Saturday, May 12, 2012

Help with Writing Letters and Emails

Many times, people feel nervous when they sit down to write an email or letter.  What should they say?  What will the other person think of them?  What if they don't say it right?  What if they leave something out?

Here are some facts and questions that might help you as you write your emails and letters in support of Adult Education:

First, just a take a minute and think about adult schools. 

Do you know anyone who went to an Adult School?

Did you go to an Adult School, yourself?  How about friends and family?

Here's a list of the sorts of people who attend adult schools.  Most likely you know some of these people or perhaps you fall in a category, yourself.

Immigrants.  Adult Schools help immigrants learn and improve their English.  They help them learn the US way of doing things and they encourage immigrants to participate in civic life - to volunteer at their children's schools, to participate in Earth Days clean-up activities, to be a good neighbor, a good driver, and a good employee.  Adult Schools provide citizenship classes, job skills clases, and parenting classes, all tailored to immigrants. 

Immigrant parents.  This deserves a special category because of the link between parent literacy and student success.  The best predictor of a child's success in school is the mother's literacy level.  Adult Schools help immigrant parents with English skills and give them an understanding of how US schools work and what is expected of both kids and their parents.

Young Adults.  Sometimes young people are not able to finish high school.  Adult Schools help them get their GED or high school diploma.  They help them with job training and job hunting.  They encourage them to back in the game and succeed, so that they take on the full joys and responsibilities of adulthood.

Seniors.  Many people do not realize that many classes for seniors, many of them off-site of Adult School campuses, are provided by Adult Schools.  These classes offer a wide array of opportunities to stay mentally, physically and emotionally healthy, cutting down health care costs, and enabling seniors to remain vital contributors to community life.

Job hunters.  Adut Schools provide classes in job skills, resume writing, and job search.  Some of them provide drop-in hours with a counselor to assist job hunters in their search.

Note:  Because of the large budget cuts in the last three years, more and more of these classes have been cut.  But this has been an area where Adult Schools well served an important need for many years.
Parents and caregivers (immigrant or US born).  Adult Schools provide classes that train both parents and caregivers in childcare, child development, and teen psychology.  Some of these classes fit the requirement for court mandated parent education, enabling parents to get the skills they need to maintain or obtain a healthy relationship with their children.
Caregivers for seniors.  These sorts of classes fall into the "job training" category, of course, but deserve special mention because these are such important jobs.  No one wants caregivers - for either children or seniors - to do the job badly.  Good training and education of caregivers is essential to a healthy community. 

Disabled adults.  This was a special niche that Adult Education filled for many years.  Again, because of the severe budget cuts many Adult Schools have experienced, many of these classes were cut, to the detriment of many people, including the families of the disabled adults.
In essence, whether or not you personally have taken a class at an Adult School, you can bet your life that your life is better because of Adult Education.

So, having stopped to think a minute about all this, ask yourself:

Why is Adult School important to your life? 

To your boss? 

To your children? 

To the community? 

To the State?

And what would happen if it were gone?

Your emails and letters do not have to be fancy. 

They just need to say why you value Adult Education and why you want California to continue to provide it.

It would also be helpful to say that flexibility and Brown's suggested Weighted Student are very bad for adult education.  (You can read why in earlier posts.)  You can also say that adult education needs its own budget.  If the money for adult education is constantly used to help other programs survive their own cuts, it won't survive.  It needs its own budget.  Luckily, because Adult Education does such a great job of doing things in a low-cost way, it does not have to be a big budget.  Adult Schools do a great job of providing big things to many people on small budgets.  (Actually, they are great examples of how to do this!

Important:  These emails and letters need to be sent as soon as possible.

The revised budget will be released May 15.  Directions and decisions will start hardening.  We need to speak now.

Go to

and enter your address.  Do not worry.  No information is saved.

You will find out who your state legislators are.  Send them the emails or letters.

Letters are great but if you won't send a letter because it is too much trouble, then send an email.

What matters is speaking up and telling the State Legislature NOW that adult education is important to you.

I will provide specific addresses for President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg and the names of caucus members in another post.

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