Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Two Don't Miss Webinars on the Adult Ed Budget

Two don't miss webinars on the Adult Ed Budget:

1.  Thursday, January 29th at 4 pm   CCAE webinar on the State Budget and Adult Ed.

"We will be hosting our third webinar this Thursday, January 29th at 4 p.m. in order to provide an update on the Governor's FY 15-16 Budget for adult education.   Our Legislative and Governmental Budget Advocate Dawn Koepke will be discussing the latest insights on the state budget discussions and next steps for action to protect K-12 Adult Schools. 
     
We look forward to speaking with you about the Governor's Budget proposal, our perspectives and key issues, and discussing our next steps to protect K12 adult schools.  Register today!"

Click here for a link to register and participate


2.  Friday, January 30th at 12 noon AB86 webinar on the State Budget and Adult Ed - with DOF! - the Department of Finance.

For this week's webinar on Friday, January 30th, the Department of Finance will be presenting on the budget for Adult Education and will be answering your questions.  The webinar is at 12:00PM to 100PM and it will be recorded and posted to ab86.cccco.edu Please visit us at ab86.cccco.edu or see below for directions on how to connect to the webinar. 

How to Connect:
  • Dial your telephone conference line: (888) 886-3951
  • Cell phone users dial: 913-312-3202
  • Enter your passcode: 153705
  • Go to http://www.cccconfer.org/index3.aspx
  • Click the Participant Log In button under the Meet and Confer logo
  • Locate your meeting and click Go
  • Fill out the form and click Connect

And just for kicks, check out this post to see how far we've come in a year:

Look Three Ways:  January 29, 2014 Hearing on Adult Ed

Friday, January 16, 2015

1/15/15 Update on Berkeley Adult School

An update about the situation at Berkeley Adult School from the Berkeley Adult School Facebook page.  (For the backstory on the situation, see this AEM post or this Berkeleyside article.)


Some of the more than 100 supporters of the
Berkeley Adult School at the board meeting.
Photo: Seung Y. Lee
The immense support, letter writing, social media/blog posting, phone calls and participation in various meetings from friends of BAS recently have been received by our Board and it is important that we continue to advocate for our programs, to organize to inform and have a presence at meetings, write letters, and invite Board members to visit. We are moved and grateful for the unified support of ...our school particularly from our staff. Local stakeholders have written letters, made phone calls and spoken at meetings. At Wednesday evening's Board meeting, Superintendent Evans said "We're not in a position to talk about long-term solutions." While the Superintendent's recommendation to re-purpose our site as an elementary school has been postponed, it remains one of two long term solutions, the other to build a new elementary school at the Oregon Street property. In mid-February, the Superintendent's staff will be looking at projected enrollment for Fall 2015 and determining which elementary schools need new modular classrooms as a temporary solution. If elementary enrollment continues to increase we may have to face the possibility that our advocacy turns to keeping us whole and finding a new location. 

Students and faculty from Berkeley Adult School
stand and hold signs in solidarity
 against relocation of the school at Wednesday’s board meeting.
Photo: Seung Y. Lee

 Adult Education is a tool for social justice and like other worthy causes, we need to always highlight the good work we do by informing our Board, District staff, and legislators, asking the press and public to come and write about who we serve and how we do it, attend and participate in school district meetings, engage our students to work with us and stay in the limelight. BAS staff will be focusing our attention on alternative solutions for our Board to consider other than spreading our classes through the district and the value of the investment in keeping us whole. 
 
There will be a town hall style meeting in mid-February regarding the future of BAS, please stay tuned for details and plan on attending if you can.

Thank you for your support.

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Please see the AEM post, "All Out for Berkeley Adult School" for a full list of resources, contact info, media coverage, etc.  That post will be continuously updated.

 

Edsource: "Governor's Proposed Budget Called "A Gift" to Adult Education."

From Edsource:

Governor’s proposed budget called “a gift” to adult education

Liv Ames for EdSource
Marco Estrella, right, and Yu Liu practice English in an ESL class at San Mateo Adult School.
The governor’s proposed budget, unveiled last week, allocates $500 million for an Adult Education Block Grant, with a provision that existing K-12 adult ed programs be funded for another year.
The new funding allows more time for recently formed local consortia of adult schools, community colleges and other organizations that serve adults to determine what programs their communities need, how they will be funded and who is going to provide them.

K-12 adult schools have been fighting for survival since the recession, when school districts were allowed to use funding formerly dedicated for adult schools for any educational purpose. Many districts, trying to minimize cuts to their K-12 programs, took advantage of this new flexibility and eliminated or severely cut funding to their adult schools.

To stop the decimation of the state’s adult ed programs, the governor and legislators in the 2013-14 budget required districts that still had adult programs to maintain them for two years. If the governor’s current proposal is enacted, adult programs will have direct, dedicated state funding.
Debra Jones, dean of career education practices at the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, calls what is outlined in the budget “a gift to adult students.”

“I never dreamed I would see dedicated funding for disenfranchised adults,” Jones said. “We’re celebrating. Overall, this is pretty special.”

Adult schools provide free or low-cost classes to Californians who are too old for K-12 schools but not academically prepared for community college, or who don’t qualify for skilled jobs. They serve immigrants, the unemployed, disabled adults, high-school dropouts and ex-offenders reentering society.
“I never dreamed I would see dedicated funding for disenfranchised adults,” said Debra Jones, dean of career education practices at the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. “We’re celebrating. Overall, this is pretty special.”
Without dedicated funding for the next year, adult school administrators and teachers were concerned that their schools would close as districts focused their funds on K-12 students. They were also worried that the newly formed consortia – 70 statewide – which have been meeting for about a year, were not yet ready to fully function.
Hessam Ghajar, a recent immigrant from Iran, practices English with classmates in a San Mateo Adult School class.
Liv Ames for EdSource
Hessam Ghajar, left, and Takeshi Naoi practice English with classmates in a San Mateo Adult School class.
“For the first time in decades, community colleges, county offices of education and school districts have been having meaningful conversations about what adult programs should look like,” said former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, who was head of the Assembly Education Committee until the current legislative session began. “We need to build on the work that has been done and then have a thoughtful implementation process to really deliver an effective program.”

The Department of Finance does not know exactly how much of the $500 million will go to preserve current programs, though estimates by adult school providers put the figure at around $300 million. The remaining $200 million or so funds will be given to the consortia to be used for programs and support services, such as child care or career counseling. Only 5 percent can be used for administration.

One issue the consortia will have to grapple with is limited funding to meet the needs of adult learners throughout the state, Jones said. Before the recession, K-12 adult schools were getting $723 million in state funding, she said. In addition, many areas of the state, particularly rural counties, had never had K-12 adult ed programs. The 70 consortia now cover the entire state.
Jones said the Department of Finance made no promises regarding funding beyond the 2015-16 school year. But, she said, finance officials did say it probably would not be less than $500 million in the future.

In his budget, Gov. Brown states that state-funded adult education programs should include basic reading, writing, math, and other elementary and high school classes. They should also include citizenship and English as a second language classes, he said. In addition, adult ed should provide programs for adults with disabilities, apprenticeship programs and short-term, career-technical classes that provide skills in high demand, he said.

Former adult ed priorities under state law, such as older adult programs and parent education, will not receive direct state funding. Supporters have argued that parent education programs are key to involving parents in their children’s education. Under the Local Control Funding Formula, the new state funding system for schools, districts must meet eight priorities, one of which is parent involvement. Supporters of older adult programs say that as baby boomers retire, the need for programs to keep seniors active and mentally alert will grow.
Patricia Brown teaches English as a second language at San Mateo Adult School.
Liv Ames for EdSource
Patricia Brown teaches English as a second language at San Mateo Adult School.
The 2015-16 budget also lays out how the consortia are expected to work. The chancellor of the community colleges and the state superintendent of public instruction will jointly allocate funds among the 70 consortia. In an information session with Department of Finance officials, Jones was told the funds will be distributed based on existing programs, unmet need and performance. More funding is supposed to be channeled to the areas with the greatest needs, echoing the priorities under the Local Control Funding Formula, which gives districts more funds based on the percentages of English learners, low-income students and foster students they serve.

“As with the LCFF for children, allocating more money to areas where there is more need is an excellent idea that has the potential to promote an educational system that is more fair and provides students who stand at a disadvantage with more opportunities to succeed,” said Kristen Pursley, an adult ed teacher with West Contra Costa Adult Education, in a blog about the governor’s plan.
Each consortium will form an allocation committee consisting of seven members – one each from community colleges, K-12 districts, other adult education providers, local workforce investment boards, county social services departments, correctional rehabilitation programs and one public member with relevant expertise. These committees will develop education plans for their consortia and determine which programs will be funded.

Each year, the allocation committees will send a report to the chancellor and state superintendent describing how well they have met the goals in their plans.
Developing an entire new structure and working together to determine which organizations will provide various classes creates a lot of challenges, said Karen Arthur, an Oxnard Adult School teacher. “The allocation committees have a heck of a lot of power.”

Pursley said the proposal leaves a lot of questions unanswered, and its success will depend a lot on the committee members and how well they work together.

The consortia approach is likely to function better, educators say, if communities have worked well together in the past. San Mateo Adult School, for example, has had several years of experience collaborating with community partners through ALLIES, a coalition of community colleges, adult schools and community-based organizations in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Supported by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and with the help of a federal Workforce Innovation grant, the initiative began in 2011 to help the area’s immigrants get the education and support services they needed to find well-paid jobs and careers.

Tim Doyle, Assistant Director at San Mateo Adult School
Photo Credit:  Liv Ames for Edsource

“In some consortia, there is more overlap and more tension between community colleges and adult schools,” said Tim Doyle, assistant director of the San Mateo Adult School. “Here there is much more coordination. The local community college doesn’t do much of what we do.”

Daniel Pec is a 28-year-old immigrant from Guatemala who attends San Mateo Adult School. He said even though both San Mateo College and the adult school offer ESL classes, the focus of the two programs is different. Pec is trained in computer science and expects to eventually go to college, but for now he needs to learn English and support his family.

“The community college is very expensive, and it is more book English,” Pec said, adding that he likes the adult school because he has a chance to practice the language, which has helped him in his job at a restaurant.

Jones said the goal is to align the work that adult schools and community colleges are doing to improve access for all students. For example, a student might learn medical transcription at an adult school and then take a medical technology class at a community college. Or in Pec’s case, after learning conversational English in adult school, he might go on to learn “book English” at the local community college.

“We need better pathways,” Jones said. “When people exit one program, they should be adequately prepared when they get to the next one.”

Pursley said that there are many things left to be decided, but adult schools can now “breathe a sigh of relief.”

“There is money for us, and a system is being put into place for ongoing funding,” she said. “Adult schools have a future, and it’s going to be interesting, to say the least.”

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

CCAE's Analysis of Brown's Budget: Stability

Here is CCAE Legislative Analyst Dawn Koepke's analysis of Gov. Brown's Budget Proposal.
 
FY 15-16 Budget Overview - "Stability"
By Dawn Koepke, CCAE Legislative Analyst

We've been anxiously awaiting news, having worked so hard to make meaningful headway with the Administration and Department of Finance (DOF) on the future of adult education.  All of that hard work culminated in the Governor releasing his FY 15-16 budget plan this morning that is workable and provides stability for K12 adult education when we need it most. 
 
All-in-all, the proposal provides $500 million Proposition 98 General Fund for a newly created Adult Education Block Grant, which the Administration is characterizing as an "integral component of the state's workforce development strategy."  The Block Grant will fund adult education programs in elementary and secondary basic skills; classes and courses in citizenship and English as a second language for immigrants; education programs for adults with disabilities; short-term CTE programs linked to occupations with high employment potential; and programs for apprentices.  These programs align with the AB 86 parameters and are intended to be aligned with the economic needs of each region, providing clear and accessibly pathways to in-demand jobs.  The program is intended to promote ongoing collaboration between different providers - K12 adult schools/school districts, community colleges, and other adult education providers in a region - and with organizations such as workforce investment boards, social services departments, and correctional rehabilitation agencies.
 
Of greatest importance to help ease the transition to an AB 86 regional approach, the proposal provides dedicated funding directly to K12 school districts in the amount of the districts' maintenance of effort for adult education to maintain current capacity.  While the proposal isn't perfect, this component was critically important and one of the key items we advocated heavily for to preserve current capacity as we make the transition.  Other details of the proposal were also pulled directly from our advocacy, including the Chancellor of the Community Colleges and the Superintendent of Public Instruction being required to jointly approve allocations of funds to each region based on those regions with the greatest adult education needs.  
 
In terms of the decision making related to funding, the Administration has been adamant about decisions being made at the local level within the consortia.  In this regard and in an attempt to ensure adult education programs are well coordinated and linked with the economic needs of their region, the Administration has proposed that each consortium designate an allocation board responsible for planning and allocating block grant funds.  More specifically, they envision each consortium forming an allocation committee consisting of seven members who represent community colleges, K-12 districts, other adult education providers, local workforce investment boards, county social services departments, correctional rehabilitation programs, and one public member with relevant expertise.  Each allocation committee would then coordinate with its regional partners to ensure the various funding streams are integrated - block grant funds, other K12 and community college resources, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act allocations, and other federal funds.  Each allocation committee will then determine how to allocate block grant funds for direct instruction, support services, and administration of its consortium (capped at 5%).  Future allocations will be distributed according to these allocation committees.  
 
While this allocation board/committee approach is different than what we had advocated for, its intent is to help level the playing field in the decision making process - another key issue we advocated for with DOF.  We recognize, however, that not all regions are created equal but believe strongly this is a good start from which to work from that recognizes K12 adult education as an equal partner in the future of adult education.  We'll clearly need to spend some time thinking about the board/committee, how it should operate, decision making processes, criteria, etc.  This will take some time, but is doable and the fact that we've worked so well with the DOF thus far provides great opportunity to lock the details of the proposal down in the coming months.
 
All-in-all, I feel like we've made tremendous progress. Keep in mind that just two years ago the Governor's January budget proposal proposed to shift all of adult education to the Community College system essentially eliminating K12 adult education.  Today, however, we are recognized as an important partner in the future of adult education and will retain our own standing.  This turn around did not happen by chance - with your help we've worked hard to ensure stability and a bright future for K12 adult schools.  And while I know that $500 million will not get us back to square one fiscally, it is certainly a good start for year one - especially with the dedicated maintenance of capacity funding to provide stability. 
 
As we work with DOF to fill in the details (not yet available), we urge you to continue to work in earnest with your consortium and keep us informed of that progress.  We'll certainly have more to say in the coming weeks and will be holding a webinar at the end of January to provide further detail.  Stay tuned for the formal announcement...
 
For more information, please see http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/fullbudgetsummary.pdf.
 
 

 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

SYAS Proposal Parsing Post

Save Your Adult School is an amazing blog written by Kristen Pursley, one of the founding members of COSAS, Communities Organized to Support Adult Schools.  The blog is always chock full of facts, insight, and analysis.

The most recent post is a phenomenal parsing of Governor Brown's new Budget Proposal for 2015-16.  Because I think the post is so valuable and helpful and want it to have the widest readership as possible, I asked permission to share it here.

So, with the permission of Kristen Pursley, here it is:

Hit the "read more" link to see it.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Governor Brown's Budget Proposal for Adult Education 2015-16

Here it is - Governor Brown's Proposed Budget for 2015-16.

It looks good for K12 Adult Schools.  3 key points:

*  For existent K12 Adult Schools, a year more of being funded at MOE (Maintenance of Effort) clause levels directly through their district for existent.

*  A block grant of 500 million dollars for Adult Education.  This money can only be spent on Adult Ed.

*  A new system of Local Allotment Boards which will decide how much each local school gets.

The AB86 Workgroup declares the proposal a victory for adult education students across California.

I'd say it's a victory, too - in numerous ways.

More on that and a full parsing to come in the future. 

For now, click here to read the full Budget Proposal Summary. 

The Adult Ed portion is copied below.  It begins on page 24 of the Summary.

Hit the "read more" link to see it.

Monday, January 5, 2015

First Step in the Dance: Brown's Budget Proposal

"May I have this dance?"
This Friday, January 9th, Governor Brown is expected to present his proposal for the 2015-16 budget.

The MOE - the Maintenance of Effort - Clause, which has been holding the K12 Adult School system up since flex broke it, ends June 30, 2015. 

Removing the MOE is like taking a cast off a broken leg.  What's underneath?  Something healed and solid, able to support the K12 Adult Education system?  Or an underfunded, broken system that will not be able to hold up its part of the new Regional Consortia delivery system?

Hit the "read more" link to learn more.