Administrative planning in Indian adult education based on the socio-economic effects of high school versus non-high school graduation



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The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether a traditionally oriented adult education program would meet the educational needs of the adult population of the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation in East Texas. This determination was to be based on data related to the value of traditional educational efforts in facilitating life-coping abilities among Alabama-Coushatta Indian adults. The value of traditional education in promoting life-coping abilities was determined by a comparative study of the life-coping abilities of Indian adult high school graduates versus the life-coping abilities of Indian adult non-high school graduates. The results of the study provided the researcher with a data-based goal orientation that could lead to effective administrative planning for the Alabama-Coushatta Indian adult education program. A review of literature of adult and American Indian education aided the researcher in identifying areas in which Indian adults should have been prepared for successful socio-economic functioning as a result of completion of a traditional program of secondary education. This information was utilized to generate a survey instrument that was designed to assess life-coping abilities of Alabama-Coushatta Indian adults in the areas of income, employment status, levels of self-esteem, feelings of political alienation, and feelings of social responsibility. In order to obtain data for this study, a random sampling of thirty Indian adult high school graduates was compared, on the five life-coping variables mentioned above, to a random sampling of thirty Indian adult non-high school graduates. A multivariate analysis of variance was performed as the statistical analysis of data. The results of the analysis allowed the researcher to support the hypothesis that there were significant differences in life-coping ability between the Indian adult high school graduate and Indian adult non-high school graduate groups. Based on the findings of the study, the researcher made the following recommendations to program planners: 1. Initial implementation of an adult education program for Alabama-Coushatta adults may be appropriately focused on preparation for acquisition of the GED (General Educational Development) high school equivalency certificate. 2. Materials designed for basic skill training and GED preparation may be utilized in the program. 3. Staffing patterns may include the employment of elementary and secondary school certified teachers who are experienced in the teaching of traditional academic subjects; preferably with experience in teaching adults. 4. No need for special funding beyond the normal funding patterns for adult basic education and GED preparation classes is indicated for initial adult program implementation. 5. Classroom facilities available on the reservation, in the Indian Community Center building, may be considered adequate for housing the program. 6. Public relations recruitment efforts may properly advertise the advantages of GED completion. 7. The social studies curriculum should be enriched to provide for training leading to competent involvement of Alabama-Coushatta adults in political processes, and to dramatize the history and contributions of the Alabama-Coushatta Indians. 8. Counseling of Indian adults may include recommendations that students complete the GED certificate as an important step in self-improvement. 9. Further enrichment of the adult education curriculum should be based on a careful needs assessment study that provides direction to a community education program. Students may be advised that acquisition of the GED certificate should be prerequisite to enrollment in the community education program.