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11 April 2005 @ 09:48 pm
Workforce Investment Act Title II - ADULT LITERACY  
Issue: Proposal to cut funds by 64% on Adult Literacy from $569 million in 2005 to $207 million in 2006.

Short-Term Effects:
  • Prison literacy programs eliminated.

  • On-site literacy programs for families who cannot afford to go to literacy centers eliminated.

  • Literacy program hours reduced and many literacy programs will simply have to shut down.

  • Long-Term Effects:
  • Crime will increase when it's easy to case another house for theft but impossible to fill out a job application.

  • We send Yet Another message to the international community that the US doesn't welcome foreigners who can't read and write English - our cultural diversity suffers and our international commerce suffers.

  • We will see second and third generation US-born non-English speakers because there is no one outside of their ethinic family and community to practice English with in a safe, encouraging, educational environment.

  • The unemployment rates will continue to increase when jobs continue to require greater specialization and literacy and there are no programs left to meet the educational need. This will cause an even greater burden on our taxes.

  • 33% of all hospital patients lack the reading and language skills needed to understand instructions from medical professionals - this will only increase, and could create public health risks.

  • What You Can Do

    In Washington, contact:

    Senator Patricia Murray

    Senator Maria Cantwell

    House Representative James McDermott

    Feel free to copy and paste the following from me and sign your name (this is adapted from a letter written by June White of Afton Central School Adult and Continuing Education in NY):

    <-- SNIP -- >

    Subject: Protect Funding for Adult Literacy
    Dear *Elected Official*,

    President Bush's 2006 budget proposes to dramatically cut WIA Title II adult education and family literacy funding. This combined with the proposal to consolidate education and job training programs into a block grant (WIA Plus Consolidated Grant) would devastate adult education.

    Literacy opens doors to more specialized employment and skilled labor which increases economic competition in the global market.

    Literacy provides an alternative to crime. It's easy to case another house for theft or break into another car when it's impossible to fill out a job application.

    Adult literacy programs help immigrants, refugees and the US-born children of immigrants and refugees to integrate into the socio-economic structure of our country. Adult literacy creates greater self-reliance, which reduces the burden on our taxes to care for those who can't help themselves.

    Adult literacy programs welcome foreigners into our country to continue to build on our long tradition of cultural diversity and community, and open channels to greater international commerce. This increases our declining status with the international community.

    I implore you to do everything you can to ensure that WIA Title II does not suffer the devastating cuts proposed in President Bush’s 2006 budget. These proposed cuts do nothing to serve your constituents. The proposed budget cuts will close doors to people who can become productive, self-reliant members of our society through adult literacy programs.

    *Title, Literacy Program if Applicable*
    *City, State Zip*

    <-- SNIP -- >

    I hope you will take some time to do this. Please post if you take action. Help restore my faith in humanity inside of my country.

    My student, Myung-Hwa, is sick right now. She is in the hospital today and tomorrow. I don't know what's wrong yet. I got the call, and our communication is more limited on the phone because she relies a lot on hand gestures and facial queues for verbal communication.

    She brings in magazine subscription postcards now and shows me how she's been practicing on them. When we first started working together, she could not even fill out a job application. She now does it on her own and asks me only if she has questions. I'll be including several anecdotes about my student in addition to the text above in the emails I send (because of the anthrax scare, emails are actually more effective these days).

    Kburgunder on April 12th, 2005 04:38 pm (UTC)
    Heh. I guess I need a little humor right now. Ungh!
    Pegaxpegax on April 12th, 2005 05:28 pm (UTC)
    Don't settle for little, when there is so much more that you can get.