Thousands of New Jersey adults needing basic reading skills, high school diplomas and English language skills are turned away from programs because of inadequate funding. In addition, businesses in New Jersey cannot find literate and trained individuals for their workplace needs.
It is vital for New Jersey’s economy and for our citizenry that we re-establish state funding for adult education to compensate for reductions in federal subsidies.
In 2007 35,400 students were served through a robust network of adult education programs. By 2017 that number had fallen to 16,702.
Providing the necessary state funds to enroll 18,700 more students at $1,000
per student would require a state appropriation of $18,700,000. This appropriation would provide invaluable and life changing opportunities for adults with limited skills. Equally important, it would open up employment opportunities for these individuals and for NJ businesses.
NJALL has developed several tools which you can use when asking your elected representatives to support adult education. Here are several advocacy briefs you can share:
Here are sample letters that you can customize:
Find your New Jersey State representatives through this interactive map.
For more information about NJALL's advocacy efforts, go to our youtube channel to listen to the March 22 webinar: Potential Changes in Federal
Support for Adult Education: What They Mean for New Jersey, What they Mean for Advocacy
Look for more information soon about how we can advocate for State funding for adult education in New Jersey.
Learn about potential changes in Federal support for adult education: what they mean for New Jersey, and what they mean for advocacy. March 22, 2018. 11:00 AM to noon.
Art Ellison (New Hampshire's Director of Adult Education and longtime adult education advocate) will review what is happening at the federal level in terms of adult education funding. Although there is currently an effort to increase funding, it is also possible that funding will be significantly reduced. Art will discuss key points of the legislative process/schedule to keep in mind while planning advocacy efforts.
Hal Beder and Barry Semple (of NJALL) will review what these potential changes mean for adult education in New Jersey and the urgent need for coordinated advocacy across the state.
There will be built-in time to share ideas and ask questions.
The New Jersey Association for Lifelong Learning wants to make clear that we stand by our brothers and sisters who are facing the brunt of the racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia that has marked the post-election period. As an organization we denounce such behavior as at odds with our standing concern for the health, safety and happiness of our diverse society. Adult education has a long history of fighting for social justice, and this moment calls for a renewed commitment to the field's democratic and egalitarian values. To honor the heritage of the brave learners and teachers that came before us, we must stand up to bigotry and work together to make our communities safe and welcoming.
As you are aware, there have been an alarming number of reports of violence and intimidation targeting selected communities all across the country. We have heard about countless public acts and about more personal forms of aggression carried out by roommates and classmates. It seems that no place has been spared overt and inflammatory acts of bigotry.
For a copy of the complete statement, click here.
African-Americans have been hung in effigy, been called racial slurs to their faces and had their property defaced with racist graffiti. People have been told "get ready to start picking cotton again" and told to move to the back of the bus. Students in one school in Pennsylvania walked down the halls with a Trump sign shouting "White Power." This is not an isolated act, as assertions of white power and white supremacy litter social media. The KKK has already announced a victory parade.
In addition to anger and bigotry aimed at African-Americans, immigrants and US citizens alike have been told to "go back to their country." Children as young as kindergarten have been heard chanting "build the wall!" at their classmates who appear to be immigrants. Muslims, and individuals whom bigots presume to be Muslims, have been physically attacked and threatened with additional violence. Incidents of anti-Semitism have also been reported, with swastikas painted on store fronts and some Nazi flags have been seen flying.
Women have been groped and have been told that now it is legal to sexually harass them. You can even buy hats that repeat Trump's infamous words about grabbing women by their genitalia. In addition, gays, lesbians and transgender people have also been the target of hateful language and threats. Rainbow flags have been set alight while still attached to homes, and cars have been destroyed in order to send the message that the LGBTQ community is not welcome and cannot feel safe.
None of this bigotry is new, but the sheer amount and intensity of the expressions of this hatred has fundamentally changed the country. Almost immediately, millions of our fellow Americans have started to feel increasingly afraid and vulnerable. Now is the time for all of us to stand up to bigotry, intimidation and violence.
Please contact NJALL at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any information you would like to share, if you have ideas for actions that we can take to move forward, or if you simply need a place to connect with others who share your concerns.