Sunday, October 19, 2014

October 2014: What's Next?

Upcoming events and things to think about in the Amazing Adventure of Stabilizing Adult Education and K12 Adult Schools: 

1.  CCAE Webinar - Thursday, October 23rd, 3:30 pm - the latest info and strategy ideas from CCAE - the California Council for Adult Education.  CCAE puts special focus on K12 Adult Schools - their future, their funding.

2.  CATESOL State Conference - Thursday, October 23 through Sunday, October 26 - Santa Clara.
Student Leaders from San Mateo Adult School will present a workshop on Student Leadership and Community Building on Friday at 3:30 pm.  Click here to see the full program.  The conference attracts people from around the state so it's a good chance to share ideas and information.  Friday evening folks interested in Adult Education will meet for dinner (location TBA).

3.  AB86 Webinar - Friday, October 24th, 12 to 1 pm.  This webinar will include an AB86 Summit Debrief.  What does the AB86 Workgroup consider the results of the Summit to be?  Find out at the webinar.

Additionally, you can see video from the AB86 Summit here (when they get that going).

And you can access material from the AB86 Summit here.

The summit was a very important event.  It was the first real chance for folks from around the state - both teachers and admin - to share ideas, concerns, experiences, information - in person and all together.  Much good came out of it.  I highly recommend you watch the video and look over the materials.

4.  Powerpoint from the Community College Academic Senate on Adult Ed and Non-Credit.  This powerpoint is a good look inside how the Community College folks are approaching the Regional Consortia process.  What is their perspective?  What are their concerns?  What are their ambitions?  I highly recommend you look at it.  To see it, go to the Resources page on the a4cas.org website and scroll down to the bottom of the page, in the Community College section.  Click on the link for the powerpoint. 

The Community College Academic Senate, in 2011, recommended that all Adult Education be delivered by the Community College system.  It's always a good idea to know what they are thinking about and advocating for.  They are a formal, recognized body with their own funding (which I am in the process of learning more about).   The K12 Adult School community has no equivalent.

5.  CTA State Council - October 24th to 26th.   CTA is California Teachers Association, the larger of the two major teachers unions in California.   Los Angeles is the biggest Adult School in California.  Their union - UTLA - is associated with both CTA and CFT.  CFT is California Federation of Teachers.  CFT had its State Council in September.

What does CTA think about Adult Education?  About K12 Adult Schools?  About the new Regional Consortia?  About funding - dual delivery or single stream through the Community College Chancellor's office?  What does CFT think?  Good questions - and if you are a member of one or both unions, you should be asking to find out.  More importantly, you should be speaking up to help decide the policy.

6.  Tuesday, November 4th - The Election.  Most important bit for Adult Ed:  State Superintendent.  The State Superintendent is the head of CDE - the California Department of Education - meaning, the boss of the K12 side of things. 

The current Superintendent is Tom Torlakson, who famously said, when Governor Brown wanted to put all Adult Ed inside the Community College system, "If ain't broke, don't fix it!"   Where does Torlakson stand on funding for Adult Education?  Dual Delivery?  Single stream through the Community College Chancellor's Office?  He hasn't said.  Which means we need to ask until he answers.

Running against against Torlakson is Marshall Tuck, the son of a retired Older Adults instructor at San Mateo Adult School.  Does that mean Tuck is a big fan of Adult Ed, K12 Adult Schools, and Older Adults programming?  Doesn't seem like it, based on what he's said and done.  Tuck is known as the former hedge fund manager who is a fan of charter schools.  But find out for yourself what Tuck does and doesn't want for Adult Ed and K12 Adult Schools by asking him.

Most politicians start out wanting to serve the public.  Many are pulled off course by the need for campaign money.  What is campaign money for?  It's for reaching voters.  If we do the reaching, they don't have the spend the money on sending us flyers that we throw in the recycling bin or buying ads on tv that we don't watch.  Call their campaign offices and ask them what they want for Adult Education and K12 Adult Schools.

If they want your vote, they can earn it by giving you answers.  They don't have to spend any money to tell you what they think.  It's a win-win for everyone.

If there's one thing I've learned in the Grand Adventure of Pushing for the Survival and Thrival of Adult Education, especially Community-Based K12 Adult Schools, while the Whole Country Thrashes and Shakes in a Struggle for Who Decides What Public Education Will Be and Who Pays For It and Who Will Benefit From It.... it's this:

It's our state.  It's our country.  It's our election.  These are our schools, our people, our future, our decisions.

And in some way, no matter how powerless we sometimes feel or in in part are, at the same time, we always have power.

The trick is remembering to use it.

Power = Responsibility = Choice.

What you choose to look into, learn about, ask about, speak about... this is your power.

How will you use it?

Your choices help determine what's next.

What do you choose?








Wednesday, October 15, 2014

CCAE Webinar October 23, 2014

CCAE - California Council for Adult Education - is planning another webinar.   Their August webinar included much helpful information.  This one will certainly hold the same. 

The scoop:
Date and time: Thursday, October 23, 2014 3:00 pm
    
Duration:1 hour 15 minutes
Description:
We will be hosting our second webinar to provide an update on the status of adult education activities in and around Sacramento as well as to check in with you in the field regarding your grassroots activity.

Our Legislative and Governmental Budget Advocate, Dawn Koepke, will be discussing the latest insights on the state budget discussions, obtaining feedback from you in the field on your activities, and discussing next steps for action to protect K-12 Adult Schools.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 






Tuesday, October 14, 2014

September 2014 Advice from Adult Ed Advocates in Montebello

The future for Adult Schools is uncertain.  Deciding where to put our energy next is not easy - let alone making progress in the chosen direction.  Adult Ed Advocates in Montebello always do a great job of pointing out choices.  Here's their September newsletter:


C  A  L  I  F  O  R  N  I  A
ADULT EDUCATION
A Newsletter on Adult Education in California
September 2014
 
DELIBERATIONS ON ADULT EDUCATION TRIGGER MAJOR ISSUES:
As the upcoming legislative session gets closer, major adult education issues are surfacing that require thoughtful analysis. The following are offered for initial review, and this is offered with the thought that others may also surface.

Level of 2015-16 Funding for Adult Education:
Prior to the 2009 flexibility authority, K-12 adult education received over $750 million that was restricted to the program. Since flexibility, about half of the funds have been swept for other district purposes. Now a critical question is what would be the right amount for 2015-16.

Seventy AB 86 regional adult education consortia are presently analyzing the need for adult education programs. The consortia work should result in a funding request in excess of any past amounts.  The AB 86 documents indicating statewide figures for adult education substantiates the need.  As examples, in California 7,322,792 adults lack a high school diploma and 15,728, 547 are classified as English learners. Assigning one adult education A.D.A. to each English learner would amount to over $37 billion.

2015-16 Funding from the State to the Local District:
Once an amount is determined, the next issue is how will the funds get to the local district. Should the funds go directly to the district or should they go to a consortium to be distributed to each district. K-12 adult education advocates prefer that the funds go straight to the district because of the following:
  • Avoids another level of bureaucracy
  • Keeps the adult education connected to the district and allows it to serve the needs of parents and credit recovery for high school students
  • Avoids conflicts with facility usage

Consortium Continuation, Parenting, Older Adults, and Closed Programs:
A number of other issues will need to be explored further within the context of a new adult education program.  Consortia participants need to analyze the consortia in terms of  how the work needs to continue with state support.  Districts and consortia need to advise on whether parenting and older adults programs have a future role in the program. Another topic that needs to be included is what should be done about district programs that were eliminated during flexibility.

WHAT TO DO? . . .
Visit your local legislators and their staffs, and also invite them to your programs. Inform them about your consortium activities and the great potential for increasing educational opportunities for adults.
Developed by Adult Education Advocates in the Montebello Community
 
Better put it on.


 
 
 
 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Letter to Governor Brown from High School Diploma Student William Gonzalez

Last Tuesday, September 30, "Red Letter Day,"  students all over California wrote letters to Governor Brown to share their experience at San Mateo Adult School, express their support for Adult Education, and advocate for Dedicated Funding for Adult Schools.  

San Mateo Adult School High School Diploma Student William Gonzalez shares his letter here:

Dear Governor Jerry Brown,

     This letter is in regards towards money for Adult School.  I am currently a student at San Mateo Adult School working on completing my high school diploma.  Coming to Adult School helps me finish and fully understand basic education, something I believe we all need to have accomplished.  For many of us it’s an escape route to a better future, so we won’t end up lost with no hope on the streets.  I have recently learned that education is very powerful and useful in so many ways, upon learning this information I have started preaching on the importance of education.

A new system for Adult Education has been established, the Regional Consortia System.  This system provides money for all Adult Education so that everybody in each individual program receives help that they need and want.  Having these budgets open and equally shared gives everybody a fair opportunity to receive the proper education we want.
We are a small program waving a flag asking for your help to keep our Adult School program open and fully budgeted.  It may not be as important keeping our schools open as oppose to Community Colleges because that’s where most of school budgets are going.  We need our school to continue standing to help myself and others strive for a better future.  We are a small but very powerful program.  This is the prep for so many getting us ready to take that bigger leap to higher education.  The awareness of keeping our school open is based on the importance of equal education opportunities.
What we need and are highly asking for is to keep our School open.  We feel safe and comfortable working here.  Our school is just as important as any other school.  I speak not only for myself but also for the students here at Adult School, investing in our program will be beneficial for mainly us, as well as you, and our community.  We ask of you fair budgeting to keep our school running and in return we give you students with the ambition for a better tomorrow, using knowledge and useful life skills to help the system.
Sincerely,

William Gonzalez
 





Thank you, William, for writing such a wonderful letter and being such a wonderful example of why Adult Education matters.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

AB86 Summit: Questions & Answers

Monday and Tuesday, October 6 and 7, there will be an Adult Education Regional Planning Summit

All AB86 Adult Education Regional Consortia were invited to send representatives to attend the AB86 Adult Education Regional Planning Summit on Monday, October 6, 10:30AM - 5:00PM and Tuesday, October 7, 8:00AM - 3:00PM at the Sheraton Grand in Sacramento (1230 J Street, Sacramento, CA).

The Summit will bring together Adult Education leaders from across the state to engage in a conversation about how to better serve the educational needs of adults in California.  Summit participants will have a chance to share what they’ve learned during this planning process and to learn of promising practices from their peers. The Summit will also provide an opportunity to contribute to the statewide adult education planning effort and to hear from legislators. Representatives from all 70 adult education regions as well as the State AB86 Work Group and Cabinet will be in attendance at the event.  
 
All plenary sessions will be live-streamed and recorded so that those who weren’t able to attend in person can listen in on the event.

Click here to see the agenda for a schedule of live streaming times.

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE AGENDA

There are many questions swirling around the new Regional Consortia system.  This summit is the chance to ask questions and share answers.

Before we think about questions for the summit, let's start with these questions:

* Is your Regional Consortia sending representatives? 

* Who are they sending? 

* How were those representatives chosen?

* Do you know what your representatives hope to do or find out at the summit?  Have you connected with them?  Have your shared your questions and concerns with them?

* Will your representatives share what they learn with you?   Does your Regional Consortia have good communication?  Is there a way you can find out what is happening and then share the information with others?

* If you don't know the answer to any of these questions, what can you do to get some answers?  And how can you improve the situation so there is better communication?

That is one set of important questions.

Now let's look at questions we hope are asked at the summit.

Here are some of my questions and some questions that others have shared with me:

* What - exactly - can AB86 do to ensure good behavior within the Regional Consortia?

* If AB86 (the Cabinet and the Workgroup) can't do much to ensure good behavior, who - exactly - can?

*  Many organizations, entities, and grassroots groups are advocating for Dedicated Funding for K12 Adults to ensure equity in the Regional Consortia.  What power does AB86 have - if any - to address this concern? 

* What can AB86 do - if anything - to address concerns about low-level learner needs being met in the new mission of Adult Education?   These concerns are well articulated by the Migration Policy Institute in this powerpoint.

* Many are not happy with the new mission of Adult Education, which is primarily a CCR - College & Career Readiness approach plus Disabled Adults.  Where can those of us who hope to reinstate state support for a broader mission go to advocate such? 

* State funding vacuums are invitations for privatization.  This quote from an Edsurge article epitomizes that:  "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."  How concerned is AB86 about privatization?  What power - if any - does AB86 have to address these concerns.  If AB86 does not have power, who does?

Got more questions?  Send them in an email to cyn and then dot and then eagleton and then the at sign and then gmail and then dot and then com and I'll add them to the list.

Mt Shasta, well-spring of the Mighty Sacramento,
with lenticular clouds



Friday, September 26, 2014

Adult Education: The Need for Dedicated Funding

From CATESOL News:

Adult Education: The Need for Dedicated Funding

Sep 22nd, 2014 | By | Category: Adult, Levels

By KRISTEN PURSLEY

—The current system of funding California’s adult schools sunsets at the end of this school year. After that, the future is uncertain. The only plan for funding adult schools after 2015 consists of a vague intention, stated in the 2012 state budget, to fund them through the regional consortia that include representatives of K-12–based adult schools and community colleges. All consortium funding would come through the Community College Chancellor’s Office. Supposedly some of the money would go to fund K-12 adult schools, but the amount of and delivery system have yet to be worked out.

The Legislative Analysts’ Office (LAO), in its 2012 report, “Restructuring California’s Adult Education System,” recommended that California’s adult schools be restored as a stand-alone categorical program in 2015, reasoning that such funding was necessary to begin rebuilding California’s decimated adult schools; however, while the LAO’s suggestions drive much of the change now sweeping adult schools, there are no plans to reinstate categorical status for adult schools.

Adult school advocates have begun to call for dedicated funding for adult schools, either through categorical status as recommended by the LAO, or through some other plan yet to be developed. Without dedicated adult school funding, adult education in California may become far more inaccessible than it already is, and K-12 districts may lose the valuable support they receive from their adult schools.

Accessibility

Under the current plan, all money for adult education will be routed through the community colleges, and there are no requirements that some or any of the money must be spent on adult schools. There is nothing to prevent community colleges from spending the money on their own needs first, even to the point of starving the adult schools within their consortium area. Potentially, the devastation wrought by categorical flexibility could continue under another name, with adult schools continuing to close down, and adult education in California growing ever more unavailable from those who need it the most.

Adult schools are more accessible than community colleges, in part because there are more of them. California has about 300 adult schools. The state has about 112 community colleges, mostly in urban areas. Rural areas, if they are served at all, are likely to be served by an adult school. While all adult schools and community colleges are now joined in consortia, some of those consortia must cover vast areas. California’s three northernmost counties of Del Norte, Siskiyou, and Modoc have one community college among them, College of the Siskiyous. One of California’s largest counties, Inyo, has no community college. These counties are not very populous, but people live there, and they need educational services. How will their adult schools fare when their budgets are controlled by a community college far away?

Even in urban areas, adult schools are more decentralized within their service areas than community colleges. Adult school classes in K-12 schools, churches, community centers, and nonprofit organizations provide access to adult school students, who often have limited access to transportation. Even for those who do own cars, the parking fees at community colleges can be an insupportable expense. Students do not find this barrier at their adult school sites.

To maintain the accessibility adult schools provide, the state needs to commit to providing them with their own funding.

Support for K-12 Schools

Adult schools provide significant support to the mission of K-12 schools, and they need dedicated funding through the K-12 schools to continue the close relationship with their districts. Adult schools increase parent involvement in children’s schools and help parents develop the skills to support their children’s school success through English as a Second Language, Family Literacy, and Parent Education classes at school sites. Adult school High School Diploma, GED, and Adult Basic Education programs help school districts provide basic literacy to all Californians. If community colleges control adult schools’ purse strings, they might not see the value of programs that primarily support K-12 schools. Dedicated adult school funding would assure that adult schools could continue to provide vital support to school districts.

If all adult school funding comes through the community colleges, school districts may come to regard their adult schools as alien. This could threaten features of adult school programs that have long successfully supported K-12 programs, such as Family Literacy and ESL classes that meet at K-12 school sites. While the state has supposedly committed to an adult education system that includes both community colleges and adult schools, the lines between the two systems are significantly blurred when all the money comes through one system.

Finally, the state needs to establish clarity regarding its intentions toward adult schools. The lack of dedicated funding for adult schools gives rise to the suspicion that the state’s support for adult schools is an illusion, and that the consortia are simply a slower and less obvious route to the governor’s original plan to make community colleges the single provider of adult education in the state. If all the money comes through one system, in what sense do we actually have two systems? The people of California have demonstrated their support for adult schools; only through dedicated funding can the state assure that adult schools will survive.

For more information about dedicated funding for California’s adult schools, see:

http://www.lao.ca.gov/Publications/Detail/2672
http://www.ccaestate.org/legislativenews.html
http://adulteducationmatters.blogspot.com/
www.a4cas.org

image of kristen pursleyKristen Pursley is the Adult Level assistant chair of CATESOL.
She works at West Contra Costa Adult Education.
She authors the Save Your Adult School Blog and is a long-time member of COSAS - Communities Organized to Support Adult Schools.

Monday, September 22, 2014

National Adult Ed & Fam Lit Week 2014: More Facts & Stats

From World Education:

Adult Ed Facts 

(Download these adult education facts)                   

What Is The Adult Education System?

The adult education system refers to programs across the US that offer instruction ranging from basic literacy and numeracy and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) to high school diploma equivalency, and college and career readiness.

Need: In the US, over 30 million adults do not have a high school diploma and 20% of US adults with a high school diploma have only beginning literacy skills. The US ranked 21st in numeracy and 16th in literacy out of 24 countries in a recent assessment of adults' skills.i Two-thirds of U.S. adults scored at the two lowest levels of proficiency in solving problems in technology-rich environments. Yet, the publicly funded adult education system is able to serve only slightly over 2 million young and older adults per year.ii There are waiting lists for classes in all 50 states.iii Current funding cannot begin to meet the need.

Providers: Adult education programs operate as free-standing organizations or as part of school districts, community colleges, municipalities, multi-services centers, libraries, faith-based organizations, housing developments, workplaces, and unions. Instruction is delivered by mostly part-time teachers and volunteer tutors.

Teacher Preparation: Given that the majority of adult education teachers do not receive pre-service training beyond an orientation, in-service training is critical to ensure high quality services.

Funding: The national, average annual expenditure per adult learner is around $800. By contrast, the national, average annual per-pupil expenditure on public elementary and secondary education nationally is over $10,000. Adult education programs receive less than 10% of the amount of federal, state, and local funding that goes to K-12, and less than 5% of what is spent to support higher education.iv

Who Are The Adult Learners?

Working Poor or Those Looking for Work: In 2010-11, 41% of adults enrolled in adult basic education were unemployed and 31% were employed; the rest were not in the labor force.v Enrollments in adult education have skyrocketed across the nation during the recession as adults are laid off and unable to find new jobs.

Youth: Every year, over three million youth drop out of school.vi They join the 6.7 million youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither enrolled in school nor participating in the labor market.vii When they decide to complete their education, they enroll in adult education.

Immigrants: By 2030, nearly one in five US workers will be an immigrant.viii English Language Learners are a rapidly growing population across the nation.

Parents: Most adult learners are parents and primary caregivers of school-age children. Many are motivated to return to school by wanting to serve as better role models for their children and help their children succeed in school.

ADULT EDUCATION IS AN ECONOMIC IMPERATIVE FOR INDIVIDUALS AND THE NATION.

A robust adult education system is an economic imperative for the economic prosperity of individuals and the nation. The US is falling behind other countries and cannot compete economically without improving the skills of its workforce. High school graduates and dropouts will find themselves largely left behind in the coming decade as employer demand for workers with postsecondary degrees continues to surge.

Adult Education Helps Children and Families Thrive.

One in four working families in our country is low income, and one in every five children lives in poverty.xiv Studies have concluded that programs designed to boost the academic achievement of children from low income neighborhoods would be more successful if they simultaneously provided education to parents.

Adult Education Strengthens Communities and Democracy.

People with more education earn higher incomes and pay more taxes, which helps communities to prosper. They are less likely to be incarcerated and more motivated and confident to vote and make their voices heard on questions of public policy.