Wednesday, November 15, 2000

Goals, funding raised for literacy programs

The Associated Press

        MOREHEAD, Ky. — The state's Council on Post- secondary Education has approved a plan aimed at getting more of Kentucky's 1 million illiterate adults into programs to help them learn to read.

        Under the plan, state adult-education programs would set a goal of serving 300,000 people within 10 years. Currently, those programs serve only 50,000 a year.

        “We realize that this is going to be a challenge for us, but it is what we must do if we are going to change the lives of our people,” said Cheryl King, the council's associate vice president for adult education.

        The increase will be funded through $18 million earmarked by the 2000 General Assembly for adult literacy and education programs.

        County adult education providers say the additional money will help them expand their programs.

        “Right now, our funding only covers salaries and the basic materials,” said Dottie Fannin, one of Elliott County's adult-education coordi nators.

        Elliot County, with 6,500 people, is Kentucky's poorest county and has the state's highest unemployment rate — 12 percent. But the county's adult education program is among the state's top performers, with 214 students.

        “More money would allow us to do more for our clients,” Ms. Fannin said.

        The plan includes increased funding for county adult-education programs, incentives for programs that meet their goals and money for training and certification.

        It also includes $1.5 million for grants to create model programs in adult education, money for tuition discounts and tax credits for employers who help their employees earn GEDs, as well as funds for promoting adult education programs.

        Ms. King said each part of the program would help improve the outlook for undereducated Kentuckians.

        “One of our focuses will be on family literacy,” Ms. King said. “We already know the effect undereducated parents have on their children.”


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