What Happens When You Put Adult Education on the Chopping Block

The Illinois budget crisis is causing extreme cuts to adult education and literacy programs.

In These Times and Kartemquin Films May 28, 2017


One of the many casu­al­ties of Illi­nois’ bud­get cri­sis has been adult edu­ca­tion. Pro­grams that pro­vide edu­ca­tion and lit­er­a­cy for adults — includ­ing immi­grants — have been crit­i­cal in help­ing res­i­dents gain employ­ment and pro­vide for their fam­i­lies. As these pro­grams see extreme cuts, the effects can be dev­as­tat­ing for fam­i­lies that rely on them.

As these programs see extreme cuts, the effects can be devastating for families that rely on them.

This episode of Strand­ed by the State explores how the Chica­go adult edu­ca­tion orga­ni­za­tion Cen­tro Romero has been impact­ed by the bud­get cuts. Illi­nois was a spot­light of adult edu­ca­tion,” says Dena Gia­comet­ti of Cen­tro Romero. But we went through fis­cal-year 2016 with no state fund­ing, which is about 60 per­cent of my department’s fund­ing. … Along comes the bud­get impasse and just knocks our work down.” 

Illi­nois has not passed a real bud­get in near­ly two years, the first state to go that long with­out a bud­get since the Great Depres­sion. Repub­li­can Gov. Bruce Rauner has refused to sign off any bud­get that doesn’t also cur­tail col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing rights, lead­ing to a show­down with the state’s Democrats. 

Strand­ed by the State — an 8‑part video series pro­duced in part­ner­ship with Kartemquin Films — fol­lows the fam­i­lies, work­ers and stu­dents liv­ing through these de fac­to bud­get cuts, show­ing the ways they dete­ri­o­rate the fab­ric of Illi­nois communities.

The series incor­po­rates data con­nect­ing the sit­u­a­tion in Illi­nois to long-term trends of aus­ter­i­ty nation­wide — includ­ing the stag­ger­ing cuts pro­posed in Pres­i­dent Trump’s first budget.

Limited Time: