Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Good News Update from CCAE

Some great news and updates from CCAE - California Council of Adult Education.

In a nutshell:  We have made great progress.  A little work more will help us crack the nut.

“In this regard, CAEAA and CCAE are beyond thrilled to share that Senator Carol Liu has agreed to author our sponsored bill and lead the charge for adult education in the new session.” 

December 2012

Upcoming Important Dates

January 7           Legislature Reconvenes
January 10         Governor Releases FY 13-14 Proposed Budget
January 25         Last day to submit bills to the Office of Legislative Counsel
February 22       Bill introduction Deadline

2013 & Revisiting the Three-Legged Stool

As we close out our first year working together and reflect on 2012, we can
proudly say that we lost no ground in Sacramento during the year.  To the
contrary, we – along with a host of other education stakeholders –
were successful in defeating the Governor’s Weighted Student Formula
(WSF) plan that would have effectively eliminated adult education
going forward.  Also important, in the process we elevated the profile
and voice of adult education in the Capitol and with other key stakeholders. 

As we move in to 2013 and the new 2-year legislative session, we
must continue this momentum in order to preserve adult education
for future years.  That said, it will not be without its challenges. 


As we’ve discussed time and again, the Governor is committed to
education finance reform.  While we anticipate changes in his
WSF proposal that will be released January 10th in conjunction
with his budget plan, we are not confident at this point in time the
changes will adequately address the differentiated needs of adult
education.  And although we were highly successful in inserting
adult education in to the conversation during the series of WSF
meetings held in November, the deck continues to be stacked
against us within the Administration. 

Despite this seemingly endless uphill battle, we have a plan for
2013!  As we discussed at both the CAEAA conference in
February and the CCAE conference in May, success and
stability is achieved at the intersection of the three legs of the stool.   

The field has been highly successful in 2012 in the three areas,
sustaining the three legged stool.  But we can do more and need
to strengthen that stool in the New Year.

Lobbying & Advocacy

The perfect storm is brewing for adult education in the new
2-year session.  The success this year in elevating adult
education’s voice and profile has laid a significant foundation
for moving in to 2013.  Additionally, we were handed a great
gift by the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) who agreed
with our assessment that adult education needs its own,
separate funding as a stand-alone program.  Importantly,
this isn’t the type of recommendation that typically comes
from the LAO’s office; to the contrary, they are more apt to
focus on consolidation and elimination of program areas. 
While it isn’t a slam dunk that ensures passage of reforms
by the Legislature and enactment by the Administration,
it will be a helpful tool that supports what we’ve been
voicing all along as well as our efforts going forward. 
The report notes a number of areas where the system
can be improved, many of which we’ve already been
discussing in the context of the Strategic Plan this year. 

In this regard, we have drafted a bill proposal that would
restructure adult education’s core program areas in line
with the Strategic Plan and the LAO’s report.  While
the language does not delve in to the issue of funding
 to any significant degree, the proposal will serve as
the vehicle around which to push the discussion in the
new 2-year session.  Of note, the omission of
specific funding language is intentional.  As we
discussed what the vehicle should look like, we
were sensitive to the fact that any proposal that
detailed a funding mechanism this early in the
legislative and budget process could scare away
key stakeholders and the Administration from having
a deeper discussion about what the options might
be to addressing funding.  Given the Governor’s WSF
proposal will also be in play during the budget year,
we felt strongly that we wanted to leave ourselves
options and room to navigate rather than coming out
of the gate and being shut down too quickly. 

Such an approach has already lent us our first
“victory” of the new legislative session.  When
we began to discuss who might author the
proposal, a number of members – new and
incumbent – were raised as options.  The sheer
number of suggestions offered illustrates that we
have many friends in the Legislature who are
looking for a way to assist adult education.  But
the decision needed to be one that was based
not only in a measure of support for adult education,
but one that considered the background and political
power of the potential author. 

In this regard, CAEAA and CCAE are beyond
thrilled to share that Senator Carol Liu has agreed
to author our sponsored bill and lead the charge for
adult education in the new session.  As many of you
may know, Senator Liu has history in and
around adult education – highly supportive and
knowledgeable.  The knowledge base not only
refers to knowledge of adult education, but of all the
stakeholders and facets of the education system
and finance.  In 2012, Liu served as the Chair of
Senate Budget Subcommittee #2 dealing with
Education Finance.  Additionally, when she served
in the Assembly, she chaired the Assembly Education
Committee.  While Senate chairmanships have
yet to be formally announced, it is widely expected
that she will be named Senate Education Chair
(Senator Alan Lowenthal, former Chair, has termed out). 
This  would be an added bonus and a significant
development both on the policy and political side
of our work in 2013.  Having the presumed heir
apparent to the Senate Education Committee as
 the author of our bill is beyond significant!

The Senator’s office will be working closely with
your legislative advocate, Dawn Koepke, in the
new session.  Stay tuned for the formal introduction
and associated bill number…

Grassroots Engagement

So…we have a bill in the works with an incredibly
strong author. …  Now what?

It’s about time to again motivate and activate the
field for strong, supportive grassroots engagement.

As you know, the November election resulted in
roughly half of the Assembly turning over.  That
is about 40 new members in the Capitol and representing
you, your students and your schools.  While many of
them already have some basic understanding and
knowledge of adult education in their communities,
we can’t presume they know everything much
less who to turn to in their community if they
have questions or concerns.  In this regard, we are
preparing materials for use by the field in the New
Year to conduct meet-and-greets and background
materials to provide. 

Remember….if the members aren’t hearing from
their constituents that adult education is a priority,
they will presume it isn’t.  Given the significant momentum
we have in Sacramento, it is imperative that the
field engage at the local level to tie the work we’re
doing here to the impact it has in their districts. 

Initially, the grassroots action will be focused on
reconnecting with or meeting your representatives. 
As with every relationship, a foundation of friendship
and trust needs to be built before we can expect the
world.  Such connection could be going to open houses
and saying “hello,” to attending town halls, to
scheduling a meet-and-greet.  Also important is to
remember that staff in the district offices are critical
allies too!  Even if you aren’t able to connect with the
member every time, build a relationship with key staff
members that we can turn to when push comes to shove.

Once our bill is officially introduced and scheduled
for policy committee, we will then ask for engagement
with your representatives and letters to be generated
 in support of our bill.  But again, remember, you
can’t ask for the world if you haven’t built that
 foundation to ensure the member trusts you’re giving
him/her the correct information.

Stay tuned for further direction and instructions in January….

Political Action

In an ideal world policy and politics could be separate
and isolated.  Unfortunately, that isn’t the real world
in Sacramento.  The politics of individual members,
stakeholders, future aspirations, and more all play a
key role in the development of policy – it is just a fact. 
The question is how do we navigate the political side of

First and foremost, we must all be clear that political
action isn’t just financial resources alone. It is about
 strategy, preparedness, alignment, having a loud
and clear voice, having answers, strength in numbers,
and the ability to provide resources to the right people
at the right time. 

Adult education needs to continue to be incredibly
strategic and prepared. 

Over the course of 2012, we have engaged with a
host of various stakeholders who all carry some level
of political clout tied to their area of interest.  For example,
we have worked closely with and are ramping up
efforts at the outset of 2013 to work with the
GetREAL Coalition, an entity focused on Career
Technical Education (CTE).  GetREAL and the
California Manufacturers & Technology Association
(CMTA) have gained traction like us – both of us playing
off of one another’s traction.  The symbiosis, if you will,
has worked for both interests, despite our program areas
 being different, together gaining significant traction
over the course of the year around the WSF discussions. 

As far as alignment, we’ve also worked closely with key
 legislators and legislative staff to ensure our voice is not
 lost amidst the host of other stakeholders.  This alignment
from a political perspective is already working out with
Senator Carol Liu carrying our sponsored bill.  She is
highly respected by her peers and Senate President
Pro Tem Steinberg.  Combine this with the likelihood
 she’ll be named Senate Education Chair, political action
and power is already aligning behind adult education!

Whether in the Capitol or at the local level, adult education
 has continued to be prepared for each and every
discussion – often inserting ourselves where we
might not otherwise have been a part of the conversation. 
 We have a loud and clear voice associated with the
strength in our numbers (administrators, teachers, classified
staff, students, personal contacts, and more).  We are
prepared with answers and options for addressing the needs
of adult education going forward – all of which are supported
by the LAO, our Strategic Plan, and countless other organizations.

Finally, we are prepared to provide non-fiscal resources to the
right people at the right time.  This was clearly evidenced
by the field during the November election, with our folks
 turning out in force to support Proposition 30 – through
rallies, phone banking, voter registration drives and more. 
This momentum must be kept up; members just need to
know that we are here en masse to support their efforts. 

And while financial resources are not an absolute necessity,
they could be incredibly valuable for yet another level of
political engagement for adult education.  While financial
 resources do not assure any policy outcome, they help
in developing relationships with members.  It is the development
of these relationships at the state and local level that
could provide yet another leg-up to adult education as we enter
the new legislative session. 

CCAE and CAEAA are currently contemplating the structure
that would be required to set up a Political Action Committee
 (PAC) to support candidates financially.  Importantly, any
such effort and associated contributions would be on a
voluntary basis.  But think about it…  With over 3,000
members between both organizations, if each member
contributed $25 dollars to the PAC, adult education
could easily raise $75,000 per year to support candidates
who support adult education.  This level of fundraising
isn’t at all necessary, but everything helps.  Such
contributions could also include support for the Governor
and the contributions could be used to support incoming
candidates in critical races during election season. 

If you could help add additional fire power at a time when
momentum is strong to push adult education over the finish
 line, would you step up to support the cause?

LAO Report: Restructuring Adult Education

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) has
released its report evaluating and offering recommendations
 regarding the restructuring of the state’s adult education
system.  In the report, the LAO argues that major restructuring
is needed in order to address several issues and shortcomings
plaguing the current system.  Such issues identified by the LAO
 include, continued lapses and overall lack of funding; inconsistent
state policies; failure to distinguish a clear difference
between adult education and collegiate instruction; and a lack
of student data. To improve and ensure operating efficiency,
the LAO recommends narrowing the broad instructional focus
of the adult education system by reducing the number of
recognized state instructional areas from 10 to six, providing
a dedicated source of revenue, and other policies designed
to streamline the current system and provide more consistent
guidelines and agency cooperation.

For more information, please see

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