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letters | A land of opportunity?

Funding inequity blocks a path to adult education

Chameise Few, 21, is working to complete her high school diploma at Boston Adult Technical Academy.

Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

Chameise Few, 21, is working to complete her high school diploma at Boston Adult Technical Academy.

Thank you for drawing attention to the alarming income inequality and unemployment rate among Boston adults without high school diplomas (“The great divide,” Money & Careers, Oct. 27). The fact that more than half of Boston adults without high school diplomas are not in the workforce should be a call to action. This not only affects the adults’ ability to rise above poverty; it also shapes their children’s opportunities in life.

Many of them, such as Chameise Few, who was featured in the article, are mothers. Research tells us that the mother’s level of education is the strongest predictor of her children’s academic achievement.

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Many people struggling to enter the workforce are over age 22 and ineligible for alternative public school programs. These adults must further their education through adult basic education programs that receive less than one-10th of the per student funding of Boston public schools. Yet these programs are responsible for achieving the same results: graduating US-born and immigrant adults with high school diplomas, prepared for further education and training.

Only if the state and the city address this funding inequity can we hope to move adults along their educational path and build their basic skills so that they can access and succeed in college and training and compete for good jobs in our knowledge economy.

Silja Kallenbach


The writer is vice president of the US division of World Education, a nonprofit.

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