Friday, December 21, 2012

The Wheel Turns

It's been an amazing year.

This time last year, things didn't look good.  Adult Ed was hardly on the map of the public's mind.

This made it easy to slice and dice it when the state faced a budget crisis.

And hard to explain what Adult Ed is and how it is funded - which is darned complicated, anyway.

In such a situation, we always have choices.

We can give up.  Life is hard and people are stressed and good things are hard to save and do and create.

Or we can stand up.

We can stand up for what we know is good.

We can hold up a vision of what can be better.

We can reflect on what matters most to us, make choices, take actions, be involved in our lives, our dreams, our future.

Move from spectator to participant.

Be alive.

We did that.

All across the state in ways large and small, people took action.

They wrote letters.  Went on marches.  Made paper chains around schools that were closing.  Held up signs.  Made videos.  Wore t-shirts.  Made phone calls. Held press conferences.  Told their stories.  Demanded a place at the table.

Held the dream.

And what happened?

Prop 30 passed.

Los Angeles Adult School - the largest in the state - Reina de Las Escuelas - did not close.

CCAE - the California Council for Adult Education - increased in strength, numbers, and efficacy.

WSF - Weighted Student Formula - a new way to measure out money for schools which Gov. Brown very much wants to implement - may or may be implemented but if it is, we at least have been able to voice our opinion on how it might impact us.

The LAO - the non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office - came out with a report asserting the value of Adult Education and for the first time, making a strong case for a designated funding stream.

Our own money.  Money that acknowledges what we contribute to the health, prosperity, and civic vibrancy of the state.  Ours.  To budget, plan for, and use in a good way to good end.

That is revolutionary.

No more lurking under the radar, hoping we can continue to survive if we just don't proclaim who we are and what we do.  Something that never made sense given the fact we are the cost effective branch of the California Public Education system and do great good, serving every part of the community, directly or indirectly, through our work.

Article after article now acknowledging the good we do, the bad we've suffered, and the mistake it would be not to save and rebuild Adult Education.

We did all that.

You and me.

Because in the end, while we it's hard to do good, it's not really any harder than doing nothing.

Change is constant.

The wheel turns, regardless of our pain or our joy.

Our power lies is making the choice to turn with it.

Directing it, as we can, and when we can't, staying with it.

To put it more plainly:  When possible, be in charge of where you're going.   If not possible, avoid an accident.  At all times, avoid being run over.

And that we did.

Good work, everyone.

Thanks to each of you who stood up for Adult Education this year.  

Because of you, Adult Education continues to serve California and stands a very good chance of rebuilding better and stronger in the years to come.

As we wheel into the next one, may we continue to know and work for good.

Happy Holidays!

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