Friday, November 22, 2013

Aligned for Education

Hello, good people, and welcome to the fourth entry in my blog. The topic today is Adult Education.

Yesterday, I felt as though something aligned.

This alignment started when I received an email from my boss about how Adult Education is being threatened by budget cuts. She asked for those she sent the email to if they would write to our congressman. The letter attached to the email (from the state office) declared the purpose in our fight—our reason for sending the letter: “to reject any proposal that protects or prioritizes funding for defense programs at the expense of nondefense discretionary (NDD) funding—which includes adult education funding under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).”

Since I have been working on creating several social studies presentations this year, my mind first turned to the Congress of old, the Continental Congress, which existed before America truly ever formed. What would these men think about our fight? I think they would be damned proud, but then I’m sure they would say, “Wait. You’re fighting for education? And this is happening in the country we are fighting to form?” Ok, ok, they would probably use more eloquent words, but you get my meaning. Education is a crucial piece in the backbone of society.

Although I wrote a poem yesterday and sent it to our representative’s legislative assistant, I felt as though I barely scratched the surface behind how inane fighting for education seems to me. I mean, come on, that’s like fighting for fresh air. I didn’t want to throw out a lot of f-bombs at work, but… wow… did I feel them! I unleashed my actual viewpoints on this crazy notion to my siblings, because the second alignment really popped my calm bubble of lovely gooey gushiness for humanity.

The part-time instructor in Adult Education handed me a book titled “High School Self Taught.” I haven’t seen a book this old, and on the subject of education, since I lived in Maw-Maw’s house (she was my great-grandmother on my dad’s side, who used to be a teacher). I will admit the first thing I did was sniff the book. Not like you needed to know that.

After I took in the dark yellow age of the pages, I started reading where all books are meant to be read—at the beginning. The paragraph that caught my interest:

No one doubts that knowledge is power, but it is equally true, as the essayist William Hazlitt said, that knowledge is pleasure. So in these pages [over 900 of them] of world history, of literature and the arts, of the various sciences and the languages, there is both the inspiration of self-improvement and the down-right fun that comes from the acquisition of knowledge.

The introduction goes on to say that those who wrote the book have taught somewhere before, and that they leave out “the classroom detail that is unnecessary for adults.” Look at the words in bold. Really look at them. Words like these rings so true to me, sitting here in 2013, reading them. I am moved by the love for humanity that belonged to those involved in creating this book in the 1930’s, even more deeply that they created it with the adult in mind.

At this point, I’ll bet you’re curious to know when the GED test started. Well, according to Wikipedia (not much of a reliable source sometimes, I’ll admit):

In November 1942, the United States Armed Forces Institute asked the American Council on Education (ACE) to develop a battery of tests to measure high school-level academic skills. These tests gave military personnel and veterans who had enrolled in the military before completing high school a way to demonstrate their knowledge. Passing these tests gave returning soldiers and sailors the academic credentials they needed to get civilian jobs and gain access to post-secondary education or training.

I’m sure you’re tempted to ask me (maybe telepathically), “What are you trying to say?” I admit: I have an issue speaking in broken English because I don’t speak much, nor do I like to speak. I don’t think that I have much of an issue with writing, just that I wanted provide evidence behind what I’m planning to say before I actually say it. (I just now realized that I’m stating my case without really needing to… oh, well.)

I doubt the men who wrote “High School Self Taught” in 1939 could see into the future and find the GED invented with books like theirs obsolete. If they could, good for them! BUT, answer me this: what did they see? THEY SAW THE IMPORTANCE IN ADULT EDUCATION.  If we let Adult Education fall into the cesspool created by this outrageous debt, what is the POINT in having a great defense? As I said earlier, education is a crucial piece in the backbone of society. Without it, society is like that commercial where the guy builds the swimming pool, and wonders what to do with the bolts afterwards.

Yesterday, I felt as though something aligned. Today, I can only hope that this alignment rings true throughout the vibe of America; because, if not, a second opportunity—a second chance at education might never happen for the adults of tomorrow.

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