Saturday, May 18, 2019

CFT Local 4681 Letter to Governor Newsom: Increase Funding for Adult Education - Adult Schools!

May 14, 2019

From:  CFT Local 4681, San Mateo Adult School Federation of Teachers

Re:  Funding for Adult Education - 110 Million Increase Needed Now

Dear Governor Newsom,

We are the teachers of San Mateo Adult School Federation of Teachers, California Federation of Teachers Local 4681.  We provide Adult Education to the central and eastern part of San Mateo County: English as a Second Language, Career Tech Education, GED, High School Diploma, Citizenship, Parent Education, Older Adults and Community Integration programs.

You left Adult Ed out of your budget and May Revise thinking, understanding, and increases.  You increased funding for Community Colleges - maybe in the mistaken idea they are the main providers of Adult Education. They are not.   

Adult Schools are the primary providers of Adult Education in California.  In the relatively new Regional Consortia system, Adult Education, county by county, is delivered through the coordination of Adult Schools and Community Colleges.  In a very few places - such as San Francisco - the main provider is the Community College. In most places, it is Adult Schools.

Adult Schools have been grossly underfunded since 2009 when the Global Financial Crash spurred Governor Schwarzenegger to flex categorical funds and allow K12 districts to use Adult Ed funding to survive the recession era cuts.

Prior to 2009, Adult Ed in California was funded at 750 million. Now it is funded at roughly 500 million - even though there are more people to serve and this money must now fund some non-credit Community College programs if they are part of the Regional Consortia delivery system for Adult Ed.

California - as you know - is the 5th largest economy in the world.

It is also 17th in income inequality.

We have the means to address the problem of income inequality - and Adult Education is a crucial part of the solution --- IF Adult Ed is adequately funded.

Your May Revise provided millions in a special program to support undocumented students and staff at Community Colleges.  Wonderful! But did you know that our system - Adult Schools - is mandated to NEVER ask about immigrant status - whereas the Community College can and often does?  We have many undocumented students. We can’t give you an exact number - because we are not allowed to ask! But we wager we have more than the Community College system.  If you want to help undocumented students and immigrants, you must fund Adult Education!

We know you understand the importance of families and communities. We do, too!   No teacher or school or institution can replace family or community. Mother’s education level remains the best predictor of child success.

Alt Text:
Button with hand holding a pencil in a raised fist
"Adult Education Matters"
More than any other branch of public education, Adult Education upskills, empowers, and strengthens the most vulnerable parents, families, and communities.

We have been underfunded for over ten years!
Do the right thing - and increase the budget for Adult Education by 110 million dollars!


Cynthia Eagleton, CFT Local 4681 Vice President
The teachers of San Mateo Adult School, SMAS Federation of Teachers

San Mateo, CA 94401

Monday, April 29, 2019

Contact Key Legislators to Ask for Increase in Funds for Adult Education

California is one of the biggest and strongest economies in the world - but funding for Adult Education still lags behind the funding it received prior to the global financial crash of 2008-09.  

For more on that topic and why now is the moment to ask for adequate funding, go here.
Alt text:  "Now" with clock at center

This is the moment.

Gather together with students, staff and community members.

Reach out to key legislators who sit on the Budget Subcommittees and to the Chairs of the Budget Committees to ensure they understand the importance of adequately funding Adult Education. 

Tell them why it is so important to fund Adult Education - what it does - and what it can do with adequate funding.

Here is a list of legislators important to contact.  Click on the link to find their contact information.  Send letters to their Sacramento office if you don't live or work in their district.

Senator Holly Mitchell, Senate Budget Committee Chair

Senator Jim Nielsen, Senate Budget Committee Vice Chair

Senate Budget Subcommittee #1 on Education
Senator Richard Roth (Chair), Senator Connie Leyva and Senator Mike Morrell


Assembly member Phil Ting, Assembly Budget Committee Chair

Assembly member Jay Obernolte, Assembly Budget Committee Vice Chair

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Tell the Governor and Your Legislators: California Needs Adequate Funding for Adult Education

It's time.

California is the 4th biggest economy in the world.

And it is 17th most unequal "nation" on earth.

Adult Education has what California needs to serve the people who grind to give it power.

Adult Education holds keys  - civic, social, economic, educational - to address the challenges we face:  climate change, income inequality, social injustice, among others ---  if it is adequately funded.

Tell Governor Newsom and your legislators:  Adult Ed needs adequate funding.

Here's information to help you:

(Note:  If you use a screen reader and need this information in text, please DM via Facebook and I will provide for you.)

From Adult School Teachers United: Open Letter to Governor Newsom re Adult School Funding

Adult School Teachers United represents the teachers of West Contra Costa Adult School.  Here is their letter to Governor Newsom (posted with permission from Kristen Pursley's Save Your Adult School blog):

Open Letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom re Adult School Funding

Adult School Teachers United
P.O. Box 1115
11135 SAN pABLO AVE.
EL CERRITO, CA 94530-9998

Governor Gavin Newsom
C/O State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Newsom:
Adult School Teachers United, representing adult school teachers in the West Contra Costa Unified School District, respectfully urges you to include increased funding for California’s adult schools in the 2019-2020 budget. We applaud the increases in spending on education in the proposed budget, particularly the increase in spending on the youngest children. However, we were very disappointed to see that there was no increase in funding for adult schools, which are severely underfunded and have not received an increase in funding since 2008. California’s adult schools provide basic literacy and low-cost job training for the most vulnerable adults in the state: immigrants who need to learn English, adults who need to earn a high school diploma or the equivalent, and adults with disabilities. Our students are frequently low-income because their lack of basic literacy shuts them out of better paying jobs. Because job prospects for our students improve dramatically as they reach their potential, an adequately funded, thriving adult school system is key to the economic health of the state. Adult schools also provide an important support for children, especially children in low-income families, because as parents become more educated, outcomes for their children improve in a variety of ways.
California has a vast need for adult education that has never been met. According to the last U.S. Census, about 5.3 million adults in California, about one-fifth of the population, are in need of basic literacy services. In the best of times, California’s adult school and community college systems combined have only served about 1.5 million. During the Great Recession, both adult schools and community colleges lost funding, and both systems lost capacity to serve adult students. Adult schools were particularly hard hit; some closed their doors entirely. Since 2013, funding for community colleges has been restored, while funding for adult schools, which were even harder hit by the recession, has remained flat. The failure to increase funding for adult schools has not only prevented them from regaining their former capacity, but also locked in inequities because adult schools in low-income communities were frequently hit harder by cuts than adult schools in more affluent areas. For example, before 2008 Oakland had an adult school system that served 25,000 students. They had several adult school buildings in different parts of the city, enabling them to serve students in the neighborhoods where students lived, worked, or sent their students to school. Oakland currently has 11 classes and shares a building with a high school. They have never been able to restore even a fraction of their capacity.
California needs a robust adult school system. Not every community is close to a community college, but every community has a school district and thus the capacity to have an adult school. California has a large immigrant population that needs to master the English language. Adult schools have been providing English language instruction for immigrants since the 1850s, and still provide more English language instruction than credit and non-credit community colleges combined. Adult school teachers are professionals who must earn a credential in order to teach. We know how to do the job and have been doing it for a long time. We need adequate funding that matches the importance of our contributions.

Since 2013, state funding for adult schools has been distributed to the Adult Education Consortia. A portion of the consortium funding was dedicated to the adult schools in the consortium, based on what adult schools were receiving from their districts in 2013. This is the amount that needs to be increased. Our community college consortium partners have funding independent of the consortium; in fact, the vast majority of their funding is not tied to the consortium. But adult schools are almost entirely dependent on the consortium funding, and their portion never gets an increase. This is an untenable situation, as costs keep going up, and the adult schools continue to lose capacity as they struggle to keep up with rising expenses. In order to be true partners with the community colleges, adult schools need that measure of security and autonomy that comes with adequate and fair funding.
Adult schools could be doing so much more for the state of California with improved funding. A 2011 California Department of Education study found that the return on investment in adult education included not only economic benefits for the state and individuals, but also increased civic engagement including improved voting levels, more immigrants attaining U.S. citizenship, improved individual and family health, reduced recidivism and improvements in children’s education. These are all improvements that will contribute to stronger, more vibrant communities and, in the end, save the state money. Please consider increasing funding for California’s adult schools and unlocking our potential to bring the benefits of adult education to the state.
Adult School Teachers United

Kristen Pursley, President
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond
Senator Nancy Skinner
Assembly Member Buffy Wicks

From Pinole Progressive Alliance and Many Others: Open Letter to Governor Gavin Newsom re: Adult School Older Adult Programs

Posted on the Save Your Adult School blog and sent from the Pinole Progressive Alliance - and many others, including myself (Cynthia Eagleton) and the teachers of CFT Local 4681 (San Mateo Adult School): 

Open Letter to Governor Gavin Newsom re: Adult School Older Adult Programs

March 9, 2019
Pinole Progressive Alliance

Governor Gavin Newsom
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: Save Adult School Older Adult Programs
Dear Governor Newsom:
We are writing to request that the State of California find a way to fund adult school Older Adult programs. The cities of Richmond and El Cerrito are in danger of losing, as early as June, an adult school program that serves hundreds of older adults. Other cities may lose similar programs in the near future if something is not done soon. These highly effective and inexpensive programs are at risk because of a decision the California State Legislature made in 2013 to withdraw state funding for adult school Older Adult programs. Acting dishonestly and in bad faith, legislators promised to find other funding for these programs, but never did, leaving the programs in limbo. This is an injustice we hope your new administration will correct.
The programs at risk in Richmond and El Cerrito are the Christ Lutheran Senior Center, St. John’s Senior Center, and the Sakura Kai program for Japanese-speaking seniors. If these programs have to close down, it will be a loss to the community as well as to the students. Assumptions about aging often blind us to the contributions seniors can make with the proper support. Many of the students at Christ Lutheran Senior Center volunteer in the schools with programs like the Read Aloud and Writer Coach Connection. Through the Center, seniors find volunteer opportunities and access the support that helps them keep volunteering. Sakura Kai provides docents for museum exhibits on Japanese-American history in the Bay Area, and has several performance groups, including a Taiko drumming group, that perform at local schools and at community events.  If these programs close, their cultural resources will be lost to the community, while cities are left to deal with a more isolated senior population, and families will have to cope with the loss of a service that was helping their older relative stay healthy and independent.
Adult school programs for Older Adults are a good investment for the state. They combat isolation, which is one of the most serious challenges facing older Americans, and provide opportunities for socialization and mental stimulation that contribute to healthy aging. Studies have repeatedly shown that programs   where older adults learn new things, socialize, and stay active in civic life through volunteering and other opportunities actually save the state money by helping seniors stay healthy and active longer. Healthy, active seniors need fewer government services, and they also make significant contributions to their communities in the form of volunteer labor.

When the state eliminated funding for adult school Older Adult programs, many adult schools were forced to close those programs. But others, feeling an obligation to students they had served for years, found ways to keep their Older Adult programs open with whatever other funding they could find. This often required them to start charging at least some money for classes that had once been free, which put these much-needed services out of reach for low-income seniors. But the schools did their best to subsidize the programs as much as possible and make them accessible to as many elders as they could. Now some of these programs that were struggling are beginning to falter, and they, too, may be lost if the state does not remedy the situation.
Whatever the reason the state had for pulling the funding for adult school programs for seniors, it wasn’t really economic. Under state law, community colleges can still run similar programs with state funds, and these programs are more expensive than adult school programs because community college teachers make more money. Many community colleges do not have Older Adult programs, as they are primarily institutions of higher learning concerned with offering college level courses for credit. When an adult school has to close its Older Adult program for lack of funding, there is no guarantee that a nearby community college has a similar program, or is willing to start one. Even if a community college is willing to pick up an adult school Older Adult program, it is more expensive to break down an existing program and start a new one than to keep an existing program going.
Adult school advocates were told, at the time the state pulled funding for Older Adult programs, that the legislature did not think programs for Older Adults belonged in the education budget. Perhaps money would be found in the health budget. This seems to have been a dodge, since they never did anything, but simply left these programs to close or languish. Yet they left funding for Older Adults in the community college budget, which is part of the education budget. Californians deserve an education policy that is consistent and fair. We ask that funding be found for adult school Older Adult programs, and we feel that they should be part of the education budget, as they are for the community colleges. It is an insult to older Californians to suggest that they don’t deserve education, and that everything for seniors belongs in the health budget; to be old is not necessarily to be sick. Older people continue to learn, grow and contribute. California needs to invest in them and treat them like the assets they are.

Pinole Progressive Alliance
Consuelo Lara, Concilio Latino
Jessica Peregrina, Concilio Latino
Adult School Teachers United
Richmond Progressive Alliance School Action Team
Cynthia Eagleton, Adult School Teacher, San Mateo Adult School, Adult Education Matters Blogger
California Federation of Teachers CFT Local 4681, representing San Mateo Adult School teachers

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Words of Wisdom from SMAS Student Wendy Samayoa

Wendy Samoyoa served as 2017-18 Morning Student Council President
at San Mateo Adult School. At the 2018-19 Candidate Forum, she said
her farewells in a powerful speech which speaks to the value of Adult
Education not just at San Mateo Adult School but across our nation.
Here, with her permission, is her speech. Please read it and share.

Wendy Samoyoa
Farewells seem to always have a bittersweet flavor with
feelings that are intertwined, although their nature is different.
I feel sadness, satisfaction and also, a certain relief to be able
to transfer the responsibilities of the position because it’s time
for new leaders. But, above all, the feeling that gains the
most strength is, without a doubt, gratitude. Today culminates
an important period in my life, a period in which it was a privilege
and an honor to preside over this Student Council. It was a year
of commitment and, in turn, a year of projects, opportunities and
challenges, of hard work, meetings, strugglesfor the improvement
of student services, community work and professional
and human growth. I must admit that it was not easy to carry
out this task, but it was worth the effort and, in exchange, we
obtained achievements and agreements for the benefit of all
of us. As President of the 2017-2018 Student Council of the
San Mateo Adult School, I want to thank you for your support
and all the work you do every day so that adult education in San
Mateo is getting better and better.Thanks to the administration,
especially to Director Tim Doyle for welcoming us, for listening
to our complaints and supporting our activities. Thanks to
Stephanie Kriebel, our teacher adviser, for the trust and
responsibility placed in us, for her never-ending support. Thank
you to all the teachers and staff members who in different ways
always give their support. Thanks to those who with their work
and enthusiasm accompanied me in this adventure, because
they have believed in us and always supported us. Also, I would
like to acknowledge Vice President Jackie Lhereux and Secretary
Williams Avelino, who were key leaders in the work done and
who accompanied me in the quest for better student services.
I would also like to thank the representatives of each classroom,
for the work they did and for always showing up to participate
in our activities.For me it is very humbling to be in front of you
today; Being president of this school taught me something
important: believe in myself and believe in what we can
achieve together. This "faith" in us has materialized over
the course of a year, work that I have done with selflessness,
honesty and team effort.
During my time at this school, one of the areas that most
interested me was being able to collaborate in various activities.
The possibility of going with my colleagues to different experiences
allowed me to know the difficult realities in which we live day by day
and also to understand that adult education is the only transforming
force that can make a difference in many families. Beyond solidarity,
we need adult education to be the driving force of a country, so that
we all advance alone and achieve the merits, not thanks to the
charity of a few, but to our own work.We are not numbers nor are
we the results of a test; We are people who want to change the
world and for that we need tools that are not only learned in
classes, but with experiences that allow us to get out of the
bubble in which we live and open our eyes so that we can see the
reality of this country that today, more than ever, needs our
critical look as a starting point for real structural changes in the
country.I am talking with you as a student and partner committed
to generating a positive impact in our school. Today, this country
needs young people and adults who strive not only to be better, but
to offer their efforts for all and do it selflessly, and we are the ones
who have the tools to transform this country.
To you, the candidates. I wish you much encouragement and
strength in this new stage, and no advice because I know that
you are committed to yourselves and this school, and have the
vision, qualities and experience to carry on this journey. Know that
you can count on my support at any time.
It has been a pleasure for me to represent all of you and to be able
to work so that our vision is always within reach. I thank you all for
the support and I hope that my work has been to your liking and
that you will carry on this mission. The sky is not the limit!

Thank you, Wendy, for your service as a leader and for taking
the time to write this inspiring, empowering, and important speech
- and then share it with us.

After her speech, SMAS Student Council Adviser Stephanie Kriebel
presented Wendy with a special award from OTAN

Stephanie Kriebel and Wendy Samayoa
with OTAN award.
SMAS Director Tim Doyle in the background.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Results of Surveys about Possible Changes to Credentialing System for Adult Education

This Spring the Legislative Analyst Office recommended getting rid of the K-12 Adult School credential.  You can read more about that here.

I created a survey asking folks their thoughts on this entitled, "Keep, Change, Throw Away."  You can see that post and the survey here.

Results of survey intended for Adult Ed folks across the state of California

Results of survey intended for San Mateo Adult School teachers.

Be sure to click on "Responses" to read the details of what people think.

Two things seem clear from the surveys:

*  The credential system needs improvement

*  Many people in Adult Education do not feel their voice and ideas are heard or valued.

I do feel my voice is valued - and perhaps that is because I have engaged in so much advocacy work - including starting and running this blog.  But closer to the truth, I think, is that I started the blog and engage in advocacy work because I think our ideas and voices matter and have power.  Skills and organization amplify our voices and bring our ideas to the table.  How the larger conversations go depends on many factors - who else is at the table, how much our ideas threaten the status quo, what else is going on at the table and in the larger zeitgeist, etc.   But as we have seen over and over throughout history, skill, organization and commitment played as a long game have tremendous power.

Thank you to each of you who took the time to answer the survey.  Your voices and ideas make a difference and I will do my best to get them out there through these survey results. 

I was very late in taking the surveys, myself, in closing the survey, and now in sharing results due to my efforts to to keep shoes on my child's feet (said the shoemaker).  You can see I also bungled my responses in a way that doesn't misrepresent my views but make it a bit hard understanding them.

But finally!  Here they are!  The results!

Please take a look at them and consider the responses, ideas, views, etc. 

Discussion of this recommendation by the LAO to drop the Adult School credential went quiet this summer - but I am sure it will return.  We must be ready to engage in meaningful dialogue about the value of a credential in Adult Education. With facts and good ideas, we must push for what we think best serves the profession and our students.

- Cynthia Eagleton

Mom, blog author, ESL teacher at SMAS, vice-president of CFT Local 4681, sometime ball dropper.