Saturday, May 20, 2017

NBC Bay Area Report about Serra Adult School

From NBC Bay Area -- about Serra Adult School - part of West Contra Costa Adult Education


A Mandarin dual-immersion school coming to Richmond next year is roiling adult education teachers in the city, who fear the new campus will ultimately disrupt long-established programs that cater to many in the community's low-income, immigrant population. 
The highly-touted new Mandarin school, which will at first offer three kindergarten classes and then expand after the 2018 academic year, will be temporarily housed at the Serra Adult School campus. It will be one of four public schools in the state that offer school-wide immersion programs in Mandarin.
While adult education teachers have been quick to praise the district for offering the immersion program to the community's youth, some expressed concern that its placement at the Serra campus will displace continuing education courses already there, specifically English language and high school equivalency programs.

"It all feels very uncertain," said Kristen Pursley, who has been teaching at Serra since the 1990s. "We haven't been a part of the discussion, whatsoever, so we don't know what's next." 
The district is spending $125,000 to upgrade the Serra Adult School campus for kindergarten students, and an additional $75,000 will be spent to build a kindergarten playground. Because of these expenditures, some teachers believe that all adult education classes at Serra will eventually be reduced, moved, or canceled completely, a claim the district has denied.

However, the adult education's administrative offices have already been forced to relocate three miles away to Alvarado Adult School, decentralizing a hub that is essential for academic testing, teachers said. Physical education classes have also had to switch times and locations. The district claims that "nearly all" of the adult education classes at Serra will run uninterrupted through 2018, but a location plan for the 2019 academic year has yet to be finalized.
Teachers argue that the district's focus on the immersion program has been myopic and irresponsible. 
"In order to create a new resource, they’re kind of breaking up and damaging a resource they already have," Pursley said. "When you do that, you’re not really gaining anything. You’re trading one of thing for another."
About 40 supporters of the Serra campus rallied the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday evening, pleading with the board to take into account program displacement before expanding the Mandarin immersion school. They would like to see a guarantee that adult education can remain at Serra after the next year, a reassurance that the district has been reluctant to offer. 
Educators also expressed concern that future students wouldn't have easy access to similar programs if the courses do move over to the Alvarado campus. A location-preference survey filled out by Serra attendees overwhelmingly showed that people from the northern areas of Richmond and from San Pablo would have a difficult time getting to Alvarado. 
"When I started taking classes, I didn't know any English," said Rosa Alvez, who now works for the school district and has gone on to earn two degrees. "The ones who make decisions still don't understand how important it is for the ESL students to learn English here. This program opens many doors for us and it looks like they are trying to keep them closed to us." 
Jim Knebelman, who teaches English courses at Serra, said displacing a school that caters to an immigrant community currently "under attack" from the Trump administration goes against Richmond's values.  
"It's like an absurd, cruel joke," Knebelman said. "They're going to be displacing a school that overwhelmingly serves people of color and immigrants to build the immersion school. And it's not just the English language classes -- it's also high school equivalency. Those are kids from flatlands who, for whatever reason, didn't finish the first time around."
In an email to NBC Bay Area, Superintendent Matt Duffy reiterated his commitment to adult education offerings in the community. He also noted that the immersion school would only be at the Serra campus for a few years.
"To be clear, there is absolutely no intent to shutter Adult Education," Duffy wrote. 
In a previous letter to the Richmond community, Duffy wrote that moving adult education from Serra could actually benefit its students.
"The District is also looking at this transition as an opportunity to review where our adult education classes are held," Duffy wrote in the letter. "There may be an opportunity to locate classes closer to public transportation and in more locations throughout the District, which may better serve our adult students." 
But the letter did little to assuage displacement anxieties, and it ultimately irked teachers who view the campus as a home and welcoming environment rather than a simple brick-and-mortar location.
Pursley believes the Mandarin school's expansion, and the good publicity it has generated for the school district, will make it a priority that comes before the adult school. And, when the Mandarin school finds a new permanent campus in three to four years time, some teachers are under the impression that they won't get the campus back. Instead, they fear it will be sold to a charter school or used to house other programs. 
"One of the things the district is trying to do is diffuse the situation and take away the sense of urgency, by saying 'you're okay for one year'," Pursley said. "We appreciate that them trying to mitigate some of the damages, but it's not permanent...It doesn't seem like they view this as a resource."
She continued: "If the Mandarin school grows — and everyone here hopes it will — we're fully believe we are going to get pushed out."


Source: Adult Education Teachers in Richmond Fear Displacement | NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Adult-Education-Teachers-in-Richmond-Fear-Displacement--421907393.html#ixzz4hMc8fLrt


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

COABE Legislative Update - the Federal Perspective

COABE is the Coalition on Adult Basic Education.  Their April Legislative Update provides a good overview of the situation from the federal perspective.  Reminder:  California Adult Ed is mostly - but not entirely - funded through the state.  Federal funding matters, too, and we should keep a close eye on what is happening on the federal level where Public Education and Adult Education are concerned.
 
 
 
 
Government Relations Report: April
 
This report focuses on budget and appropriations issues.
 
Congress is on recess for another week.
 
The continuing resolution (CR) under which the government is operating expires on April 28. There is a need to determine how the government will be funded for the remainder of the year. There is still a certain lack of clarity about whether there will be a long-term CR to carry funding through to September 30, or an omnibus appropriations bill (or bills) that will make actual funding decisions on an account-by-account basis. In either case, there may need to be a short-term  continuing resolution because work won't be completed by the 28th of the month.
 
Appropriations staff report that they have mostly completed work on the bills and that contentious funding issues and legislative riders will be hashed out at the leadership level.
 
We also understand that the appropriators have rejected the Trump administration's request to cut FY 2017 domestic discretionary funding to fund defense and to accommodate spending for the southwestern wall. The allocation for Labor, HHS, and Education has not been significantly changed, and it is possible that total Education Department funding could remain about the same, but there could be changes in individual funding levels from the House and Senate versions if there is an omnibus bill. 
 
There remains a possibility that the Republican leadership will seek to accommodate at least part of the president's request to fund the wall, defund Planned Parenthood, or attach controversial riders. Democratic leaders in the Senate have threatened to shutdown the government if such funding, or language, is included in the appropriations bill.
 
While Congress has made progress on FY 2017, both House and Senate staff (and both Democrats and Republicans) report that they "are as much in the dark on FY 2018" as everyone else. There are reports that release of the administration's budget will be delayed until June. We do know that the budget caps for FY 2018 are set in law and that the FY 2018 cap is several billion dollars below this year's level. This means that without another bipartisan budget agreement to raise the caps on spending there will be continued downward pressure on non-defense discretionary spending, which is already at historic lows as a percentage of gross domestic product.
 
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "2018 will be the eighth straight year of austerity in NDD [non-defense discretionary] appropriations. The 2018 cap is scheduled to fall by almost $3 billion relative to the prior year's cap reflecting the imposition, for the first time, of full sequestration cuts, because the most recent bipartisan sequestration-relief agreement expires after 2017. Cumulatively, this cut will bring the non-defense cap 16 percent below the comparable 2010 level, after adjusting for inflation."
 
 
A similar budget proposed in FY 2016 ran into difficulty in Congress because it did not cut enough for some and cut far too much for others. There is ample evidence that the cuts proposed by the Trump administration will again face some skepticism in Congress. For example, Hal Rogers, former chair of the House Appropriations Committee issued this statement:
 
"While we have a responsibility to reduce our federal deficit, I am disappointed that many of the reductions and eliminations proposed in the president's skinny budget are draconian, careless, and counterproductive. In particular, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has a long-standing history of bipartisan support in Congress because of its proven ability to help reduce poverty rates and extend basic necessities to communities across the Appalachian region. We will certainly review this budget proposal, but Congress ultimately has the power of the purse. As the full budget picture emerges in the coming weeks, I am optimistic that we can work with the administration to responsibly fund the federal government, including those agencies which serve as vital economic lifelines in rural parts of the country that are still working to overcome substantial challenges."
 
Senator Lindsey Graham specifically referred to proposed cuts in foreign aid, "It's dead on arrival - it's not going to happen. It would be a disaster."
 
According to Reuters, "Moderate Republicans expressed unease with potential cuts to popular domestic programs." Lisa Murkowski, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, attacked plans to cut or eliminate programs that help the poor pay heating bills, provide aid for localities to deal with wastewater, and subsidize air travel in rural areas like her home state of Alaska. "We need to remember that these programs are not the primary drivers of our debt," Murkowski said.
We do have some evidence that members of Congress are increasingly concerned about spending levels for education and workforce programs. We have met with several members of the House and Senate Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations subcommittees and all expressed support for these programs, recognized the need to invest in America's workforce, and emphasized the need for American workers to have the education necessary to compete with workers elsewhere in the world. Several, in particular, cited the need to better educate workers in rural areas. Others referred to the results of PIAAC studies, which show younger workers in the U.S. near the bottom in international comparisons.
 
What You Can Do
 
COABE and the state directors of adult education have launched a joint public awareness campaign called "Educate and Elevate: An Investment in America's Future" that says "America is at a crossroads. We need every person in our nation ready to contribute to America's competitiveness."
 
You can learn more about the campaign and how to participate by going to the COABE web site and following the prompts. Teachers and students can go to HERE to write a letter or make a call to their elected officials to support the campaign.
 
Representative state directors were on Capitol Hill last month to "Educate and Elevate" and explain the importance of adult education to our nation's future.
 
The COABE Hill Day will take place on April 26, where we will meet with Secretary Betsy DeVos and a number of legislators. Almost 50 state-level leaders in adult education will be on the Hill visiting with members of the House and Senate to promote this message that, "Investing in adult education is good for the economy."
 
The House is on recess the week of May 8 and again the week of May 29. The Senate is on recess the week of May 29. These are opportunities to educate members of Congress on the importance of adult education by inviting them and their staffs to visit programs and participate in recognition ceremonies, as well as extending invitations for members to attend and speak at graduations.
COABE's Legislative Center is generously sponsored by ETS® HiSET®.
 
 
 
 

Monday, April 10, 2017

LAO Overview on Adult Education

Posted from OTAN News:

LAO Provides Overview of Adult Education  

Posted on 04/10/2017

The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal advisor, issued a report to the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Education, which provided an overview of adult education in California. The report provided background and an assessment of the adult education program including key policy issues that remain unresolved.
According to the report, school districts and the California Community Colleges (CCC) are the main providers of adult education in California. The state restructured its adult education system in 2013-14 due to historical fragmentation between school districts and the community colleges. The new system made the following structural changes:
  • Created 71 regional adult education consortia of school districts and community colleges in collaboration with other stakeholders
  • Provided funding to develop and implement regional adult education plans
  • Eliminated the K-12 adult education categorical program and folded funds into the Local Control Funding Formula
  • Requires the California Department of Education (CDE) and CCC to make recommendations on aligning student assessments, adopting a common student identifier, and developing consistent fee policies across providers
  • Requires the CCC Academic Senate and Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) to make recommendations on establishing teacher reciprocity policies between school districts and CCC
  • Requires each consortium to develop and update a three-year regional adult education plan
  • Requires CDE and CCC to report annually on consortias’ regional plans, types of service, and funding allocations
The report highlights the additional funding that continues to support adult education, including the state apportionment funding for CCC, federal funds from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and the Carl D. Perkins and Technical Education Act, and fees that are charged by school districts and the CCC.
In assessing the progress of the adult education restructuring, the LAO has found that some consortia are more effective than others in redistricting and coordinating services, that the 2015-16 CDE and CCC annual report fell short of meeting statutory requirements, such as program outcomes and effectiveness, and that the following key policy issues remain unresolved:
  • CDE and CCC laid out options for aligning assessment, data, and fee policies, but did not make any recommendations to the Legislature
  • CCC Academic Senate and CTC laid out options for establishing teacher reciprocity, but did not make any recommendations
  • To date, the Legislature has not taken action to align policies in these areas
The CDE and CCC report that they will convene workgroups in late spring to try and build consensus on recommendations for the unresolved policy issues and that they expect to implement a performance reporting system linking data from school districts, the CCC, and the Employment Development Department by 2017-18.
To access the LAO’s report go to http://www.lao.ca.gov/Publications/Detail/3628.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

CCAE Educate and Elevate Campaign

To: All CCAE Members 
 
Re: COABE and State Directors National Campaign to Save Adult Education
 
 
The website (HERE) has been established by COABE as a joint effort between the State Directors of Adult Education and COABE to prevent any cut to adult education funding at the federal level. As you know the first Trump budget proposal for FY18 has contained a 13.5% reduction for our programs.
 
There are now multiple options available for all of us to meet the goal of 600,000 contacts with members of Congress on this issue. The request still is for each person to make three contacts:  their two US Senators and their member of the US House.
 
Students, teachers, and administrators can send prepared letters or make phone calls directly to their legislators.

Alternatively, hand written letters can also be sent by students detailing
their adult education experience (why they enrolled, what they are planning on doing when they finish, and the message DO NOT CUT FUNDING FOR ADULT EDUCATION).  
 
The contacts lists from both organizations are allowing us to reach approximately 55,000 adult educators and approximately 1.5 million students. If each of the 55,000 makes the requested contacts we will be about 25% of the way to our goal of 600,000. With the remaining 450,000 coming from students and friends of adult education we can win this fight.
   
Again thank you for your commitment to this effort on behalf of our students.

 


   
 

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.