Adult Education Dilemma – 40,000 Adults in Hartford Do Not Have Their High School Diploma
By Nyesha McCauley
December 13, 2013
At the Tuesday December 4th Board of Education workshop, Superintendent Christina Kishimoto discussed plans to move the Adult Education Center from Washington Street to 960 Main Street, home to both Capital Community College and the Hartford Public School District office. During the meeting, Board of Education members discussed the pros and cons of making such a move but the bigger issue is the fact that over 40,000 adults, living in Hartford, do not have a high school diploma or ability to speak English which reduces their earning potential and can have negative effects on their self-esteem.
Finding a way to get 40,000 residents without a high school diploma or the ability to speak English, to take Adult Education services is a huge undertaking. In fact, Board of Education chairman, Matt Poland, described it as a public policy issue that needs to be addressed at the State level citing that Hartford cannot resolve such an enormous resource effort without state intervention. Currently only one in twenty individuals without a high school diploma are enrolled in adult education classes which doesn’t come close to the enrollment numbers needed to close the adult achievement gap.
Adults who do not have a high school diploma are generally unable to maximize their earnings potential which has a negative impact on a city (as city wide revenue is largely dependent on income taxes). High school drop outs typically earn less, have higher incarceration rates and are less likely to be satisfied with their job than individuals with high school diplomas. In fact, according to the brief, The High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools, the average annual income for a high school dropout in 2005 was $17,299, compared to $26,933 for a high school graduate, a difference of $9,634. The benefits of obtaining a GED are enormous and include increased job opportunities, earning potential and most importantly, increased opportunities for your children.
Meeting the needs of the population of adults in need of Adult Education services is a daunting task but no problem is too large if we can bring together the resources of the community, legislators and school leaders.
Adult Education Centers make it possible to achieve success and improve your quality life and are a critical part of revitalizing the city of Hartford. If you are one of the 40,000 residents without your high school diploma or need to learn English, today can be the first day you begin to maximize your earning potential regardless of where classes are being held.