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Enrollment in Adult ESL Classes Rises in Southern States

The enrollment of adults in English-as-a-second-language classes rose modestly in Southern states from 2005 to 2008, the Southern Regional Education Board says in a report released today. In the same time period, enrollment in adult basic education programs (which teach content for grades 1-8) decreased very slightly, and adult secondary education (which covers the content of grades 9-12) decreased by 6 percent, the report says.

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The report, "A Smart Move in Tough Times: How SREB States Can Strengthen Adult Learning and the Work Force," urges Southern states to enroll larger numbers of adults in adult-learning programs, including ESL classes. The report contends that more programs need to be available for "undereducated adults" in the South who left high school prematurely and took jobs in factories or agriculture.

Participation of adults in ESL classes in 16 Southern states increased from 207,011 to 210,237, or 2 percent, from 2005 to 2008, according to the report. Florida serves more students than any other state in all three kinds of adult-learning programs featured in the report. It enrolls 41 percent of the Southern region's adults participating in ESL classes.

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