Earlier today students from the University Settlement Adult Literacy Program attended a rally at City Hall to support funding for adult education programs in New York City.
Over 100 immigrants, adult learners, educators and their allies will gather for a press conference at City Hall on March 22nd at 9:30am to call attention to their plight. Thousands of students across the City are currently enrolled in adult literacy classes not scheduled for renewal in the Mayor’s budget. They say they need English classes more than ever, particularly as misinformation and fear about the President’s immigration orders and ICE raids permeates low-literacy immigrant communities.
The press conference is organized by the New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy (NYCCAL), a citywide coalition of community based organizations, CUNY programs, libraries and union training programs. Students, teachers and allies will be joined by City Council supporters, including Immigration Committee Chair Carlos Menchaca.
2.2 million adult New Yorkers currently lacking English proficiency and/or a high school diploma – 1/3 of the entire adult population of the city – yet the Mayor’s Preliminary Budget did not renew $12m in funding included in last year’ budget, an investment advocates called historic at the time.
Literacy programs provide a pathway to economic mobility, social integration, parent-child engagement, improved health outcomes and improved community safety. However, these programs are dramatically underfunded and less than 3% of those in need can access adult education programming. A 2015 survey by NYCCAL revealed at least 15,000 New Yorkers were waitlisted for adult literacy classes where they sometimes waited for over a year.
Here are more pictures: