Destabilization makes an individual, a group, or an institution vulnerable to disease, infiltration, attack, and at worst, death or extinction.
Stabilization not only keeps the individual, group or institution strong, it enables the individual, group or institution to provide shelter, support, and sustenance to others.
Help or harm - in domino effect.
All K12 Adult Schools have been destabilized since Governor Schwartzenegger flexed their funding in 2009.
This has led to over 70 Adult Schools closing and all of them shrinking. There is now a Charter Adult School in the Sacramento Area. And private enterprises consider Adult Education a prime market to enter and expand. "While adult education has long been a “hidden” market, its programs often “shoved off in a corner,” all that seems to be changing, says to Pearson SVP Jason Jordan. “Suddenly it’s becoming a much more interesting marketplace.'"
Berkeley Adult School Faces A New Challenge and Potential Crisis
The uncertainty of funding for K12 Adult Schools may be one reason the Berkeley School District is considering moving the Berkeley Adult School out of its campus entirely or in part in order to find space for an increasing number of Elementary School students.
Do Elementary School students need and deserve space? Of course, they do.
Does a community need and deserve an Adult School? Absolutely.
Shrinking or dismantling an Adult School, as we can see through what has happened in Oakland and Los Angeles, does not help children, families, and communities thrive and achieve, academically or otherwise.
San Mateo Adult School Student Advocate expressed that very well in her op-ed, "My Dilemma," in the San Mateo Daily Journal. A similar but less serious situation exists in San Mateo where the D-Tech Charter School is seeking a new, temporary, or permanent home. Marina is an Adult Learner, a mother, and the new CCAE Student Rep in the AB86 Workgroup. She knows that "Parents’ education strongly affects children’s ability to adapt to their new country and succeed in their school life."
Immigrant parents know that in order for their kids succeed, they, themselves, the parents, need education and support.
And half of all kids in California public schools have a foreign-born parent! But does the Berkeley School District know this?
The Berkeley School District May Take Over the Berkeley Adult School Campus
Here's a blurb from the Berkeley Adult School Facebook page about what BAS is facing:
Moving Berkeley Adult School off its campus does not mean it would move into a lovely new campus. It means the program would be destabilized, would no longer serve as a community resource hub, and would have to shrink in size and services.
This information was presented to the public in November. In December, options are being narrowed down to two or three. Rumour has it that taking over the Berkeley Adult School campus is one of the options being seriously considered. A decision will be made in January.
All while the city of Berkeley is being rocked by responses to Ferguson, people celebrate the holidays, shop, eat, travel, discuss Cuba and North Korea and the CIA Torture Report. And for some folks, throw in poverty, job loss, lack of English and civic skills, transportation problems, health problems, and depression - a big and unspoken problem for many people in the Holiday Season.
What does that mean for Berkeley Adult School?
It means it might be harder for students and staff to rally with a large and organized movement to retain their campus and their position as a stable and stabilizing community resource hub.
Berkeley Adult School Needs and Deserves Our Support
Because of the destabilization, cuts, and closures that hit all Adult Schools, Berkeley Adult School is the largest Adult School in its region.
Governor Brown, in his January 9th Budget Announcement, may finally provide secure funding for K12 Adult Schools and the new Regional Consortia system.
Many across the state, individuals, organizations, and elected officials, understand the value of Adult Schools and Adult Education. They have worked and continue to work for the stabilization and rebuilding of Adult Schools and Adult Education. That's the whole purpose of AB86 and the new Regional Consortia system.
In these last days before Brown's announcement, as we move closer toward our goal and as Adult Schools and Community Colleges around the state work to find a way to work together to provide the best Adult Education possible, what value is there is destabilizing Berkeley Adult School even further? What value is there in shrinking it in size and scope?
Do we see results in Oakland that Berkeley wants to emulate? Or do we see results in Oakland that Berkeley wants to shut out? There's a long history in Berkeley that could be called "Fear of Oakland." There are many reasons for that, some of them not very pretty. In the long run, those reasons need to be addressed. In the short run, Berkeley should consider that the devastation of Oakland Adult School, which once served over 25,000 people, did not help Oakland and does not help the communities that surround it. Destabilizing and shrinking the Berkeley Adult School is not the answer. Keeping Berkeley Adult School strong and working to strengthen Adult Schools and Adult Education across the state is.
Action Steps We Can Take To Keep Berkeley Adult School in Place as a Community Resource Hub
Call or email a Berkeley School Board Member, local elected official, community organizations, or the media.
If you have connections to UC Berkeley, contact them.
Scan the list below for ideas and contacts and use your gut to pick the action step right for you.
As we've seen over and over, our choices matter. It's our culture, our community, our state.
We can pretend we're powerless but the truth is we're not. And what feels like a small step may in fact be the start of a domino effect that changes things for the better.
(Reminder: the small step of doing nothing has results, too.)
You never until you try.
Go for it!