Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

CCAE Alert: Trump Admin Budget Proposal for Adult Ed

First, a reminder:  Most of California's Adult Ed funds come through the state but some comes in from the federal government through WIOA - the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.


From:      Art Ellison, State Director's S.P.O.C. Network Administrator
 
Alert:      Trump Administration Budget Proposal for Adult Education (FY18)
 
 
The first Trump budget proposal (skinny version) was released this morning.
 
It refers to significant cuts in job training programs in the Department of Labor portion of the proposal. Adult Education is not mentioned in the brief description of Department of Education programs however the Department would receive a -13.5% overall decrease. In the absence of more specific information which will not be forthcoming until mid-May WE ARE PROCEEDING WITH THE ASSUMPTION THAT THERE WOULD BE AN ANTICIPATED CUT OF -13.5% FOR ADULT EDUCATION if this proposal is approved by Congress..
 
It will be extremely important that hundreds of thousands of contacts from the adult education field let members of Congress know that there should be no cuts to adult education funding in the FY18 federal budget.
 
We should have more specifics on our path forward with this effort by early next week.
 
Thank you all for what you have done in the past and what you will do in the future for our students and programs.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

California SB68: Helping Adult School Students Go to College

SB68 extends and clarifies language in AB540 allowing undocumented students to attend community colleges without paying non-resident fees. 
Supporting SB68 as amended can help students in adult schools who are planning on transitioning to colleges.
Support this bill by contacting your state senator.

(a) A student, other than a nonimmigrant alien within the meaning of paragraph (15) of subsection (a) of Section 1101 of Title 8 of the United States Code, who meets all of the following requirements shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California State University and the California Community Colleges: Colleges if the student meets all of the following requirements:
(1) (A) A total of three or more years of attendance in California or credits equivalent to three or more years of full-time attendance or credits at any of the following:
(i) California elementary schools, California schools.
(ii) California secondary schools, campuses schools.
(iii) California schools established by the State Board of Education.
(iv) California adult schools established by any of the following entities:
(I) A county office of education.
(II) A unified school district or high school district.
(III) The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
(v) Campuses of the California Community Colleges, or a Colleges.
(vi) A combination of those schools, of which attendance at a campus of the California Community Colleges shall be full time and shall not exceed two years of the time counted towards satisfaction of the requirements of this paragraph. schools set forth in clauses (i) to (v), inclusive.
(B) (i) Full-time attendance or credits at a campus of the California Community Colleges counted towards the requirements of this paragraph shall comprise either a minimum of 12 units of credit per semester or quarter equivalent per year or a minimum of 210 class hours per semester or quarter equivalent per year in noncredit courses authorized pursuant to Section 84757. Attendance at a campus of the California Community Colleges counted towards the requirements of this paragraph shall not exceed attendance or credits equivalent to two years full-time attendance or credits.
(ii) Full-time attendance at a California adult school counted towards the requirements of this paragraph shall be a minimum of 210 class hours of attendance for each school term in classes or courses authorized pursuant to Section 41976 or Sections 2053 to 2054.2, inclusive, of the Penal Code.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Kristen Pursley: Write Gov Brown to Request Funds for Adult Schools

Shared with permission rom Kristen Pursley's Save Your Adult School blog:

Write Governor Brown Now to Request More Funding for Adult Schools

In January, Governor Brown released a proposed 2017-2018 budget that, once again, fails to provide any additional money for California’s adult schools.  The  amount of the Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG), which now provides the only state funding for adult schools, is still $500 million, the same amount that was provided when the block grant was created two years ago.  Of the $500 million provided by the AEBG, only $350 million is earmarked for adult schools.  The state spent $750 million on adult schools before the financial crash of 2008.  If the budget passes with the amount of the AEBG unchanged, 2017-2018 will mark the ninth year that adult schools have gone without an increase in their state funding, which is their largest and most important source of funding.  Of those nine years, 6 were years of cuts and steep declines in funding; since 2013, adult school funding has held the line at the low and deeply inadequate level of funding adult schools reached after the 6 years of cuts.

Now is the time to write to Governor Brown and our state legislators to request a much-needed increase in adult school funding.  Between now and the governor’s May revise of the budget, Sacramento will be engaged in negotiations about what the final budget will be.  We need to let our elected officials know that the current level of funding for adult schools is inadequate and puts the adult education system, and the Californians it serves, at risk.

Understandably, the governor has adopted a very cautious budget to prepare for uncertain times ahead under new federal leadership, an uncertainty made greater by California’s commitment to protect its immigrant population in the face of threatened retaliation by the federal government.  However, adult schools are an important piece of the infrastructure California will need to protect and support its immigrant population through the difficult years ahead.  Since their founding in the mid-nineteenth century, California’s adult schools have had service to the immigrant community as a key part of their mission, and they still provide the bulk of English as a Second Language instruction in the state.  They are gathering places where immigrants find a community, receive support, access services and learn to participate in civic life in the United States.  The immigrants most in need of protection, those without documents, rely on adult schools for educational services, as most of them cannot afford the expensive out-of-state tuition they have to pay at community colleges. To truly support these immigrants, you have to support their education.

Adult schools provide crucial services for other marginalized populations as well, providing basic literacy and a second chance at a high school diploma  for adults who, for whatever reason, were unable to attain those things as children. They offer support for adults with disabilities and seniors.  Adult schools serve all the vulnerable groups of people who will be most hurt by proposed cuts to federal programs.

For this reason, it is vital that adult schools survive.  Because of chronic underfunding for the last eight years, they are vulnerable to being swept away in the financial chaos that may well come.  California should have been providing adult schools with adequate funding when times were good.  Now that we face a challenging future, the state must somehow find the money to protect this valuable resource.

Please write a letter to Governor Brown today and request more funding for adult schools. You can use the template below. Please feel free to adapt the language and be sure to insert any information about your own experience with adult schools and why you think they are valuable.
Don’t forget to send a copy to your legislators; the budget is to a certain extent in their hands now. You can find your state legislators here:

http://www.legislature.ca.gov/legislators_and_districts/legislators/your_legislator.html

Here is a template for a letter:
Governor Jerry Brown
C/O State Capitol,
Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814 

Dear Governor Brown,

I am writing to request that funding for California’s adult schools be increased through an increase in the Adult Education Block Grant for the 2017-2018 year.  California’s adult schools have been underfunded for eight years, and are the only branch of education that did not receive an increase last year. Due to chronic underfunding, adult schools are in danger of being swept away by the next financial crisis. It is crucial that the state assure the survival of this invaluable resource during the uncertain years ahead.

Adult schools serve the vulnerable adults who are most likely to be hurt by many of the proposed changes to federal policy: poor people, immigrants, people with low levels of literacy, the disabled and seniors.  If California is to defend these marginalized people, as it has bravely pledged to do, it must protect the institutions that serve them.  They must be able to participate to the fullest extent in the economic and civic life of the state, in order to be strong themselves and to keep the state strong.  Adult schools are a key resource to help them fulfill their potential.

I respectfully request that the amount of the  Adult Education Block Grant be increased for 2017-2018.

Sincerely,
 

COABE's Open Letter to President Trump

From COABE - Commission on Adult Basic Education

January 20, 2017

White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump:

The Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) congratulates you on your inauguration as our nation’s forty fifth president! As a national organization with more than 20,000 members who are committed to strengthening Adult Education we look forward to working with your administration to create the opportunities that will put Americans back to work! 

 We believe this goal is consistent with the vision you articulated during your  campaign: “Ensure that the opportunity to attend a two or four-year college, or to  pursue a trade or a skill set through vocational and technical education, will be  easier to access, pay for, and finish.” 

 Adult Education is a federal-state partnership as well as a public-private  partnership. By way of example, Indiana Adult Education programs (WorkIndiana)  provide math, reading, and  writing instruction free of charge to help students  acquire the skills they need to earn a high school equivalency diploma, go to college,  or enroll in an entry-level occupational certification program. 

 Indiana invests about $25 million in state funds to augment almost $10 million in  federal funds to offer more than 30 certifications in Advanced Manufacturing,  Health Care, Information Technology, and Hospitality, among others.

But the goal of a good job at a good wage remains unachievable for the more than 36 million Americans who can’t read or write at the most basic level as well as the more than 60 million who lack the basic math skills necessary to operate a cash register or understand a bus schedule. 

We need a robust array of skill-building programs that can help all of these potential workers train for the jobs that you intend to bring back to the United States which will help them support their families and pursue their personal dreams. We want to work with you to win the global skills race by investing comprehensively in the nation’s workforce.

  Inspiring educators so adults succeed and communities thrive.

PO Box 620, Syracuse, NY 13206 • www.COABE.org • 888-442-6223
Adult Education is a path from low-income and dead-end jobs to a productive future. Adults without a high school diploma or functioning below a high school level cannot qualify for either community college programs or high demand occupations. High schools alone cannot provide business and industry the workers they need.

Most of America’s future workers are already in the workforce. They are beyond the reach of the high schools and postsecondary education. Adult education is the best way to re-engage them. By neglecting the adult population in need of education, we also harm the prospects of the next generation—57 percent of children whose parents don’t have a college education live in low-income families, and are less likely themselves to get a good education qualify for family-sustaining jobs. A robust Adult Education system is essential if we are to achieve our nation’s economic goals. It will be impossible to create a workforce skilled enough to compete in the global 21st Century economy if we focus only on secondary schools and postsecondary institutions. Adult education must be supported.  Significant underinvestment in Adult Education and workforce skills development is eroding America’s global competitiveness. Other nations are fast outstripping America in boosting the educational levels of their young and working age adults. They are showing consistent decade-to-decade progress in enhancing the education levels of their adult populations, while the U.S. is losing ground. According to The Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) conducted under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and published in 2013, “the U.S. average on the literacy and numeracy scales is mediocre at best.” 
Investing in Adult Education makes sense.  According to “The Return on Investment from Adult Education and Training, “Adult education also improves and expands the nation’s available pool of human capital by helping motivated but undereducated people achieve gainful employment in today’s increasingly high-tech and global job market, and at a far lower cost per learner when compared to either K12 or higher education. As a result, adult education and career training is potentially one of the most cost-effective tools the nation has …”
Because low literacy correlates to inequality, higher unemployment, lower incomes, crime, poor health and increased hospitalizations, properly funding the adult education system would yield substantial fiscal and social benefits, adding to GDP growth, personal incomes, increased revenues, and savings on incarceration and health care. 
  Inspiring educators so adults succeed and communities thrive.

PO Box 620, Syracuse, NY 13206 • www.COABE.org • 888-442-6223
According to the National Center on Education and the Economy, “It is still the case, and is likely to continue to be the case, unless something changes, that American workers, once the best-educated in the world, are now among the least welleducated in the industrialized world.”  As you have reminded us, we live in an increasingly competitive world; one in which we cannot afford to waste the talents of even a single worker and while the freemarket works, it is not perfect.  We must invest adequately in our Adult Education system to remain economically competitive.
Sincerely,

Tom Nash COABE President

COABE Report from Washington - February 9, 2017


Here is their 2/9/17 Report from DC:

Government Relations Report:  February


Washington is trying to acclimate to the Trump Administration. The president is acting through a spate of executive orders. The Senate is slowly making its way through confirmation hearings and discussing how to consider the president's nominee for the Supreme Court. The foreign policy establishment is trying to weigh the impact of the president's remarks on our relationships with Mexico, Australia, and Israel, among other countries. Information about the budget and other administration policies has not been revealed. Like so much else with the new administration, including its views on education policy, details will be forthcoming. However, it is definitely not business as usual in the nation's capital!

Secretaries of Education and Labor Confirmation Hearings

Secretary of Education designate Betsy DeVos had her confirmation hearing on January 11. The consensus is that she did not distinguish herself. On February 7, Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote and DeVos was confirmed by a vote of 51-50.  

The new Secretary responded in writing to two questions about her views on adult education:

15. Do you have any experience working with adult learners or adult basic education programs? If so, please describe this experience, what it has taught you, and how you will use that experience in your oversight of these programs.

ANSWER: Too many Americans are suffering in the current economy. President
Trump made improving the employment opportunities of these Americans a cornerstone of his campaign, and his administration will work to improve the prospects of those forgotten individuals. Reforms enacted in the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, which was reauthorized in 2014 as part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, were meant to help states and communities improve services for adult learners to better provide them the education and skills they need to obtain employment and increase self-sufficiency. If confirmed, I will work through the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education to implement these reforms to improve outcomes for adult learners. Combined with other efforts across the government, we have an opportunity to restore the American Dream for all Americans. I have had personal experience mentoring students in our local public school system. I became very well acquainted with one student's mother, and encouraged her to pursue her GED. Her experience made me realize how difficult the system made this for a single working mother. Many courses were only available during routine business hours, creating an additional hardship for her and her family. The lack of flexibility and adaptability in the system itself is all too often a barrier to success for nontraditional students.

56. As you well know, while some adults enrolled in adult education are still seeking their high school diploma or equivalent, a surprising number of American adults with a high school diploma still struggle with basic skills. Twenty percent (20%) of adults with a high school diploma have less-than-basic literacy skills and thirty-five percent (35%) of adults with a high school degree have less-than-basic numeracy skills. According to a recent study, conducted by OECD's Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), at least three million low-skilled American adults would like to enroll in adult education services, but cannot access a program. Without access, undereducated, underprepared adults cannot qualify for jobs with family sustaining incomes that require not only a high school equivalency, but also some college, preferably a one- or two-year certificate. Adults without a high school diploma or functioning below high school level have a difficult time qualifying for community college programs or access high demand occupations. If confirmed, how do you envision the department and the administration incorporating adult education into its competitiveness agenda?

ANSWER: In raising the issue of "undereducated, underprepared adults" you make a case for the need to improve education. When schools fail our students, there are long term consequences, both for individuals who are deprived of the knowledge and skills they need to be successful and our nation which is dependent on the innovative, creative, and economic contributions of it citizens. It is why we need to do more to provide parents with high quality educational options. Sadly, too many Americans are suffering from a lack of skills. President Trump made improving the employment opportunities of these Americans a cornerstone of his campaign, and his administration will work to improve the prospects of those left behind in this economy. If confirmed, I will work with the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education and other relevant agencies to improve outcomes for adult learners. Combined with other efforts across the government, we have an opportunity to restore the American Dream for all Americans.

(The Committee has not yet posted a hearing date for Secretary of Labor designate Andrew Puzder.)

Funding

We are awaiting more details on funding proposals. The normal process is for the president to present his budget the second week of February.

However, as you may recall, Congress passed and the president signed a continuing resolution for FY 2017 that is in effect until April 28. According to staff, by the beginning of March, Congress will have to decide how it wants to close the books on 2017 as it works on funding for FY 2018. Thus far, the focus has been on health-related entitlements. Staff expects the administration to send Capitol Hill a budget document that provides some guidance about how it intends to proceed.

There has been a great deal of attention paid to the Heritage Foundation publication Blueprint for Balance: A Federal Budget for 2017 because of press reports that it forms the basis for the budget the administration will release at the end of this month. To summarize, the rumored Trump budget would include about $10 trillion or more in savings. The vast majority of these cuts would be in the non-defense portion of the budget, and according to the Blueprint would include the elimination of all job-training programs administered by the Department of Labor, because according to Heritage, "The Department of Labor has a history of operating ineffective job-training programs. The evidence from every multi-site experimental evaluation of federal job-training programs published since 1990 strongly indicates that these programs are ineffective. Based on these scientifically rigorous evaluations using the 'gold standard' of random assignment, these studies consistently find failure. Federal job-training programs targeting youth and young adults have been found to be extraordinarily ineffective."

A few points to keep in mind:

1. Even if these proposals are ultimately put forth as part of the president's budget, Congress will ultimately have to act on them.
2. Ultimate decision-making authority remains with the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. That is why we are focusing our Hill Days on the appropriators, starting with the members of the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Subcommittees (See Senate Membership below).
3. The state directors and COABE are working together to expand our reach to "grass roots and grass tops" so that, if necessary, we can launch a campaign capable of generating thousands of messages to Congress.
4. The January webinar we cosponsored had 1000 listeners and 1500 sign-ups. The webinar is available for viewing on the COABE website.  http://www.coabe.org/webinar-resources
5. We are preparing materials for Hill Day and the campaign that focus on a pro business, pro growth message.
6.  The state directors' Hill Days are scheduled for March 21 & 22 and will focus on states with members on the Appropriations Committees (see the list below).
7. COABE's Hill Day is planned for April 26 and will focus on bringing in state association leaders to advocate with members of the Appropriations Committees as well as legislators in all 50 states. More details will be forthcoming shortly!  

Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee

Roy Blunt (R-MO), chairman
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
James Lankford (R-OK)
John Kennedy (R-LA)
Marco Rubio (R-FL)

Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member
Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)

The House has not yet completed its assignments.

REQUEST:  Now more than ever, it is important to keep your member of Congress apprised of the need, success, and impact of your program. Many decisions are going to be made in the coming months and we would prefer them to be informed decisions.

Here are some things you can do:

1. From your home phone, call the offices of your Congressperson and Senators, identify yourself as a constituent, and ask for the name and contact information of the staff person who is responsible for education issues.

2. Email that person from your home with information about the need (how many undereducated adults are in the district or state and how many you are able to serve, pointing out the gap), the success you are having with those you can reach, examples of the impact you are having on constituents' lives, and invite the member or staff to come visit your program.


If we do not speak up for our students and ourselves, no one will.

Note:

Less than a week later, on January 26th, COABE and NAEPDC co-hosted an advocacy webinar, generously sponsored by ETS HiSET, to provide our field with tools and resources for raising awareness and visibility, along with new advocacy skills for use during this new administration. More than 1,500 members registered for the webinar, which received a rating of 4.8 out 5 stars. To view the webinar and resources, click HERE. Contact advocacy@coabe.org to add your name to our contact network. #adultedtrump #adultedunited 

COABE's Legislative Center is generously sponsored by ETS HiSET.




              
 
Coalition on Adult Basic Education, PO Box 620, Syracuse, NY 13026
Sent by info@coabe.org in collaboration with

Monday, February 6, 2017

COSAS Notes on Responding to Federal Policy Changes

COSAS - Communities Organized in Support of Adult Schools - arose in response to the cuts and closures of Adult Education that began in 2009.  They meet weekly for years and now meet monthly.  Kristen Pursley is the founder of COSAS and writes the Save Your Adult School blog.  Here, with her permission, are meeting notes from a recent January 30, 2017 COSAS meeting.  They contain excellent suggestions on how to respond to changes in Federal policy that affect Adult Education and the communities we serve.

These notes can be found in this Save Your Adult School blog post.


Responding to New Federal Immigration Policy (Travel Ban, etc.)

Teachers need to teach students how to contact their U.S. congressional representatives by phone in case they are personally affected by the new immigration policies and need help.   Representatives can sometimes intervene on behalf of constituents who are affected by federal policy.  Here is the link for finding congressional representatives by zip code: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

While we sometimes teach our adult school students how to write to members of congress and other elected officials to influence policy, we need to also teach them that they can reach out to their representatives when they are affected by federal policies.  Representatives sympathetic to immigrants will want to know when people living in their districts are adversely affected by federal policies, and may be able to offer assistance with individual cases.

(The group came up with this recommendation while discussing a newspaper article about a mother whose son was prevented from entering the U.S. because of the travel ban and wrote to President Trump.  While writing the president is not a bad thing, she might have been able to get more immediate help by contacting her representative.)

Other Ideas for Responding to New Federal Policies

How will federal policies affect older people?  There may be cuts to Social Security , Medicare, and other programs older adults rely on. We need to find ways to keep seniors healthier longer.Education is an important way to do that.

Adult school teachers should make contact with their local mosques in order to find ways to support Muslim students.

The Indivisible Guide, by former congressional staffers, is a resource for getting congress to pay attention to citizen concernts: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has excellent resources for addressing issues of racism, xenophobia, and bullying,  including many resources for classroom use through its Teaching Tolerance program: https://www.splcenter.org/

Adult school teachers need to teach students about their rights and about civic engagement.

New Meeting Time for COSAS

COSAS will now meet on the second Monday of every month from 4:00 to 5:00 PM. The next meeting will take place on Monday, February 13.