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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:07 p.m., Thursday, April 3, 2003

Hundreds protest adult education cuts

Advertiser Staff

About 500 adult education students, educators and supporters filled the state Capitol today in a rally to protect their programs from budget cuts.

Gov. Linda Lingle has said she wants to cut half of the Department of Education's $5.5 million adult education program, and that it would still allow classes to continue for essential topics such as English as a second language.

But state schools superintendent Pat Hamamoto and other education officials said most of the adult education budget funds adult literacy and high school diplomas, citizenship training for recent immigrants and English as a second language classes.

This is the fourth time in six years that adult education students and supporters have protested cuts at the state Capitol, said Community School for Adults principal Liberato Viduya.

Tom Trenz, president of the student council at the McKinley School for Adults, said adult education classes are essential to the survival of immigrants who can't speak or read English. Trenz said students are hoping to give Lingle an eight-minute video on adult education produced by students.

Joscelyn Givens, a 38-year-old mother, is working on getting her high school diploma at Windward School for Adults. Without the program, "I wouldn't be able to practice what I preach to my kids" about getting an education, she said.

Lingle acknowledged the value of the programs, but said that adult education may be a function better suited within the community college system. She said there may be money available within the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations that could be used for job training classes.