Country Music Star Gretchen Wilson: 'Leave No American Behind' in Education

By Nicholas Ballasy | May 7, 2009 | 7:31 PM EDT

( - Country Music star Gretchen Wilson, who won a Grammy Award in 2005 and has sold more than 6 million albums, went back to school and earned her GED last year at the age of 34. 

This week, she testified before Congress about the importance of adult education. She told that while the No Child Left Behind Act is relevant, her view is that no American should be left behind when it comes to education.

“I’ve heard about all of those programs but I’m kind of more on the ‘No American Left Behind’ here – that’s my thing,” she told in an exclusive interview May 5 after her testimony before the Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness Subcommittee.

“I think the No Child Left Behind Act was a wonderful thing that was put in place. I just think it was too small. I think it’s narrowing,” she said. “Of course, we want to take care of every child in America but the truth is if we don’t take care of their parents, they are not going to find education as an important thing in their life – if their parents didn’t find education as important, if they didn’t have good role models.”

President Obama announced in March that the No Child Left Behind Act, enacted under the Bush administration, would stay intact.

“I think that No Child Left Behind is a great thing, but I think that we have to not leave adults behind either,” said Wilson.  “We have to treat this as – let’s not leave Americans behind.”

Wilson also said the federal government should spend more money on adult education programs.

“All I know is what we can do as people, as individuals,” she said. “I think we should stop using ‘uneducated’ as such a bad term. I think a lot of adults out there are almost afraid to come forward and finish their education just because of fear of being looked at in a different way. I think all we can really do – I think the federal government needs to spend more money on education.”

“I think we spend a lot of money on a lot of things that, to me, seem not as important,” said Wilson. “Educating our adults is only going to benefit us in almost every other way that you can think of when it comes to health issues, children staying in school, being good role models.”

During the interview, Wilson also expressed her opinion on celebrities who involve themselves in the political process.

“It depends on in which way,” she said. “I am a celebrity who is involving myself to try to help a cause that I believe in a lot. I’ve seen some Hollywood celebrities who get involved to a lot further degree. I guess if their life-long goal was to be a politician, they should have started there.”