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Published: February 24, 2011

Adult Basic Education (ABE)

The education of adults who never began or completed the normal kindergarten-through-twelfth-grade schooling experience. Designed primarily to eliminate adult illiteracy, Adult Basic Education can range from elementary school–level reading, writing and arithmetic for illiterates to high school–level American history to help prepare immigrants for citizenship. Most often, ABE is associated with non–English-speaking immigrants in major cities, and it has seldom reached out to American-born, rural illiterates in the Deep South or mountain areas. ABE peaked during the waves of immigration between the Civil War and World War I, although it is once again expanding to meet the needs of increased immigration from Latin America.
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