Sunday, July 1, 2012

Your Voice Matters

For too long, Adult Education flew under the radar.

We had a system, right?

It was helping people, right?


So why bother to explain it?

Who cares if people didn't know that San Mateo Adult School and City College of San Francisco's Non-Credit program were the same thing?

Who cares if people didn't understand our complicated finances, tied to two different systems - K-12 and Community College?

Who cares if people didn't understand that both programs - Adult Ed tied to K-12 and Adult Ed tied to Community College - were the same system, serving the same people and needs?

Who cares if people didn't understand that so many programs - ESL, Citizenship, Job Training, Parent Ed, Older Adults, Disabled Adults - were all part of the same system?

Well, we care now.

We need people to understand WHAT Adult Education is, WHO it helps, WHY it matters, HOW it's paid for and WHERE we're headed if we don't end this flexibility mess and get a dedicated funding stream.

We need people to understand connections.

The connection between someone getting their GED and paying fewer taxes for prisons.

The connection between parent education and test scores, school ratings, childhood obesity, and visits to the ER.

The connection between an exercise class for seniors and lower Medicare costs.

The connection between job skills and a sustainable vs fastfood economy.

The connection between fluent English and a nimble, productive, cohesive community.
ESL, Citizenship, Job Skills, Parent Education, Older Adults, Disabled Adults - these programs matter.

To all of us.

We need people to understand that.

And to understand that the best way to pay for it is through a dedicated funding stream.

Give Adult Education its own budget.  Make it big or make it small, depending on what is happening on a statewide level, but give it a budget so it can plan and spend wisely. 

The delivery system - the schools and staff - are in place and working.  Things have been cut, some schools have been closed, but we still have a system.  People are being served.

We can maintain what we have and as times improve, we can recover and rebuild, stronger and wiser than before.

But to do that we need our own budget.  A dedicated funding stream.

And how are we going to do that?

By telling people we exist.  We matter.  We serve.

And who is going to do that?

We are.

You, me, and all the other you's and me's.


Well, for starters, we have this blog.

It gets a few hits.  Its going around.

It's a nice little podium.

And so far, I'm pretty much the only person standing on it.

That's not right, given how important these matters are and how many people they affect.

So I'm inviting you to share it with me.

If you have information, ideas, links, resources, hit the comment button or send me an email at so we share them here.  I'll credit you or if you want to remain anonymous, I'll post it as such.

Think of it as your give-a-penny, take-a-penny resource for information on Adult Education matters.  And share the wealth.

And if you have something to share but this podium doesn't feel right to you, look around for another one.

It might be talking to your brother or your boss.  You'll know what it is.

But lift your voice, please.

Adult Education is about millions of people.

It serves millions of people.  It matters to millions of people.

You are one of them.

Adult Education matters because you matter.

To save it, your voice matters.

Speak up, please.

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