Thursday, January 20, 2011
MCAEL Supporters Speak Out for Literacy
In January 2011, literacy supporters responded to MCAEL’s request to write to the County Executive and speak out in support of literacy. Please scroll down to read some of the inspiring letters and testimonials shared with us:
As a teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages and the Coordinator of our English Program at the Rockville Senior Center, I'd like to strongly request that you protect funding for our county's English programs. The Senior Center serves senior citizens over age 60 in our English Program. Although we primarily serve Rockville, we have a number of students who come from outside the city to take advantage of one of the only organized English programs for older adults. Our students, many of whom are on a path to citizenship, are committed to learning English to better help themselves, their families and their community. Budget cuts will have an impact on the integrity of our entire program, making it difficult or impossible for students to get texts, to retain teachers or to maintain a cohesive program. In addition, any cuts to MCAEL (the Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy), a force that provides excellent, professional support to Montgomery County programs, administrators and instructors, could have catastrophic effects on so many adult English language learners depending upon our help. I understand that there are many budget constraints during these difficult times. However, I hope that you and the Council will give every consideration to the struggling population of adult English students and those of us committed to helping them learn.
I realize that some cuts will have to be made in the county budget, but I urge you to spare programs such as MCCAEL and the Gilchrist Center that teach English literacy to our many struggling immigrants. Helping them to succeed is a long term goal that will benefit us all, financially and otherwise. Cutting this assistance would be a very short sighted approach. Vicky Wood, Volunteer, Gilchrist Center
Perhaps keeping the existing programs is a key to economic recovery in the first place. Figures from MCAEL indicate that keeping English language instruction available will save dollars in the long run.
I am an ESOL teacher. I have an extensive contact with Montgomery County residents. I realize there is a great need for English classes in Montgomery County. In order to maintain Montgomery County's business viability, I strongly encourage that the county do not cut MCAEL and literacy providers' budget. A budget cut will surely force these providers to close ESOL classes which will greatly restrict any potential students' opportunity to move ahead both in community participation and business activities. Thank you greatly for your support in this regard.
Language is a window into the culture of the people who speak it and a way of adapting to and presenting that culture. A population that cannot effectively communicate in English strains many areas of the budget, including education, health care, and the overall economy. [Some of my students] are very well trained in technology, engineering, and the sciences in their native country and could make a substantial contribution to the economy and productivity of the county and the state if they could improve their English language skills.
After I spoke a number of people in the room clapped and one of the committee members gave me a big thumbs up.