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Gretchen Wilson to Testify on Capitol Hill. Country Star Helps Increase Advocacy for Adult Education

Posted on 05/04/2009

Washington, DC - On May 5th, Columbia Nashville's Gretchen Wilson will travel to Capitol Hill to hand deliver nearly 10,000 letters from Tennesseans to both Tennessee congressmen and senators urging them to increase funding for adult education programs. For Gretchen Wilson, the issue of adult education is very personal - until last year, she was one of the millions of Americans who hadn't finished their high school education. A dedicated mother, it was important for Wilson to earn her diploma not only for herself, but to prove to her 8-year old daughter Grace how important education is.

Gretchen Wilson, a bonafide country superstar, had the financial resources to return to where she left off at the age of fifteen. Millions of other adults in the United States aren't so fortunate. The majority are dependent on the federally funded public education programs. The current federal education appropriations provide services to a mere 2.5% of all in need. Because adult education is so underfunded, 80,000 adults were waitlisted for federally funded programs last year.

Wilson will testify in a hearing before the Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness about her experiences in earning her G.E.D. She will encourage Tennessee legislators to support adult education on the state and national level. The hearing will discuss the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Title II which establishes the structure, services and size of federally funded adult education and literacy programs. Since its installment in 1998, the act has never been reauthorized, and is preventing states from adapting services to community needs.

Gretchen Wilson will testify alongside Dollar General President and adult literacy advocate David Ber?, to help rally support and awareness for the cause. "I truly believe that we can be better parents and better Americans if we make adult education more accessible," she says. It is Wilson's hope that by sharing her success story, she will be able to help those parents in similar situations have the resources to gain the education they need to be their child's first and most important teacher.

For more on Gretchen Wilson getting her GED, see this article in People magazine or read an article about Wilson and her hero, Bernadine Nelson.

View a video of Gretchen Wilson on CNN talking about why she decided to get her GED, and how Bernadine Nelson, an adult education supervisor from Tennessee, supported her.

To learn more about adult education, visit www.ncladvocacy.org.