs crystal clear.
That is, in a democracy, continuous funding of Adult Education (and other forms of education) is a political obligation--even a requirement. That obligation springs from the same ground of missions that wrote our Constitution and that developed the U.S. Congress in the first place--the whole democratic/republic idea. That is, we cannot keep a democratic/republican culture and political climate without an educated citizenry.
>From this simple but solid relationship between democracy and the education of its citizenry, our mission is set. And **literacy** is the first foundation of education.
As George states in an earlier note, it's not an either/or notion--either higher education prep/or job-skills, either reading to children/or voting ability-motivation. Rather it's all of these things--but always **grounded** in a politics of comprehensive, pervasive, and continued human development towards a qualified citizenry, community, and polity that is most likely to remain vibrant to the political ground that we all still stand on. And BTW globalization makes the education of our citizenry even MORE important.
As I and others here have stated earlier, though our arguments for our place in workforce training and other "programming" are essential, these all again can meet the "chopping block" for the different "reasons" given for our "failure" to produce the kinds of "data" we need to consider ourselves "successful." And what program among us cannot improve?
However, from the point of view of understanding Congress's own political ground, and the identity of education-for-all-citizenry with that same ground, we have an argument to add to our quiver of justifications that goes deeper than the notion of "social programming" can go, e.g., for improving the "quality of life" for adults, or for improving adults' workskills so that they can contribute to the economy, etc. That is, our mission and our very existence as educators of adults goes to the very political ground that grows democracies in the first place--an educated citizenry. And to "chop out" adult education, is to chop out not only this-or-that "failing" or "liberal" social program, but to chop out the heart of democracy itself.
If so, then funding adult education in the U.S. is not only supporting sentimental "social programs," but is also a political obligation for those who have been privileged enough to become the Congressional representatives of "The People."
Our adults are first and foremost "The People." To leave "The People" uneducated is to damage or even break the bridge between "The People" and their Congressional representation.
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