Mission & History
& History |
Facts About Adult Education
mission of the NH Bureau of Adult Education is to
provide a variety of educational opportunities
to empower adults to become lifelong learners,
support individuals in identifying and achieving
their potential academic and/or career goals,
assist students to become active participants
in their communities.
New Hampshire Bureau of Adult Education—A
Today’s adult education programs (Adult Basic
Education, Adult High School, and English for Speakers
of Other Languages) began as part of President Lyndon
Johnson’s War on Poverty in 1964. The Economic
Opportunity Act sent funds to each state to develop
adult literacy programs. New Hampshire began with
a few evening Adult Basic Education classes at some
During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s
several local communities started daytime classes
which evolved into community-based learning centers.
The Adult Learning Centers in Nashua and Dover and
Second Start in Concord began at this time. During
the 1980’s all three went on to win recognition
from the U.S. Secretary of Education as the outstanding
adult education program in the northeast for a given
year (Second Start twice.) During the time that
this national recognition program continued, New
Hampshire was the only state with three award-winners.
In the 1970’s, New Hampshire introduced two
new delivery systems for adult education: the Adult
Diploma Program and the Adult Tutorial Program.
New state regulations were adopted to allow local
school districts to grant high school diplomas to
adults who completed required credits by taking
evening classes. Today twenty school districts offer
the Adult High School diploma option.
Adult Tutorial Programs were developed to serve
each county. A tutorial coordinator recruited and
trained volunteers to tutor adults who could not
attend classes. By 1989, there were 1,100 volunteer
tutors matched with adult learners. Adult Tutorial
Programs are now called Adult Learner Services Programs,
offering small classes as well as one-on-one tutoring
for the convenience of learners.
English as a Second Language programs were a small
part of New Hampshire adult education in the early
years, but by the late 1970’s some ESL classes
expanded rapidly, filled with refugees from Southeast
Asia. English as a Second Language enrollment tapered
off in subsequent years but has been increasing
steadily since 1990. English for Speakers of Other
Language students now comprise nearly one-third
of the learners in Bureau of Adult Education programs.
Today, New Hampshire Bureau of Adult Education programs
serve more than 8,000 learners each year. They are
led by Art Ellison who has been the bureau’s
administrator since 1980. During the past 20 years,
more than 20,000 New Hampshire participants have
earned a high school credential, and many more have
learned to speak English and to improve the basic
reading and math skills they need to be effective
parents, workers, and community members.