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Education in the Prison

by Rebecca Witte last modified Aug 06, 2020 03:10 PM
When most teachers graduate college, they picture being able to share their knowledge in a traditional classroom setting. For Andrea Black, GED instructor at El Dorado Correctional Facility, the thought of helping a group of people who many would write off as undeserving was enough to inspire her to pursue teaching within the walls of a prison.

“I enjoy working with this population,” Andrea said. “It’s just one step in them becoming good citizens, but I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Andrea’s students have a pass rate of around 95 percent on their first attempt at the test. “It’s very heartwarming to see these men get tears in their eyes because this may be the only thing they have ever really completed.”

And she walks them through every step of the way.

Not only does Andrea hold classes twice a day in the education building, she also runs a GED program for those in segregation. It’s not an easy task to try and teach someone math through a steel door, but she has had several of those students graduate.

“There was a long-term segregation resident who, as an incentive for good behavior, was placed into the GED program. He had very bad behavior issues which made it difficult for the staff that worked with him,” Andrea said. “Not only did this student pass all his tests on the first try, his Unit Team told me that for the three months he was enrolled, he had the best behavior he had ever had while at EDCF.”

We are SO thankful for Andrea, and all our educators, for their hard work and dedication to the students that they serve. Thank you for giving these men, women and youth the chance to reach their full potential!

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