Report: Adult education up in Arizona
Arizona was recently ranked near the top in the nation for their educational gains in adult education for the second consecutive year.
According to a semi-annual Adult Education report released by Superintendent John Huppenthal, Arizona was fourth nationally for their successes in helping high school dropouts to attain a high school education, producing over two grade level increases at an annual cost of less than $1,250 per student.
Carrie Zaragoza, executive director of Adult Literacy Plus of Southwest Arizona (ALPSAZ) in Yuma, shared that locally they have been able to better serve adults thanks to professional development opportunities from the Arizona Department of Education. Instructors receive training that applies directly to the classroom. The local ALPSAZ office offers various Pre-GED and GED courses for adults.
Although the number of people looking to obtain their GED from ALPSAZ has dropped in Yuma from about 750 to 650 this past year, Zaragoza said that she has seen an increase in the amount of people that complete their programs.
“While our total number of students has decreased, we have seen a dramatic increase in the amount educational gains our students are making and an increase in the amount of GEDs they are receiving,” she explained. “Students are more serious about their education and are really beginning to see the GED as necessary for their success in today's economy. Students are sticking with it instead of dropping out when it gets challenging.”
The U.S. Department of Labor statistics reported that adults who complete Adult Secondary Education and earn their high school diploma by passing the GED Test earn $8,000 more in taxable wages each year, which generates tax revenue at both the state and federal levels almost immediately. During FY 2012, over 12,650 Arizona adults earned their high school diploma by passing the GED Test.
“Adult Education has learned how to stretch its limited funds to achieve the highest outcomes possible,” Zaragoza said. “We are a passionate bunch of educators seriously dedicated to improving the economic stability of our state, its workforce and its families. We see firsthand the success our graduates obtain by receiving their GEDs, and higher wages and access to the job market are the most notable benefits they receive. Our probation students who graduate go on to become productive members of society, the majority of the time even going on to college at Arizona Western College.”
Zaragoza noted that those who gain a GED are also more likely to foster a love for education in their children, hopefully helping to decrease the number of people who drop out of high school.
“We are pleased with the results, what it means for these adults and their families and also what it means for Arizona taxpayers,” stated Superintendent John Huppenthal in a release.
“As these adults obtain the education they need to more successfully enter the workforce, it means they are less likely to be on welfare or involved in activities that could lead to incarceration, thus being a burden on taxpayers rather than being contributors to our economy and our communities. While we are pleased with the success, it's also important to note that during this last year over 6,000 more adults wanting to achieve their diploma are still on our wait list. We are hoping to acquire additional funds to ensure that everyone who wants to gain a high school education and become productive citizens with higher income have the opportunity to do so.”
Visit http://www.azed.gov/blog/2013/01/02/2012-az-adult-ed-rank/ for more information on the report.