Hey, Mike Rowe...

May 27, 2017

Hey, Mike Rowe, an entire article that actually agrees with you... and the link was on the top of the homepage on Yahoo! as if it's "new" news. Maybe you're beginning to be heard. Maybe. I can only hope. What you do matters to my job. If not for your advocacy, what I do would be more difficult, because I would have little good news or hope to point out.

https://finance.yahoo.com/…/americans-need-jobs-arent-going…

 

I teach adults who have not finished high school--probably one of the most overlooked, underfunded, and swept under the rug populations in the US. While no one really keeps track, the estimates I've heard in my meetings is that somewhere between 15-25% of US adults have not finished high school. Almost all high school graduation rates are figured by taking those who registered for and began their senior year and comparing that to how many actually finish by the end of that school year. So, those who never even make it to their senior year and those who are new to the US and do not have a US high school diploma... not so difficult to imagine a very large number nationwide.

 

Some students are in my classes because the "have to" be, but many realize they can't improve anything in their life until they have a diploma or equivalency certificate. (My state allows anyone of any age to get a high school diploma.)

 

My boss is amazing and does as much as he can for us and our students, and several of my colleagues and I have a variety of technical and computer skills we could teach our students... but the system itself is so focused on "graduating" them (not to mention we aren't "experts" so our instruction wouldn't count), and our students are so used to being considered less than for a variety of reasons, that we can only hope they are listening when we talk to them about apprenticeships, the local college for trade skills, technical schools, on the job training programs...

 

While it's true some are not willing to work and finish (that's true of any population), we graduated 909 diploma and 1,144 equivalency certificate students in the 2015/16 school year. That's no small potatoes. Imagine if you could point out the link between bettering Adult Education programs and the need for skilled labor... imagine trade and technical schools and local community colleges working WITH us, being a part OF us, letting our teachers' knowledge and classes count, instead of functioning as separate worlds. Makes one think...

 

You advocate for skilled trades, but there's an enormous population where even that is closed to them because they have no diploma. Any chance you can start throwing your considerable influence into the arena where I'm at? Adult Education shouldn't be at the bottom of everyone's list. We have better access to those who can make a difference in the workforce now, not in 15 years (K-12) than anyone else, yet few even know that we exist. (Seriously, when I tell people I teach Adult Ed, they either have no idea it's a real thing, or they think I mean teaching life skills to adult special needs students in a daycare type situation.)

 

Everyone knows about K-12, and thanks to you, people are beginning to remember trade and technical schools, but we are still invisible to everyone, yet, who we are and what we "could" do if we were funded and allowed to, has the possibility of making more of an immediate impact on the US economy than almost any policy I've seen bandied about. Well, except for what you talk about. :) I think you and Adult Education would make a beautiful partnership.

 

Food for thought from a ground zero adult ed teacher.

 

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