Educating Rita and Obama's Plan for US Community Colleges

by:  Charles Haugland at 03/07/2013

Educating Rita starts previews this Friday, and in a fascinating coincidence, the subject of adult learners and continuing education is all over the news.  

In the play, Rita is a hairdresser who discovers a passion for learning and English Literature, and decides to take courses from the Open University, a kind of correspondence college that revolutionized education in England in the 1970s. The play follows her  challenging relationship with her course tutor Frank, a boozy and somewhat burnt-out professor. Rita stands for thousands of students in that era who took advantage of the Open University to go back to school and earn post-secondary degrees.

Just in the past month, we've seen related stories here today in America. I saw one in the Boston Metro today about how President Obama's Education advisors are forecasting a shortage of Americans with postsecondary training. They are holding a series of summits on how to meet that shortfall. At the first summit last week, Jamie Merisotis, president of Lumina Foundation for Education, spoke about how "community colleges are the on-ramp for students," particularly adult learners. Without college degrees, the Center on Education writes in a related report, 60 million students are "at risk of being locked out of the middle class." 

Educating Rita is set in late 70s Britain, but you can see that this conversation about class and the importance of education continues, even here in the States. Just one way that Willy Russell's contemporary classic stays relevant. Hope to see you there.

To read more about President Obama's plan for community colleges, visit the Chronicle of Higher Education.  He is also visiting Dorchester tomorrow tomorrow to tour TechBoston Academy (click here for more info).

To read more about the Open University (the program Rita enrolls in), you can take a sneak peek at our program notes.


  1. to sink it hard, however, can not always have the grip sinking wandering soul; how many people floating lifeless, loss of conscience in officialdom in the property, the "Man's nature is good," the true meaning strangles, devoid! Nan said: "Reading the history of three thousand years, nothing more than fame and fortune, nine miles enlightenment, is always pastoral poetry and wine." House is nothing more than another big body capacity Seoul five feet, more luxurious car, but also a means of transport. And, lined with tall buildings block who look exactly Castle sight? A dusty haze in the end who had dyed a healthy body? Luxurious life, we "read" to what? Abandoned villages, we "see" what was the reason? The future, can allow you and I give up luxury, away from the hubbub, like a mountain stream, as guardian, silent love, loving flowers waiting for a quiet beauty, ecological plot together better living environment? If you can, please promise me, like a river clean watch lovingly mountains, grass smoothie like that, simple quiet life, tranquil forward; natural seeding in a calm Ning Wen Wanqing, Shizumori cloud water, the equanimity, I let you freely in the blue sky breathing, totem! Spring deep place I do not know, a touch long stream flow. Screenshot touch of sweet flowers, willing gorgeous bloom in nature, so tempting arms brilliant mind, Xu Li Kangan gas in the new body, long far Ju a handful of clear streams warm heart, the inhaled gas exhaled;. A Species thread spring in mind, let love in Life is a never-ending journey through some wonderful, some rough Ke Hum, and my life, flying all the way! While not exciting, memorable enough! People are yearning for a meteoric rise, meteoric rise in life, do you not know the way eloquent, I love you Shannon is also a supreme level. And my life is so! Even if not beautiful and seductive, but the way of atmosphere, the scenery along the way is enough to make you enjoy endless. While not asking for the moon, though not into the sky, while the middle part of twists and turns, bustling, too adorable! This life, it was jealousy, it was envy. Jealous of my life is so cheerful! I envy the pace is so fly Jian! My life, flying all the way! To say is fate! It goes well, but also crooked; it twists and turns, they still flew quickly. Midway There are many memorials, villain obstruction, there are corrupt resistance. Suffering does not exclude these, how you can travel on the sea? How flying all the way? For me the bottom of a people, be quick degrees, can be described as lucky! Although I did not complete the last mission now, because travel is not over yet. I'm still on the road flew, I still wander the landscape. In fact, the twists and turns of life is not a kind of beauty? People say, infinite in the awesome scenery! I think this is a kind of aesthetic realm! Mediocre is not beautiful life. Only bitter, tired, it felt sweet life. I believe, at the end of life, it is when I the beautiful scenery. At that time, when is my glory. I would like to contaminated dust on the road and are willing to enjoy the scenery on the way. At least there are simple ideas, have experience in the struggle. We do not undergo soil, how to know human suffering? Do not experience the experience along the way, it turns out the world's dangerous? Jing spine through the ups and downs, to get genuine talent they need to get the right position they need. Therefore, the twists and turns for me, is a great beauty in life, life is a wonderful story. There is the life story of a perfect life! Flying life is largely a qualitative leap! Leap, is progress. And I was to survive the leap in progress in the front row. Midway mantis, bugs, ants, cinch! Great risk, of course, need to adjust, need to integrate. As you know, the

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Lisa Timmel,  Bevin O'Gara, and Charles Haugland share their thoughts on New Plays, Dramatury, and their experience sharing nightly conversations with the audiences that come to see our shows. Get the inside scoop of new scripts and play development!

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