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County AEP makes the grade

Alabama's Adult Education Program (AEP)has been a topic of controversy after several surrounding counties' programs received failing grades. Butler County's AEP was not among the failures. In fact, Butler County received all A's on its report card.

Butler County AEP supervisor Ronald Shanks said AEP's main purpose is to give undereducated adults a second chance so that they may become educated citizens, with the capability of functioning independently in today's highly technological society. "The program helps adults who didn't finish high school get their GED," Shanks said.

However, that is just one function of the program. High school seniors unable to pass the exit exam can receive remediation through AEP.

Older adults who have already earned their high school diplomas and are interested in going back to college may also benefit from AEP. These people may want to brush up on certain skills and AEP can help them do that.

Shanks said the program is tailored to each learner's needs, and classes are offered in literacy improvement, preparation for the GED, improvement in academic skills and remediation for the high school exit exam.

Potential students are tested in order to discover their learning levels. The instruction they receive is based on their level, and they are tested throughout the program to see how much improvement they have made and when they are ready to take the GED. Shanks said students who do not make satisfactory improvement are dropped from the program.

The end goal is passing the GED, which was upgraded at the beginning of the year, making it more difficult.

"Most of the program's GED graduates enroll in college," Shanks said. "Lurleen B. Wallace Junior College (in Andalusia and Greenville) offers one free semester to students who pass the GED."

Anyone interested in learning more about the program should contact Ronald Shanks at 382-6009. Morning and evening classes are offered during the summer session.