Funding adult basic education costs less than welfare, incarceration

Published: June 17, 2012

For the second consecutive year, the Oklahoma Board of Education has voted not to fund adult basic education in Oklahoma. I teach adult basic education classes in Shawnee. As a career teacher in Oklahoma — 26 years in public education, 11 years in career technology and two years in adult education — I know how complicated educational funding can be.

I'm concerned about the future of the many young people who've dropped out of school before getting a high school diploma. The jobs available are few and far between. The state can either invest in educating these students and help them earn a GED and go on to further education or career training, or we can spend much more money on welfare and incarceration for the rest of their lives. Some of these young people made bad choices; some had no home support or encouragement. They've dropped out of school and their education needs to be funded. In the long run, Oklahoma would save money on every student who gets a GED and goes on to higher education, job training and better employment.

Everyone wants to pass the buck and say someone else should fund adult education. Sadly, though, no one ends up doing it. Someone in Oklahoma needs to step up and fight for these deserving young people who are trying to better themselves.

Janet Capps, Shawnee

Capps is an instructor at the Shawnee Adult Learning Center.


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