Several ESL programs in New York City are not going to receive funding for fiscal year 2011-2012. According to the NY Coalition for Adult Literacy, the mayor proposed $13.5 million in budget cuts for community-based organizations. This would affect about 13,000 people who are seeking literacy, GED, and ESL instruction. http://nycoalitionforadultliteracy.wordpress.com/ Despite protests and petitions, many agencies are forced to reduce or eliminate these programs. As a result, adult students won’t have the opportunity to attend classes, gain the skills needed for employment, or be able to learn the English language.
Chi (Ronda) Xiang attends an adult ESL class at a non-profit agency in Brooklyn, NY. She takes a level 4, high intermediate ESL class. She has been attending class since April which will end June 29th. In an interview, Ronda expresses her feelings about the recent budget cuts to ESL programs.
How do you feel about the ESL program budget cuts in NYC?
I think this will make some serious education problems in coming years. It’s a strong crack down on who really wants to study English. As we know, people cannot get a good job before they have good education. Then, they have no money to further their study. Imagine this, society and economy in NYC, and even the US, cannot develop and grow without enough knowledge of English.
How has this affected you as a student?
It gave me a bad feeling and made me lose my heart to study English. This action may make most students impatient in studying and in getting a job, even if the job is appropriate for them. They need money to continue their study. For a long time, it will deeply affect one’s career.
How was your experience taking ESL classes at a non-profit agency?
Honestly, to students it’s definitely valuable and helpful to take ESL classes in a non-profit agency, because we take it seriously and can purely study. We have nothing to worry about, like money; don’t have to worry about the quality of our teachers and so on. Also, we have more freedom to arrange our study.
What are you going to do to continue learning English?
For me, I just can earn money by myself and continue the English study. But it’s really hard and the results of both are not good! The difficult thing is not just what I face but all the students who are like me. I don’t know when it can get easier. I suppose I can choose to work first if it’s too hard for me to take care of both.