Adult Education and Family Literacy Week is Sept. 13-19

Coastal Bend College will celebrate Adult Education and Family Literacy Week at CBC Lott-Canada Facility on Sept. 16 with classroom tours between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., followed by a reception at 10 a.m. The event is open to the public.

 45 percent of the U.S. adult population has basic skills deficiencies, according to the National Coalition for Literacy. Skills deficiencies affect many aspects of life. Here are some statistics:

  •  American businesses lose more than $60 billion each year in productivity lost as a result of skills deficiencies, according to the National Institution for Literacy.
  •  Children of parents who are unemployed and have not completed high school are five times more likely to drop out than children of employed parents, according to the American Council on Education. Adult education prepares parents to be their children’s first teachers.
  •  Only 1.5 million of 20 million immigrants with limited English speaking skills have access to language literacy instruction, according to the National Coalition for Literacy.
  •  Of the 200 million adults in America, 43 million have not finished high school, according to the U.S. Census.
  •  21 percent of Bee County residents lack basic prose literacy skills, according to a 2003 report.

 Acknowledging the impact and importance of adult education, Congress designated Sept. 13-17 as National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. Congressman Rubén Hinojosa co-sponsored the declaration.

 Coastal Bend College addresses adult education through many programs geared at meeting a variety of needs. Adult education serves adults, 16 years of age and older, who are functioning below the high school completion level with emphasis on reading, numeracy and English literacy, according to the National Coalition for Literacy. Adult literacy programs at Coastal Bend College include Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language, pre-GED and GED classes. Bee County Adult Literacy Council, a volunteer tutor and literacy advocacy group, is also housed there.

 The Adult Basic Education program provides instruction in reading, writing, and English to adults who have minimal competence in reading, writing and solving quantitative problems. Currently the ABE Program-Co-op serves the school districts of Mathis, Ingleside, Taft, Sinton, George West and Beeville.

 For students who are new to this country and speak little or no English, the program offers English as a Second Language (ESL) classes that assist the student in making a quicker transition into an English-speaking society. Students in this class may or may not have any formal education in their own native country.

 General Equivalency Diploma classes are offered to students who are at least 18 years of age and formally withdrawn from a public school. Students who are 17 years of age are admitted with parental approval. Student who are 16 years of age are not eligible to be enrolled unless they are recommended by a public agency having supervision or custody under a court order.

 Pre-GED classes are offered to students who never attended high school, dropped during their freshman year, or who demonstrate a need for additional assistance based on their pre-test level and scores.

 Nationwide, over 17 million have earned GED credentials since 1943. Among the list of GED recipients are Olympic Medal-Winner Mary Lou Retton; Founder of Wendy’s Dave Thomas; and comedian and actor Bill Cosby.

 Bee County Adult Literacy Council, established in 1987, addresses the need for reading and writing skills by combating illiteracy. Volunteers work one-to-one with non-readers of the English language; readers of the English language functioning below a fifth-grade level; and adults who are deficient in reading and writing skills. Volunteer tutors help change the quality of lives for individuals and families in Bee County and the surrounding area.

 For more information about adult basic education, contact Dr. Jesse DeRusse at (361) 362-6095 or visit CBC Lott-Canada Facility at , 900 W. Corpus Christi in Beeville.

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