A case study of adult basic education programs in North Carolina and in Virginia

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Virginia Tech


Public school systems have historically been responsible for the delivery of Adult BaSic Education programs. However, recent amendments to the Adult Education Act have allowed for administration of Adult Basic Education programs to be expanded throughout the public and private sector. This expansion has created competition among potential providers of Adult Basic Education, particularly public schools and community colleges, regarding who should have responsibility for delivery of services (Cross & McCartan, 1984).

Data available from the North Carolina Department of Community Colleges and the Virginia Department of Education revealed significantly higher participation rates of enrollees in Adult Basic Education in North Carolina than in Virginia. In North Carolina, delivery of programs is the responsibility of community colleges, whereas in Virginia the primary delivery system is the public school divisions within the state.

The specific purpose of this study was to ascertain why there are more enrollees in Adult Basic Education programs administered through community colleges than in Adult Basic Education programs administered through the public school systems. This purpose was achieved by conducting case studies of ABE programs in four sites, two in North Carolina and two in Virginia; the informants in each site consisted of the local ABE administrator, ABE faculty. and ABE students.