Wednesday, May 25, 2016

CFT Local 4681 Urges Speaker Rendon to Increase Funding for Adult Education

San Mateo Adult School Federation of Teachers

789 E. Poplar Ave.

San Mateo, CA 94401

Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the Assembly

Attention:  Rick Simpson

State Capitol

Room 219

Sacramento, CA 95814

 May 21, 2016

Dear Speaker Rendon:

We are writing to urge you to increase adult education funding from $500 million to $750 million in this year’s budget. California adult schools received $754 million in funding in 2007. Our budgets were cut drastically during the recession, and adult schools are the only public education system whose funding has not been restored.

Also during the recession, school districts were allowed to take money from adult schools. Many districts closed their adult schools outright, while others cut adult school budgets by 50%, 75%, 95%. Oakland adult school, for example, had 25,000 students before the recession and now has less than 1,200.

Even before the recession, adult schools were the most efficient public education system in the state. We educated 1.2 million students at a cost of just $754 million, which is less than 1/10th of what community colleges currently receive to educate only twice the number of students. And that was before our budgets were cut. Now we have only $500 million, and we’re sharing that with community college adult education under our new consortia, as well as paying administrative costs for the consortia. Adult schools do a lot with a little.

The extra $250 million is urgently needed to restore programs like Oakland’s that were cut so drastically, to reopen adult schools that were closed, and to provide adult education in areas where residents don’t have access to adult education, such as in some parts of the Central Valley.

There is currently a bill to increase adult education funding sponsored by Asm. Patty Lopez, AB 1846. Whether this bill makes it through committee or not, you can ensure funding by putting the additional $250 million into this year’s budget. We strongly urge you to do so. Thank you for your support.

The San Mateo Adult School Federation of Teachers, California Federation of Teachers local 4681

Bruce Neuburger, President

David Doneff, Vice President

Cynthia Eagleton, Secretary

Letter Campaign for Adequate Funding for Adult Education #RestoreAdEd

The deadline for an approved budget for California is June 30.  Now is a key time to express to legislative leaders what our needs are in Adult Schools and Adult Education.
Below is information to help you with letter writing campaigns for adequate funding for Adult Education and in support Assembly Patty Lopez bill AB1846 which would increase funding for Adult Education by 250 million dollars.
If you share this on social media, be sure to use the hashtag #RestoreAdEd.
Feel free to change in any way that suits your program, school, or consortium needs.
Adult Education matters.  It is important for many reasons.  

For example, Adult Education helps people

  • learn English to help their children in school
  • learn English to get better jobs or for job advancement
  • learn English to get involved in the community
  • learn new job skills
  • get their GED or HIgh School Diploma
  • stay healthy; maintain public health
  • use their skills to make contributions to California culture & economy and pay taxes
  • learn about US culture, connect with community
  • prepare for natural disasters
  • share ideas about how to cope with Climate Change

It costs money to provide Adult Education.

Funds for Adult Education pay for

  • ESL, Job Training, GED/HSD classes
  • Computers
  • Teachers
  • Technology for online classes and websites
  • Student support
  • Campuses - providing them, maintaining them
  • Meeting new goals of Regional Consortia system

In 2008, the State of California gave about 750 million dollars to Adult Schools.  Then, because of the recession, there were big cuts.  Many schools closed.  All the schools got smaller.

We worked hard to save Adult Education.  We succeeded. We saved Adult Education.

We have new funding and stability.  This is good.  But we do not have enough money to do everything we need to do to help California.  Many people need more help, more classes, more programs, more locations.

Now the State of California gives Adult Education - both Adult Schools plus some Community Colleges - 500 million dollars. It is not enough to provide Adult Education for the whole state.

We are writing leaders in the Legislature to ask that they give 250 million more dollars to Adult Education.  We hope they will listen to us and increase the money for Adult Education.

Students can write letters separately, in groups, or as a class.  Send a letter to all six of the Legislative Leaders listed below the sample letter.

In your letter, you can say something like this:

Address of your school goes here

May 25, 2016

Dear _________________,

We are students at __________Adult School.  We are in the  _________class.

We are writing to ask for 250 million more dollars for Adult Education budget.  We need more money.  We need money for ______________________ , _________________ , ________________, and _____________________ .

With Adult Education, we can do many things.  We can _________________, and _______________, and _____________________ .

We like our school.  We appreciate Adult Education.  We want to make a contribution to California.  Education helps us do that.

Please give Adult Education 250 million more dollars in the budget for next year.


Make 6 copies of the letters.  Send the letters to:

Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the Assembly
Attention:  Rick Simpson
State Capitol
Room 219
Sacramento, CA 95814

Phil Ting, Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee
Attention:  Katie Hardeman
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0019

Kevin McCarty, Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance
Attention:  Brian Singh
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0007

Kevin De Leon, Senate Pro Tempore
Attention:  Kimberly Rodriguez
State Capitol, Room 205
Sacramento, CA 95814

Mark Leno, Chair of the Senate Budget Committee
Attention:  Elisa Wynne
State Capitol, Room 5100,
Sacramento, CA 95814-4900

Marty Block, Chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance
Attention:  Kevin Powers
State Capitol, Room 4072
Sacramento, CA  95814

San Mateo Adult School students spoke up
about the need for adequate funding for Adult Education

They worked in groups to write their letters.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Save Your Adult School: We Need to Serve 5 Million

Kristen Pursely, author of  the blog "Save Your Adult School," shines a light on the current situation and brilliantly explains it all in the SYAS post below:

We Need to Serve 5 Million

California is home to 5.2 million adults who have less than a high school education, and community colleges and adult schools combined have only ever been able to serve about one-fifth of them. That figure should be the north star that guides all adult education policy in California,the goal of reaching all 5.2 million the mark we know we all need to strive for. But so far this has not been the case.  Currently the state is in the midst of reforming the adult education system, and is shining the bright light of scrutiny on all adult education activities, demanding data, data, data. But the  3.5 million unserved adults remain in the shadows, rarely mentioned, though the shocking size of their numbers is the most important datum of all.

The  2012 Legislative Analyst’s Report  “Restructuring California’s Adult Education System”, one of the chief documents guiding the current reform measures,  noted that adult schools and community colleges together served about 1.5 million students in 2009-2010.  That was the first year after the fiscal crisis in California had begun to take its toll on community colleges and adult schools, but long before its ravages were complete.  Over the next several years, both systems continued to suffer, and the number of students they were able to serve continued to drop.  Adult schools were particularly hard hit.  The state in essence defunded them, throwing them on the mercy of their school districts.  Some adult schools closed down completely, most suffered severe cuts. When the recession was over and the state began to recover, the state restored and even increased community college funding, but froze adult school funding at the abysmal level it had fallen to by 2013.  There it remains today, so the adult education system of 2016 still has not recovered the capacity it had in 2009-10, a time when educational services were still reaching only about one-fifth of the adults who needed them.

In the midst of the recession and the attendant cuts and budget chaos, the state began making plans to “reform” the adult education system.  But the focus of the “reform” was not the 3.5 million and counting Californians who were going without basic education services. Instead, the state chose to dither  over “duplication of services” between adult schools and community colleges.  In other words, in the midst of this tremendous, and increasing, dearth of services, we somehow had too many services!  And these extra services had to be stamped out!

Never much more than a Republican talking point adopted by Democrats who wanted to look tough (and oh, how tough they could look stomping all over the nearly powerless adult schools and their marginalized and vulnerable students!), “duplication of services” was never very well defined.  After all, to people who just don’t like the idea of public services at all, the mere fact that both adult schools and community colleges   teach adults might be seen as an unacceptable “duplication of services.”  The significant differences in the way the two institutions serve students would not matter, nor would the fact that between the two of them they aren’t doing  nearly enough to serve all the Californians who need basic literacy services.

With little guidance as to what the offending duplication actually was, adult schools and community colleges, now mandated to work together in consortia to ,among other things, eliminate “duplication”, put themselves through contortions to avoid this fearsome and yet ill-defined monster. It is heart-rending to sit through meetings about the consortia, listening  to community college and adult school teachers alike talking in determined and yet uncertain tones about the things they  are doing to avoid “duplication of services”.  They sound rather like children who have been punished for an infraction they don’t understand but want to make sure they don’t commit again.  Because the nature of the duplication was never  clearly explained, everyone has their own definition.  All this agony over a non-problem, while the very real problem of lack of services goes unaddressed!

It should be noted that the State of California does not seem to be concerned about duplication of services in any other context.  While the consortia spin their wheels trying to eliminate duplication, the state is busily working on legislation to allow community colleges to award 4-year degrees in some fields.  The state is also encouraging community colleges to expand their non-credit programs, the very programs that look most like adult school programs and may have led to the idea that adult schools and community colleges are duplicating services in the first place.  Not that any of this is necessarily  bad.  But why is there so much concern about one kind of  (very vaguely defined) “duplication of services” between adult schools and community colleges,  while duplication is encouraged in other areas?  The state is being highly inconsistent about this, to say the least.

The whole thing might just be a kind of comedy of errors if the stakes weren’t so high for adult schools and the students they serve.  The state has very unfairly thrown the burden of making the consortium “partnerships” work onto adult schools.  All state funding for adult schools now comes through the Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG), and the block grant money only comes to adult schools that are in consortia with their community colleges.  By contrast, community colleges still have their own funding, quite a lot of funding compared to what adult schools had in even the best of times, which is not dependent on their being in the consortia at all.

The total amount of the AEBG is $500 million; which is $250 million less than was spent on adult schools alone before the financial crash of 2008. Out of that $500 million, only  $350 is dedicated to adult schools.  This $350 million represents the rock-bottom amount that was being spent on adult schools in 2014, when the legislation creating the AEBG was drafted.  The rest is available to the consortia to spend however they see fit. It might be spent on an adult school program, a community college program, or a collaboration between the two. But the amount of guaranteed funding for adult schools is no more than the deeply inadequate amount that was being spent on them at the end of  six long years of unlimited cuts to adult school budgets. Adult school funding fell steeply between 2009 and 2013, and then stagnated.  So far,the AEBG locks in the stagnation.  The state has no plans to increase the AEBG next year.

Yet it is up to the badly underfunded adult schools to make the consortia work.  The consortia are supposed to be a collaboration between adult schools and community colleges, but structurally the relationship is wildly unequal.  One partner, the community colleges, participates in the consortia only by choice and has adequate funding independent of what it receives through the consortium.  The other partner, the adult schools, is completely dependent on the consortia for survival.  Since the consortia are a collaboration, they can only succeed if the two parties work together.  But one party has practically nothing at stake, while the other will perish if the collaboration fails to meet state expectations.  Somehow the state has decided that holding the adult schools hostage to the consortia is the best way to make these “partnerships” work.  The engine of reform, apparently, is to be the desperation of the weaker party to the enterprise, whose wild scrambling for survival will somehow move adult education in California forward.

It is in the context of this grim struggle to survive that the state’s excuse for refusing to increase the Adult Education Block Grant for next year must be understood. The chief argument one hears is that the state wants to “see how the consortia work out”.  If the state likes the way the consortia are going, they might increase the AEBG for 2017-2018.

This is like putting a man on a diet of one slice of bread a week and saying, “Let’s see how he does on that.  If he does well on that slice for a month, maybe  we’ll give him two slices a week.” Everyone knows how that experiment would work out; the man would not show improvement; he would decline.  He would never earn that extra slice of bread, and would eventually die of hunger. His fault for not using that one slice of bread well.

Institutions are not so different.  If the state wants to see how well adult schools do on inadequate funding, it has had eight long years to observe the phenomenon.  What more do they need to see?  Wouldn’t the state like to see what we could do with a little more funding for a change?
Data, data, data.  The state wants to measure the hunger.  Could you give us measurements as to how far your bones are protruding through your flesh?  The state would like to see waiting lists for our classes to prove that there is a need.

We can give you waiting lists, but you know your waiting list, California.  The waiting list is 3.5 million.  Why does that generate no sense of urgency?  They may not be on waiting lists for adult education classes because the only adult school in their area closed, but they are waiting.
Ironically, there is one increase to adult education in the Governor’s May Revise of the 2016 budget: a one time, $5 million, allocation for technical support to the consortia.  No additional money for services, for classes and teachers, just some money to help the consortia tweak their bureaucracies a little more.  $5 million dollars–that’s one dollar for every person in the state who needs adult education services, the 1.5 million or so who are receiving services and the 3.5 million who wait.
A few steps have been taken towards the ones who are waiting.  A few adult schools have been reopened, mostly because the community colleges in their consortia have generously given up their portion of the consortium money to fund the reopening.  But not every community college will be able to afford to do this; the consortia do impose some costs on the community colleges, after all.  While some community colleges have behaved very handsomely and deserve to be commended for their foresight, the power of the community colleges alone to revive adult schools in California is limited.

Another important step is AB 1846 (Lopez), which would increase the Adult Education Block Grant by $250 million.  The aim of the bill is to restore the funding available to adult schools to something like what it was before the financial crisis of 2008, when the state spent about $750 million on adult schools.  This bill, if it passes, will be an excellent beginning to  reviving adult education services in California and eventually providing basic literacy services to all the adults in California who need them.

Five million Californians need adult education services. Providing services for them must be our goal.  Let’s set a course and go.


Hit Social Media with Hashtag #RestoreAdEd

Do you use social media?

Hit it with the hashtag #RestoreAdEd to let legislative leaders know of the need to adequately fund Adult Education!

You can directly post to the following facebook and twitter accounts:
Governor Brown: @JerryBrownGov
Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin De León: @kdeleon
Speaker Anthony Rendon: @Rendon63rd
Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting: @PhilTing
Senate Budget Chair: @MarkLeno


Press Enterprise Article: Bill Could Help Revive Inland Adult Schools

From the Press Enterprise:


Bill could help revive Inland adult schools

State legislation would restore funding for programs decimated by budget cuts during the recession.

EDUCATION: Bill could help revive Inland adult schools

Hit the link to read the article.

Assembly Member Patty Lopez' Office Call To Action

From the Office of Assembly Member Patty Lopez

Hi Everyone,
I would like to announce that we will begin to increase our pressure to the Governor and the State Legislature through the budget process as the legislature has until June 15 to pass a budget.

Our Call to Action

We are asking students, teachers, and community members to wear red on May 31st at their adult schools and to post photos on facebook, twitter, and other social media outlets asking the Governor and Legislature to restore adult education funding. Please use the hashtag #RestoreAdEd when you are posting so we can keep track of how many post have been sent.

Also please make sure to directly post to the following facebook and twitter accounts:
Governor Brown: @JerryBrownGov
Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin De León: @kdeleon
Speaker Anthony Rendon: @Rendon63rd
Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting: @PhilTing
Senate Budget Chair: @MarkLeno
Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks everyone once again for all your hard work on this issue.
Christopher Sanchez
Office of Assemblywoman Patty López  
Representing the 39th Assembly District
State Capitol, Room 5160
Phone: (916) 319 – 2039
Fax: (916) 319 – 2139

Saturday, May 7, 2016

AB1846 Fact Sheet and Update

Assembly Member Patty Lopez produced the following fact sheet about AB1846.    Assembly Member Lopez authored the bill which is now co-authored by Republican Assembly Member Rocky Chavez and Democrat Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia.

The bill goes to Assembly Appropriations on Wednesday, May 11, at 9 am in Room 4202.  The merits of the bill as it regards to its financial impact  will be heard at that time. Because of its cost, AB1846, like any bill over 150,000, will be moved to the suspense file.
 There will be a suspense hearing later in the month.  If it passes through the suspense hearing, it will move to the Assembly floor.

Here is the fact sheet, which outlines the bill, the reason it's needed, and its supporters:

Hit the link to read it.