Sunday, November 5, 2017

Adult Learners Cristina and Denise's Report from NPE 2017 Conference


Cristina Ulrich and Denise Carrasco are students at San Mateo Adult School.  They are currently in the GED and High School Diploma program, respectively, and formerly in the ESL program.  They both served as Student Leaders on the SMAS Student Council.  Cristina was Vice President of the Morning Student Council and Denise was President of the same.  They are advocates for Adult Education and Adult Schools and have attended and presented at numerous conferences, including regional and state CCAE conferences and the national AAACE conference.  Recently, they attended the Network for Public Education 2017 Conference in Oakland.  Here is their report:

Cristina, Denise, Cynthia
at NPE 2017

We are Cristina Ulrich and Denise Carrasco, former ESL students at San Mateo Adult School. For a long time we have been interested in adult education and student leadership, which are two of the reasons that have kept us helping and participating in the school´s activities. We are truly convinced that getting information about this area will help us to be better people, and to be well prepared in our future activities as students, parents, and professionals. We know that adult education has been affected in different ways, cuts on funds, closed schools, cuts on programs, and so. However, we have an opportunity to still show that adult school works for us in many ways. That’s why we decided to attend to the National Public Education Conference (NPE) 2017.

The conference was held on October 14th and 15th in Oakland, CA. The main topic was about the concern of fighting for public education against the privatization of education which is part of the new Trump administration. This experience was different than others where we had participated because this time we went as spectators not as presenters. We applied to present a workshop, but the organizers decided that our topic would probably be less interesting for people since the goal was to have as many people interested in the topic as possible. We understood the decision and decided to attend three workshops because we are aware of the importance of fighting for public education, and because we like to learn about how we can help our school.

The first workshop we attended was called “United We Stand Divided We Fall: Opposing Trump´s Education Agenda.” Our first thought was “if it is against Trump´s ideology we should go.” As a general idea, the group of panelists talked about the importance of being informed about what´s the idea of education for President Trump. We immediately thought about how many of our students know about this? How many know what kind of school his or her son or daughter is attending ? How many know who Betsy DeVos is?  How many know what's the difference between a charter school and a public school? There are several questions that, as immigrants, we almost never ask. First, because of the language as a barrier to get information. Second, because of the cost of life is too expensive that people are focused on surviving, and sometimes they don't have time to investigate other things. Third, because many times we have thought “oh if my daughter or son is taking classes in a school in the U.S it is ok.” We definitely need an answer to our previous questions. We need to be informed about public education and privatization of education. We will be affected by this one day. The panelist were asking for parents to spread the information because their children take classes mostly in public schools. Parents need to know the future of public education because this time, it’s not only about San Mateo Adult School, but also it’s about the school of our children.

The second workshop was called “Ed-Tech Today: Providing Hope and Opportunity or a Pathway to the Gig Economy for Tomorrow?” We really enjoyed this workshop. The general idea was to understand how affected are children by technology and innovation, as well what is the real purpose of the use of technology at school. As parents, we can think about giving a new device to our little ones because they deserved it. However, how many of the students who have children know about the time their children spend behind a screen at school? How many of the students know about School Loop, or Summit Learning Platform?  This workshop made us think about this. We know that we can´t stop technology, but we can control its use at home. The panelist explained that it is not about how technology can help our children succeed at school and life because technology has been training our children in order to know how to get information and preparation by using different software and devices, at school and home. In some high schools children use a computer instead of notebooks. We know that this topic could be an issue for some students, and for other students it is not. However, for those interested in learning more about the information in this workshop we share with you a link from one of the panelist, so you can read information in there.  https://www.scoop.it/t/educational-psychology-technology

The third workshop we attended was called “Building Parent Power for Education Justice.” We definitely end up loving this workshop. We wanted to bring the panelists with us to San Mateo Adult School to share the information we got which is something really important for parents and future parents. There was an association hosting the workshop, its name is PLAN (Parent Leadership Action Network). This association has been working mainly in Oakland, CA and its purpose was to share with the audience how they engage parents to work together as a community fighting for their rights and the rights of their children attending a public school. They have been asking for a better quality education especially for students of color. The panelists gave us information about how parents can work with their children´s schools. As we mentioned before, sometimes we are ok if our children go to a school in the U.S; however, we are still the main people responsible for our children. We have to participate in their school life.

Besides this wonderful idea of working with parents, this workshop gave us the idea of having something similar in our school. We should find a better way to communicate with teachers, administrators, student community, and student leaders in order to plan a strategy to defend our school, our right to have a public school where we can learn not only English as a second language, or to get a high school diploma, but also to be engaged with the community. Privatization is going to affect all of us. It is not something related to K-12 since we are part of public education. We think there should be more students involved in these kind of events. We need to raise our voices because we are the parents they were talking about. Our children are the children they said will be affected by these measures of President Trump. Our school is part of public education. Our teachers are part of the teachers affected by the abuse in the use of technology in the curriculum. We need to find the way to integrate our school in these kinds of workshop. We were declined, maybe because we were two adult students fighting for a place in the conference. We have the same purpose they do. We want to support our school. We know it’s not going to be an easy task, but at least we can try; who knows if the next time we will be giving a different speech in our report to the adult student community.

We had an incredible and unique experience attending this conference. We learned that our school is part of the public system, so we should be there in a workshop as well on the next time. We also want to invite other students to learn a little more about your school, and your children´s schools because there is more than the things you see. Finally, we want to say thank you to the teacher´s union for its support (CFT Local 4681). Thank you so much because you basically made possible this opportunity for us. Thanks to our director, Tim Doyle, because he is still believing in us. Thanks to Marina Kravstova for your support and ideas. Thanks to Cynthia Eagleton who has been teaching us much more than English. Especially thanks to our teachers during our pathway in San Mateo Adult School because of you we are able to express our thoughts.



Adult Learner voice and leadership is crucial to the success of Adult Education.  Thank you, Cristina and Denise, for attending the conference, providing us with this report, and doing the advocacy work you do - which has had a tremendous impact not only at our school but across the state.

Visit the Network for Public Education website for more information on some of the topics that Cristina and Denise discussed here.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

What If Everyone Who Could Became A Citizen?

Thanks to the work of the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, we have this map:

http://dornsife.usc.edu/csii/eligible-to-naturalize-map/

Via this map, we can see, in counties or regions, how many immigrants are eligible to become naturalized citizens - and their native country - and how their naturalization would increase the number of eligible voters in their district.

Providing citizenship classes is part of the mission of Adult Education in California.

Given what's happened to Adult Ed since the Big Crash of 2009 and how underfunded it remains, how available are citizenship classes in any given area?  How about in the areas of greatest need?  Or the areas where their citizenship would have the greatest impact in terms of civic engagement and voting?

Inadequate funding for Adult Ed = Inadequate access for citizenship classes.

If eligible immigrants could find a class and became citizens, how would that affect voting patterns - wins and losses - where they lived?

This map divides up the state primarily by county - partial, single or multiple.  The new California Adult Education Regional Consortium system in Adult Ed was set up by county.

So this map is a great way to see the potential impact of Adult Ed funding - adequate or inadequate - on voting.  And voting, not voting, and voter suppression - hopefully, we all know the impact of that!

For those who are just beginning to understand what's happening in Adult Ed, Adult Ed in California is funded primarily by the state.  Only a small portion of funding is federal.

How much does an awareness of that impact affect decisions of state legislators to fund or not fund or inadequately fund Adult Ed?

Who votes to adequately fund Adult Ed?  Who doesn't vote to adequately fund for Adult Ed?

Where do they live and who lives in their district? 

For example, if all eligible immigrants in Northeast Monterey County - the Salinas area - became naturalized citizens, that would be an 21.5 percent increase in number of voters in the area.  Big impact!

Who benefits from adequate funding of Adult Ed?  Who benefits from inadequate funding for Adult Ed?

Important questions.  Important map.

Check it out.

http://dornsife.usc.edu/csii/eligible-to-naturalize-map/

Network for Public Education Conference 2017

On October 15th and 16th, I attended the 4th Network for Public Education Conference, held this year in Oakland, CA, along with two Adult Learners, Critina Munoz-Ulrich and Denise Carrasco, an Adult School teachers, Kristen Pursley, and an Adult Education supporter (and retired community college instructor), George Pursley.  This was my third NPE Conference, having attended the first one in Austin, Texas in 2014 and presented along with Kristen Pursley and Bruce Neuburger at the second one in 2015 in Chicago.

George, Cristina, Denise, Kristen, Cynthia (myself)

As always, there is much to learn from, share, and digest from the conference.  I plan to slowly share some of what I learned in this blog and to post some writings from others who attended.  Videos from some of the conferences will be posted on the NPE website soon.

Adult Education is part of Public Education - but sometimes it feels as if we are seated at the "kid's table."   In truth, we are not only at the table, we are part of the table, holding up and stabilizing the other members with our contributions.

It is important that we attend conferences and belong to organizations that are not specific to Adult Education for two reasons:

1.  To bring our voices, knowledge and concerns to these usually larger discussions

2.  To learn from them and to bring back what we learn to the Adult Ed community

That takes time and effort we in Adult Ed sometimes don't have - given our struggles with funding and stability, new rules and regulations.  But we need to find the time and to support each other in participating in these conferences and organizations, including fundraising the attendance of teachers and students.  Students, in particular, need to be supported in attending these events.



Monday, September 18, 2017

CCAE: Write Governor Brown about SB 68 (Lara)

**Tell Governor Brown to Sign SB 68 (Lara) Today!**
 
As you may know, we have less than 12 hours left to go in the 2017 Legislative Session.  The Legislature has been on the Senate and Assembly Floor for the last two weeks working through hundreds of bills in preparation for adjournment this evening. By the time they adjourn, they will be sending hundreds of bills to the Governor for his signature by October 15th. 
 
One of the key bills CAEAA and CCAE have actively supported is SB 68 (Lara) related to postsecondary education and nonresident tuition exemptions. More specifically, the bill would modernize AB 540 (2001), thus enabling more students to pursue their higher education dreams, regardless of their immigration status.  It expands the AB 540 eligibility criteria for the exemption from paying nonresident tuition at California's public postsecondary institutions, in part, to include students who have two years of full-time enrollment at a CCC, up to three years of full-time enrollment at an adult school, and would allow the completion of an associate's degree or satisfaction of the minimum requirements to transfer to the UC or CSU, in lieu of a high school diploma.
 
The bill has passed both the Senate and Assembly and is now headed to the Governor's desk for his consideration.  CCAE and CAEAA have submitted a strong letter of support to the Governor, requesting his signature on the measure.  That said, his Department of Finance has an "oppose" position on the bill because it could expand exemptions from paying nonresident tuition to a significant number of students.  DOF argues that such an expansion would create budget pressures, including new General Fund obligations, when the Administration is seeking to pay down liabilities and grow the rainy day fund.  As you can imagine, such an oppose position could negatively impact the Governor's view of the measure when it is before him for consideration. 
 
That said, given his strong support for our immigrant communities, we remain hopeful that compassion and good policy - not fiscal issues - will save the day.  BUT....we can't take that for granted!  We strongly urge you and everyone in your network to utilize the sample support letter HERE to send to the Governor urging him to sign the bill.  It is an easy process, as follows:
 
-       Update the letter (at least the date and your name) and, if you would like (not necessary) add any further detail, story, etc. that you believe would help make the case for signing the bill.  To the extent that your school board, superintendent and staff would be open to sending a similar letter, I would strongly urge you to seek their support, as well as that of your students.  If a letter is being sent on behalf of a school board, superintendent, etc. please put the letter on official letterhead, although not necessary. 
-       Send the letter via fax to the Governor at:
o   (916) 558-3160
-       ALSO, please send the letter via email to BOTH of the following email addresses:
o    Megan.Baier@sen.ca.gov (Senator Lara's Legislative Director)
 
Of note, CCAE and CAEAA are highly sensitive to the concerns of our students regarding immigration status.  If a student has concerns regarding their status and potential implications with sending this letter but they would like to submit a letter in support of the bill nonetheless, please feel free to have them sign with just their first name and please offer to help with submission.  
 
Again, we would like to generate as many letters as possible.  The Governor has until October 15th to act on the measure, but may do so as early as next week.  As such, please be sure to get your letters in ASAP. Strength in numbers! 
 
 
 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

DACA Update

Update about DACA


From the blog:  mydocumentedlife.org



– If you qualify for DACA, but have not submitted your application: DACA initial request applications will no longer be reviewed.


– If you currently have DACA: ...You can keep using your employment authorization/social security number.


– If your DACA is going to expire before/on March 5, 2018: You can apply to renew it. Note: You should try to submit your renewal application by October 2017 (this will be within the six-month period needed to receive a decision).


- Regarding advance parole: If you have DACA and had plans to travel abroad using advance parole (AP), new Form I-131 applications for advance parole will not be reviewed. If you received your AP approval before 9/5/17, it will still be honored. Pending applications will be denied and the money will be refunded.


The full post:


Earlier this summer, Ken Paxton (attorney general of Texas) issued a statement where he called on the current administration to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) federal program. Ken was joined by 10 other states who threatened to sue the administration if they did not end DACA by Tuesday September 5th of 2017. As a response, this morning (9/5/17), attorney general Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration is rescinding DACA. The administration is now giving Congress six months to act and come up with a “solution”.


What does this mean for undocumented young adults?


– If you qualify for DACA, but have not submitted your application: DACA initial request applications will no longer be reviewed.


– If you currently have DACA: You can keep using your employment authorization/social security number.


– If your DACA is going to expire before/on March 5, 2018: You can apply to renew it. Note: You should submit your renewal application by October 5, 2017 (this will be within the six-month period needed to receive a decision).
– Regarding advance parole: If you have DACA and had plans to travel abroad using advance parole (AP), new Form I-131 applications for advance parole will not be reviewed. If you received your AP approval before 9/5/17, it will still be honored. Pending applications will be denied and the money will be refunded.


Here’s the official text from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS):


  • “Will adjudicate—on an individual, case-by-case basis—properly filed pending DACA initial requests and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents that have been accepted by the Department as of the date of this memorandum.


  • Will reject all DACA initial requests and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents filed after the date of this memorandum.


  • Will adjudicate—on an individual, case by case basis—properly filed pending DACA renewal requests and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents from current beneficiaries that have been accepted by the Department as of the date of this memorandum, and from current beneficiaries whose benefits will expire between the date of this memorandum and March 5, 2018 that have been accepted by the Department as of October 5, 2017.


  • Will reject all DACA renewal requests and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents filed outside of the parameters specified above.


  • Will not terminate the grants of previously issued deferred action or revoke Employment Authorization Documents solely based on the directives in this memorandum for the remaining duration of their validity periods.


  • Will not approve any new Form I-131 applications for advance parole under standards associated with the DACA program, although it will generally honor the stated validity period for previously approved applications for advance parole. Notwithstanding the continued validity of advance parole approvals previously granted, CBP will—of course—retain the authority it has always had and exercised in determining the admissibility of any person presenting at the border and the eligibility of such persons for parole. Further, USCIS will—of course—retain the authority to revoke or terminate an advance parole document at any time.


  • Will administratively close all pending Form I-131 applications for advance parole filed under standards associated with the DACA program, and will refund all associated fees.


  • Will continue to exercise its discretionary authority to terminate or deny deferred action at any time when immigration officials determine termination or denial of deferred action is appropriate.”


Here is DHS’s Frequently Asked Questions page regarding DACA that may also be helpful.


What can we do during this time?


1) Take care of yourself and loved ones, and reach out for support. Undoubtedly, the administration’s decision to rescind DACA will have devastating consequences in our community. We must support each other and take care of our health.


2) Stay up to date. At My Undocumented Life blog, we will continue to provide the latest information on DACA, advance parole, ways to take action/support undocumented immigrants, and more.


3) Join an immigrant rights organization in your community. You are not alone. The decision to rescind DACA (and the ongoing attacks on the undocumented community more broadly) are inhumane and unjust. We must organize, fight back, and escalate. As one of my dear friends shared, “nos quitaron tanto, que nos quitaron el miedo”.


Make sure to bookmark and share our more general Post-Election Information page which contains other relevant information and resources.


Be sure to “like” this blog on Facebook and subscribe to get daily updates on new scholarship opportunities, DACA, DAPA, & much more – see top right corner of page (or scroll down if you are visiting from your phone).











Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Call from Educate and Elevate Campaign for Adult Ed Success Stories (Deadline May 30)

  Adult Education National Campaign
Tell Your Story - Get Your Organization Recognized
 
Our Collective Campaign
 
Our 55,000+ adult education leaders stand united in a national campaign called Educate & Elevate to inform policy makers and our community about how we move learning opportunities forward for all Americans to achieve economic mobility. If we educate, then we elevate--- our students, workers, businesses, and our economic growth.
 
As part of our campaign, we are asking that adult educators submit success stories, customer testimonials, and innovations that will proudly be displayed on our campaign website which is currently in development. We are looking for both student and employer successes to share.
 
There are three types of submissions. Click on the links below to complete a brief online form and instructions for submissions.
  • Success Story--- a narrative that shares the challenge(s), solution(s), and outcome(s) of a student or employer.
  • Customer Testimonial--- a first-person quote from a student about how adult education supported their goals and dreams and/or from an employer who had a great experience with an adult education organization and/or an adult learner.
  • Innovation--- a narrative summary of an adult education program, project, or initiative that you believe has been innovative in helping students, employers, and/or your community.
The power of these collective stories across the nation will inspire and inform policy makers, business leaders, community leaders and many more!
We are requesting submissions for our initial launch by 5/30/17, and we will enter you into a drawing for a free ticket to attend COABE 2018 in Phoenix, AZ on March 25-28, 2018!  
 
Thank you for your participation! If you have questions, please contact us at educateandelevate@coabe.org.
 

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