Sequester Cuts Begin to Affect Availability of Adult Education

From The Salem News (Missouri):

Those who want to study for the General Educational Development certificate will no longer be able to do it in Salem.

Salem’s Adult Education and Literacy program will be forced to close its doors Friday because state funding has been denied.

AEL Community Liaison Jackie Hobaugh said the program will end after about 30 years here. The nearest alternative class site is in Houston in neighboring Texas County.

The grant from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was denied because of the federal sequester, according to Hobaugh. Seven sites, including those in Dent, Phelps, Maries and Crawford counties, were targeted for closure.

Local phone service has already been disconnected.

“The DESE grant is our only source of funding,” she said. “These classes are needed now more than ever. At a critical time in our local communities, a way for individuals to pull out of poverty and move to self-sustainability is being eliminated. This should not be allowed to happen.”  (my emphasis)

Houston, Missouri is about 40 miles from Salem. For those of you in D.C., like me, this would be like being told that your GED class was closing, and then being referred to a program in Baltimore.

Something to remember as programs close is that they don’t just reappear overnight when/if funding is restored. Facilities are re-purposed, teachers move on, etc. The sequester isn’t just about cutting services in the present, but also, in some cases, will result in the permanent loss of infrastructure needed for the future.