Activists want $16 million set aside for classes to teach adults how to read.
Dozens of students and activists rallied outside City Hall Thursday to demand Mayor de Blasio hike funding for adult literacy in the upcoming budget.
They want $16 million set aside for classes for people who lack English proficiency or a high school diploma, enough to give the lessons to 13,000 New Yorkers.
This includes restoring programs that lost over 6,300 adult literacy seats during last year’s budget.
“Allowing adults the opportunity to learn is great for our city,” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “If an individual learns English, they can communicate with their neighbors, help their children with their homework, get a better job, and call 911 without fear if they’re in trouble.”
Xiu Wen Ou, who is learning English in the Educational Alliance College Access and Success Program, said she hopes to continue her English studies and “give back to this great country.”
“It makes me sad to think I may not have an opportunity to do so,” she said.
De Blasio spokeswoman Rosemary Boeglin said city agencies are working on a plan to strengthen adult literacy programming.
“The de Blasio Administration has made unprecedented investments to support New York City’s immigrant communities,” she said. “We look forward to working with the Council throughout the budget process.”