Major segments of the unemployed are laborers, unclassified workers, and private household and service workers. In general they are unskilled or semi-skilled and have little education and low earning potential. Nevertheless, they are a significant portion of the population. They are potentially the state’s most valuable manpower resource. SOME LOCAL school districts have attempted to establish adult education programs to meet the needs of their communities. Typical of the better schools for adult education is that of the Austin Independent School District. This school, located in downtown Aiistin, is not readily accessible to the low-income families most in need of its services. For practical purposes there are no public adult education programs in the Latin-American, Negro, and low-income Anglo residential areas. Ih addition, a modest registration fee of $10 plus tuition must be paid for each course. This fee is prohibitive for those families earning barely enough with which to subsist. The many school buildings and facilities adjacent to the people needing educational services are unused. The time has come when educators should demand that the state legislature establish a state-wide adult education program in cooperation with the local school districts. Such a program should be free and financed by state funds allocated to the individual school districts on the basis of students in average weekly attendance. It should encompass at least three broad areas of educational activity: elementary, general, and technical-vocational. The elementary program should include literacy training and the development of functional communication skills both in Spanish and in English. For those Spanishspeakers desiring to become literate in English, programs should be designed insuring literacy in both their mother tongue and in their acquired language. In those areas where the need arises, the elementary program should include citizenship training for those desiring to become American citizens. For people who dropped out of high school or who never had the opportunity of attending it, programs in general education appropriate to the age and interest of the individuals should be offered. These programs should lead to the award of high school certificates or certificates of equivalency. Specialized training for the development of technical-vocational skills should also be offered. These courses should be tied in with high school completion programs, but individuals should be permitted to take them without reference to formal high school programs. Artisan skills, crafts, the fine arts, social skills, and clerical activities are but a few of the programs that could be offered. They should all be oriented to one of two goals: learning skills needed for economic self-improvement, or the development of avocations for the profitable use of leisure time. A special department should be created The Texas Observer in the Texas Education Agency to supervise and administer the state adult education program. Its administration should be in the hands of a professionally trained expert in adult education. This office should be charged with the mission of “selling” adult education to the state as well as coordinating and supervising the activity of individual school districts. It should be able to insure a high caliber educational program for the state’s tax investment. Special programs for the training of adult education teachers will have to be organized. Students in adult education are not “captive audiences.” In addition to stimulating programs, adult students need and justly demand skilled, professionally competent, enthusiastic teachers trained in the problems peculiar to the teaching of adults. On arriving in a classroom in the evening, after a day’s work, most of all they need teachers with a human and sympathetic outlook who will encourage them to improve their social and economic status. OBVIOUSLY each school district will not be in a position to establish a fullblown educational program for adults upon its authorization by the state legislature. Educators and civic-minded individuals need the courage to demand that an “Operation Bootstrap” be a fundamental portion of the campaign platform of those seeking state executive or legislative offices. They also must demand that it be a key part of the educational program to be ‘considered by the next session of the legislature. Any money spent in this activity will be a sound “blue-chip” investment in the economic growth, development, and prosperity of Texas. Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the State Week and Austin ForumAdvocate. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Editor and General Manager, Ronnie Dugger. Partner, Mrs. R. D. Randolph. Business Manager, Sarah Payne. Contributing Editors, J. Frank Dobie, Larry Goodwyn, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Willie Morris, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, Roger Shattuck, Dan Strawn, Tom Sutherland, Charles Alan Wright. Staff Artist, Charles Erickson. Contributing Photographer, Russell Lee. Subscription Representatives: Austin, Mrs. Helen C. Spear, 2615 Pecos, HO 5-1805; Dallas, Mrs. Cordye Hall, 5835 Ellsworth, TA 1-1205; Fort Worth, Mrs. Jesse Baker, 3212 Greene St.. WA 7-2959; Houston, Mrs. Shirley Jay, 10306 Cliffwood Dr., PA 3-8682; Lubbock, Doris Blaisdell, 2515 24th St.; Midland, Eva Dennis, 4306 Douglas, OX 4-2825; Odessa, Enid Turner, 1706 Glenwood, EM 6-2269; Rio Grande Valley, Mrs. Jack Butler, 601 Houston, McAllen, MU 6-5675; each gear Sometimes a social evil is so gross, the mind boggles when it tries to think what to do about it. The fact that about half of all Texans over 25 did not finish high school is known, one way or another, to us all; but what to do about it? In the lead article in this issue of the Observer, Jacques Wilson has specified the facts and proposed something sensible that can be done about them. The main-line solution is large-scale .adult education. Once a social evil is isolated and confronted, political leaders must take their stand on it sooner or later. In this case, they must choose between keeping taxes low on the one hand, and offering what we might think of as transfusion-education to adults who can never attain their potential social value and income without it. Shall we be stingy, or shall we give our undereducated masses a second chance ‘to acquire the learning to help themselves? Five or six years ago the Observer first broached the subject of this state’s widespread adult illiteracy; the state government has finally launched a campaign against it, and all credit to it for doing so. But let us hope we do not have to wait another five or six years for the beginning of a huge adult education program. Each year’s delay passes not just for us, but also for every one of our undereducated Texans. San Antonio, Mrs. Mae B. Tuggle, 531 Elmhurst, TA 2-7154; Tyler, Mrs. Erik Thomsen, 1209 So. Broadway, LY 4-4862. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. The Observer publishes articles, essays, and creative work of the shorter forms having to do in various ways with this area. The pay depends; at present it is token. Unsolicited manuscripts must be accompanied by return postage. Unsigned articles are the editor’s. The Observer is published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $5.00 a year; two years, $9.50; three years, $13.00. Foreign rates on request. Single copies 25c; prices for ten or more for students, or bulk orders, on request. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 504 West 24th St., Austin 5, Texas. Telephone GR 7-0746. Change of Address: Please give old and new addresses und allow three weeks. THE TEXAS OBSERVER A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South 58th YEAR ESTABLISHED 1906 Vol. 56, No. 6 7e0W’ March 20, 1964
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