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Public Statements

Supporting National Adult Education And Family Literacy Week

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, D.C.

Supporting National Adult Education And Family Literacy Week

Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, I do rise in support of Adult Education and Family Literacy Week.

I would like to begin by quoting one of my predecessors, a former Member from Tennessee who, while often my friends from Texas like to claim him as theirs, I think he was ours first, and that is Sam Houston. Congressman Houston said, ``The benefits of education and of useful knowledge, generally diffused through a community, are essential to the preservation of a free government.''

This week is our opportunity to enhance the preservation of that liberty by turning a very careful eye to adult education and family literacy. As I have before in this Chamber, I would like to highlight the accomplishments of my friend and constituent, Gretchen Wilson.

Gretchen was one of 43 million American adults who had not completed high school. Inspired by her young daughter, she earned her high school degree later in life. She knew that literacy was more than just knowing how to read and write. After all, she was already a Grammy Award winning artist. Literacy is also the implementation of that skill which empowers people with worlds of new information. It is the spark that ignites curiosity.

Gretchen knew how precious that spark of curiosity could be. The children of parents who have not completed high school are far more likely to drop out themselves. Indeed, children's literacy levels are strongly linked to the educational levels of their parents, especially to the levels of their mothers. Gretchen knew that her education was also her daughter's education.

In so many cases like Gretchen Wilson's, that spark of curiosity has grown into a desire to give back. She, like so many others who have benefited from adult education, now works to expand that benefit to others.

I will close by quoting Thomas Jefferson, whose words on the matter are more eloquent than mine could ever be, and he stated, ``Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppression of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.''


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