The State of Education

Recently, LIFT’s President/CEO, Lisa Hembry. along with other seasoned professional education experts were invited to a panel on the McCuistion report to talk about the U.S education system, where we were in 1990, and where we are now.

Education is the subject of the first part in a three part series on 25 Years of Education. In the 1983 report A Nation At Risk, President Reagan said, “if an unfriendly foreign power had intended to impose on America the mediocre education system that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war”. In the U.S. education today costs 2.5 times more per pupil than it did 50 years ago, yet Math and English grades have stayed the same, and Science grades are actually down. We are spending more on education than any other country in the world and getting less return on investment for it. According to the Nation At Risk report, our educational system is not designed to set goals and objectives. From 1983 to today our efforts to correct this have met with little success. – Wacth the video now:

LIFTED – and then some

LIFTED – and then some: Adult literacy program strengthens lives, community – and more at the Opportunity Center

By Martha Heimberg |

My introduction to the transformational power of LIFT (Literacy Instruction for Texas) began almost a year ago when I walked into their new offices in the shiny and spacious Opportunity Center on Malcolm X Boulevard to contribute my time and skills to help functionally illiterate adults learn to read and write English. I’d just retired from a 30-year career of teaching college English, and a former student now on LIFT’s board of directors sent me on my way.

LIFT is a private, non-profit organization supported by many foundations and individuals; all the teachers are volunteers, bringing skills from a widely range of personal and professional backgrounds.

I learned that LIFT offers much more than its nationally recognized program of basic adult literacy courses. In the years since its founding in 1961, LIFT has built a series of courses and programs to carry new readers onward and upward. Some courses integrate basic math and language to enable students to live and work more effectively. LIFT prepares students for the high school equivalency diploma, or GED, and conducts the testing and certification on site. Through their GED distance-learning program, LIFT helps prepare adult learners for the test, working from 10 sites in three counties.

I wanted to help in the first-level reading program. After a series of interviews and applications, I began to assist the lead volunteer teachers in LIFT’s extensive SEE program, an acronym for Sequential English Education, a program designed to include all kinds of learning differences utilized at the Shelton School, and adapted by LIFT for adult learners. Sixty hours of assistance and 40 hours of classroom training later, I became a lead volunteer teacher working with LIFT staff members and other volunteers to open the mysterious door of reading to a roomful of eager people who, for a multitude of reasons, didn’t learn to read as children.

Emergency Earthquake Relief for RUWON Friends

Recently, LIFT developed a partnership with RUWON, a women’s literacy organization in Nepal.

For two weeks in early April three of their staff members went through an intensive training in our basic literacy program so that they could more effectively teach women and children in Nepal to read with the goal of reducing human trafficking and domestic violence.

We are relieved to share that Dhruba, Uma and Kalpana and their immediate families were unharmed in the recent earthquake and aftershocks. However, there are many, many who need immediate assistance including the young children who live in an orphanage run by RUWON staff.

We send them our thoughts and prayer during this difficult time. Please consider making a donation to relief efforts. All amounts are greatly appreciated.