School Board to Address Hot-Button Issue of Adult Education
School Board will address adult education programs at Thursday evening meeting, as well as host a Saturday morning meeting to solicit community feedback.
No changes have been made to Adult Education English Language Learners and Adult Basic Education for this school year, according to the School Board’s chairman, although the board will discuss the issue at its Thursday evening meeting.
The GED program will continue for currently enrolled students.
All of these programs are funded through June 2012, according to the School Board. "All students in these programs should feel assured that their classes will continue in January," the board said in a statement.
The School Board "takes seriously our responsibility to ensure that our programs are continually improving to better serve our students," Chairman Sheryl Gorsuch said.
The Alexandria community has been afire with comments on listservs and elsewhere about concern of a possible end to the programs.
In this week’s NAACP Alexandria newsletter, chapter President John Chapman said that on Dec. 1, the branch was contacted regarding the possible closure of the ACPS Adult Education Program on Dec. 22.
“This abrupt closure would have had a devastating effect on the education opportunities of low income adults of color in Alexandria,” Chapman said. “Over the next week, a coalition of adult education staff, students, community members and the Alexandria NAACP was able to get the school system to clearly outline their proposal for the Adult Education Program, and back away from its Dec. 22 closure date and force the revisioning of a plan that would have meant the end of Adult Education for anyone over 22 in the city of Alexandria.”
On Dec. 8, ACPS agreed to continue all Adult Education programs through the end of the school year, according to Chapman.
“I am thankful to the staff and students of the adult education program for allowing the Alexandria NAACP to work with them and stand together with them to fight to keep Adult Education in Alexandria,” Chapman said.
The board is expecting Superintendent Mort Sherman and senior staff to present the report for Flexible and Extended Learning Opportunities, including recommendations for improvements to Adult Education Programs, at the Dec. 15 School Board meeting.
NAACP officers are planning on attending the Thursday 7 p.m. meeting.
The board will not vote on Sherman's proposal this evening and said it will provide opportunity for community feedback before a vote is scheduled. The first opportunity is a Community Meeting on Dec. 17 at 9:30 a.m., at the Minnie Howard Campus Media Center where Gorsuch, Vice Chairman Helen Morris and Sherman will answer questions and clarify the details of the proposal.
"I am sure my board colleagues have questions regarding the upcoming adult education proposal, and we will fully examine and discuss the details before authorizing any changes," Gorsuch said.