Arizona Department of Ed honors adult learners during Adult Literacy Week

The Arizona Department of Education held the “Knock Your Socks Off” Awards Ceremony today to honor the achievements of adult learners from around Arizona as part of the 2012 Adult Literacy Week. The event, held at the Carnegie Center, highlighted the outstanding accomplishments of just a few of the thousands of adult learners returning to school to earn their General Education Degree (GED).

“A quality education is one of the key ingredients to realizing the American dream,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal. “Each year, thousands of adults like those being honored today decide to make a commitment to return to school in order to improve their lives.”

Each year, Arizona dedicates one official week to building public awareness of the need for and opportunities provided through, adult education. The need for highly literate citizens is growing rapidly as Arizona moves further into the information age. Approximately 825,000, or 17 percent of, adults in Arizona do not have a high school diploma or GED and are not enrolled in school.

The Importance of Adults Returning to Complete Their Education:
• In 2008, a person without at high school diploma earned $8,500 less per year than a high school graduate. This amounts to approximately $265,000 less earned in a lifetime
• 90 percent of welfare recipients are high school dropouts
• The lost annual taxable income to Arizona is approximately $7 billion that could otherwise be dedicated to public services

“I am so amazed at the dedication that these adult learners show in going back to school in order to improve their lives, despite often working long hours at a job and having a family to care for,” said John Stollar, Chief of Programs and Policy for ADE. “By making a commitment to learning new skills or potentially a new language, they have become more productive citizens and are helping to build a better tomorrow for everyone.”