Save Adult Literacy!

Thank you to our adult education teachers for being there for our students during COVID-19 and always.  We ask Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council to support those needing English classes, adult education, HSE prep by restoring $12 million to the NYC budget. More than ever, in this time of COVID-19, 2.2 million New Yorkers need adult education!

For Teacher Appreciation Week some of our students showed their appreciation on social media – just click on them to see them all!:

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Speaking at City Hall

Yesterday two University Settlement Adult Literacy Program students, Jie Ling and Ivan, along with one staff member, Mayra, spoke at City Hall in support of more funding for adult literacy programs in NYC. They spoke before the City Council Committee on Education chaired by Mark Treyger.

Here is Ivan’s testimony:

Testimony for the Committee on Education Oversight Hearing 2/26/2020

Ivan, Student at the University Settlement Adult Literacy Program

Good afternoon everyone. First of all, thank you for giving us this opportunity to speak with you today. We really appreciate it. My name is Ivan. I’m from Madrid, Spain. I’m a Network Engineer and Project Manager, but I’m also a student at University Settlement. I’ve been living in New York for almost 6 months. I had studied English in my country for many years so I thought the language wouldn’t be a problem for me here. Obviously, I was wrong. Since the moment I arrived, I realized that my English wasn’t as good as I thought.

This situation made me feel insecure, worried and overwhelmed. But after a few days handling this feeling, I found information on the internet about free English classes at University Settlement. Then everything changed. University Settlement gave me the opportunity to attend their College and Career Readiness class, where I can learn and practice English in an international environment with a great teacher and staff who are always willing to help us as much as possible. Ever since, I continue improving my English skills every day and I feel more confident speaking the language. Thanks to this, I was recently accepted into the Cooper Union Retraining Program for Immigrant Engineers.

The bottom line is that these classes help students like me to apply for better jobs with good salaries, pay more taxes, be more productive in the community and be able to communicate better with every citizen in this wonderful city. Learning English is synonymous with improving our lives and our communities, and this is possible thanks to the funds the city invests in Adult Education.

Thank you very much.


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Here are more photos from Albany. Our students went to the state capital last week with other members of the New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy (NYCCAL) to advocate for $25 million in funding for Adult Literacy Education in New York State. We held a rally on the Million Dollar staircase, where in addition to Senator Jessica Ramos and Assembly Members Ron Kim and Pat Fahy, our very own Adult Literacy Program students Lifen and Jose spoke about how important programs like ours are. After the rally we visited state assembly members’ and senators’ offices and to tell them why adult literacy programs need more funding in New York.

To learn more about NYCCAL and what we’re advocating for, click here.

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