[Ed. – An idea whose time has come … and already exists: GED anyone?[
A high school dropout, Nicole Dickey adds fractions in math class at a charter school for adults, hoping to earn her high school credentials and find a good paying office job.
“My life has changed, I am here to make it better,” said Dickey, 39, who left high school after she became pregnant and spent the next two decades working low-paying jobs, raising five children, living on government assistance and struggling with alcoholism.
Faced with high illiteracy rates among city residents and an extremely competitive job market, the nation’s capital is experimenting with adult education. The district is running more than a dozen adult schools, both charter and traditional public ones that together serve about 5,100 students, both disconnected youth and older adults. And despite the political controversy surrounding Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ push to expand school choice, the charter and the traditional public school sectors in the District of Columbia cooperate in adult learning.
Dickey’s story is part of a larger picture nationwide. Even though high school graduation rates have been rising in recent years, 10 percent of American adults aged 25 or over don’t have high school credentials, according to government data.