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Parent Education Classes May Be First Thing to Be Axed

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At least one school district is cutting funds for family literacy centers and another is thinking about slashing English-as-a-second-language classes for parents. The Provo, Utah, school district has slashed $230,000 from schools with family literacy centers for English-language learners. Immigrant parents are pushing the school board of Fairfax County, Va., to preserve English classes that serve thousands of foreign-born adults.

Even before the economic downturn, English classes for immigrant adults that are affordable had long waiting lists in many communities (including my own community of the greater Washington area). Those lists are likely to get longer as school district administrators attempt to maintain funding for K-12 ELLs, and feel they have to cut somewhere.

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My area has a very small ELL population, but the schools don't take responsibility for teaching the adults English - our county only teaches English to our enrolled students. Adults can take free English classes at night, which are taught either by volunteers, or by a grant-funded program. I realize this may not work in larger areas, but I think schools must try and save the critical education of our children, and look for creative ways to do all the other wonderful things people have come to expect from us. Schools will definitely have to consider some hard choices!

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