Learning does not have to stop when you reach adulthood. In the United States, lifelong learning is encouraged. If you are 16 years of age or older but have not completed high school, you may enroll in Adult Secondary Education (ASE) classes. These classes prepare you for the General Educational Development – GED diploma.
A GED diploma is an alternative to a high school diploma. It is proof of obtaining knowledge and skills at the secondary school level. Obtaining a GED requires you to pass a series of test exams in five areas: reading, writing, social science, science, and math. Most employers consider obtaining a GED equivalent to a regular high school diploma. In many places, GED preparation classes are free or very cheap. For information on this, see your local telephone directory under “Adult Education” or call your local school district office.
Many adults attend classes where they learn or learn about topics of interest. New skills that help them in their work. Many public school systems and local colleges offer a wide range of adult activities. Anyone can sign up for such classes and usually the fees are very moderate. Consult your local school system or your local college for information on availability, costs, and enrollment.
There are many places where you can learn to speak, read and write in English. Many children and adults enroll in English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. These classes help non-English speakers learn the language. These activities are sometimes also called English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) or English Literacy (English literacy).
Children who do not speak English, they will learn it at school. Public schools in the United States provide help and education for all students who need to study English. Students who need extra help are often referred to as “Limited English Proficient” students.
Students who are just starting to learn English may take ESL courses in lieu of normal English classes. People with better English skills are sometimes joined to regular classrooms and offered extra help. Some schools also offer after-school programs and tutoring to help students learn English. Your child’s school will advise parents of what kind of help it is offering to students who need to learn English.
Adults who do not speak English can enroll in ESL classes available through public adult education programs or at a private language school.
Public and district adult education programs are often organized locally by school districts or local colleges. Such programs often provide ESL classes along with training by local volunteers. These programs are often free or low-cost. Some activities take place during the day and some in the evenings. Please call your local college or school district to find out about your nearest ESL program.
In many large cities there are private language schools that offer evening ESL courses. The cost of such classes often depends on the number of teaching hours. Private language classes are usually more expensive than public classes.
Some community organizations, libraries and religious groups also offer free or low-cost ESL classes. Find out about your local public library, social welfare agency, or church. A research information librarian at your local library can also tell you about ESL programs and show you where to find ESL books, tapes, CDs, and computer programs in the library.