Tuesday, April 23, 2013

CCAE State Conference: Bringing It Home

Ever go to a conference?  A fair?  A festival?

Ever wander from booth to booth, filling your bag with stuff then come home and dump it all out on the bed and ask yourself, "Now why did I bring all this crap home?  I will never ever use it... "

That is NOT what happened at the CCAE State Conference in Sacramento last weekend.

No... I'm pretty sure everyone who left that conference came home with these three magic beans:

Information  -

about the big picture
    how we got here
    where we can go
    how to get where we want to go

Inspiration  - 

through seeing and hearing
    courage, smarts, sharing, caring and long game strategy

and very importantly,

Other people to join hands with

     in the work to rebuild Adult Education.

Here's a recap:

The speakers were terrific.  CCAE videotaped all of them and we look forward to seeing them as they're uploaded onto CCAE's website.

(Note:  This recap is from my notes. 
If you have a sense I misunderstood something, leave a comment on the blog
and I will address.)

Hit the "read more" link to get the recap...

Chris Nelson, President of CCAE, gave an overview of what's happening.

Paul Steenhausen, analyst at the LAO - the Legislative Analyst Office - gave us the lowdown on how the LAO Report on Adult Education was whisked into purpose faster than anyone expected.  Usually a report like that sits for a while before being put into use.  He also said the fact the Governor and the Legislature are willing to make changes to the Governor's plan to shift Adult Ed out of K12 and into Community Colleges is significant - as is the fact Gov. Brown is specifically setting aside money for Adult Education.  This is all testament to the work we are doing through advocacy, grassroots, petitions, visits to Legislators' office in home district and the capitol, CCAE, ACSA, unions, etc..  We are getting over message across:  Adult Education matters. 

Baldwin Park Adult School asked Steenhausen what data the LAO needs.  Steenhausen answered enrollment, ADA by term and annually by instructional program, outcome.  CASAS is important.  We need to track outcome by student identifiers and predict future wages.  (Dr. Patricia Shirley of CDE discussed this in more detail in her workshop.)

Steenhausen noted that there are big regional differences in Adult Education, which have been exacerbated by flexibility, cuts and closures, etc. 

He said one way to deal with these challenges, in rebuilding Adult Education, could be through regional distribution of funds, where income level, high school graduation rates, and other factors are fed into the distribution calculation.

Steve Curiel asked about Immigration Reform and Steenhausen said that yes, that is key to this issue. 

Note to all of us:  We need to connect to and stay on the issue of Immigration Reform. 

We need to gather information about what Adult Ed needs:   What will it take in terms of $ and resources to provide adequate levels of ESL and Citizenship when Immigration Reform finally does go through - as nearly everyone agrees it will.  And then provide that information to the Legislature, Governor, and CDE.

(More on CDE in a future post.)

C. Suzanne Reid, Chief of Staff for Senator Carol Liu, author of bills SB 173 and SB 174, discussed Senator Liu's commitment to Adult Education.  She said 173 passed unanimously on Thursday, April 18th out of the education committee and now goes to appropriations.  

ESL Student Gilberta Gonzalez, of United Adult Students, out of Los Angeles, spoke about the need for designated funding and reasons not to shift Adult Ed out of the K12 Adult Schools, as Gov. Brown proposed.  "What is the purpose of this plan?" she asked. "Do they want us to remain in ignorance, going out to work like donkeys?"  She noted that "Our representatives say there is no money but they are spending money on things we don't need."  She finished powerfully:  "We need education and we need it now.  Education is a human right!"  Gilberta received a standing ovation.  Everyone present was moved by her courage and determination to speak the truth and share it with others.  Gilberta won a National Literacy Award in Washington DC last year for her work to save Adult Education in Los Angeles.

Dennis Flynn, co-chair of the conference, ushered in the Mother Lode Feast and Frolic and kept things lively throughout the conference with his train whistle and triangle.  He and Branka Marceta did a bang-up job in providing a conference that was focused on helping all of us help Adult Ed move out of crisis and into renewal.  Big thanks to Dennis, Branka and the whole conference team.  It took a lot of people working together over a long period of time to make that conference happen.

Dawn Koepke, CCAE Legislative Analyst, gave us the big picture as well as some important nuggets to take home and turn to good purpose.

1.   Gov. Brown shifted education to the forefront of the budget - this creates an opportunity for change.  Cyn's note:  We are what is changing and we can affect how we change through our advocacy and coalition building.

2.  Gov. Brown has directed $ into Adult Education.  This is significant.  We don't want the money delivered only through the Community College Districts.  We can speak up about that.  We can work with the Legislature to suggest different delivery formulas.  But the fact that Gov. Brown is directing money toward Adult Ed is a big deal - and a good one.

3.  Many people understand the value of Adult Education and are working to save and rebuild it.  Legislators like Susan Bonilla and Carol Liu, just to name two.  ACSA, CTA and other organizations.  Good communication with our allies is critical.  Continue to work with those who understand and support us.

4.  Policy and budget are two different issues.  The Governor creates a budget and the Legislature approves it (or not).  The Legislature creates policy through laws.  Both the governor and the legislature can and do try to trump each other and/or play each other's game pieces.  But in the balance of power, the budget is the job of the Governor and policy is the job of the Legislature.

5.  Gov. Brown wants education reform.  He wants local control of K12 education.  And now, after our advocacy work for the past four years, he understands that Adult Education matters and he wants to supply Adult Education with designated funding (that's what the 300 million is).  He wants reform.  The good news for us:   reform of Adult Education can now be distinct from reform of K12, because the Governor, the Legislature and the public now understand that Adult Education is a distinct branch of public education and needs its own funding.   Cyn's note:  We need to speak up about what sort of reform we want for Adult Ed. Put on your thinking caps and get out your measuring tapes.  It's policy-shaping-and-making time.

6.  Delivering Adult Education through only one provider can appear to be a beautiful, pure solution.  But in the case of Adult Ed, where that means destroying the long-existent K12 Adult Schools, it isn't.    Cyn's note:  We need to continue to deliver that message to the public, the legislature, and the governor.   Keep the bifurcated delivery system - K12 Adult Schools and the existent CC Adult Ed providers (CCSF, San Diego, etc.).  Provide stable funding.  Polish both delivery systems.

7.  We have lots of support in the Legislature.  They are working on new policy ideas.  These policies need to include both short and long-term money issues.  Cyn's note:  We need to be part of those ideas.  Have an idea?  Get it to someone who makes policy - Legislature, CDE, etc.

8.  Moving forward:  We need to eliminate the shift to CC districts.  Find alternative frameworks.  Stem the bleeding (stops the cuts and closures).  Establish stability.  Release from flex. 

9.  Path to success:  Keep the Heat on!!!

10.  What makes that heat?   What creates the change we want?

Three things:

*  Lobbying and Advocacy
*  Political Action
*  Grassroot Action

So what do we do with all this information?  How do bring it home and put it to use in our own communities, at our own schools, with our own co-workers?

There are all sorts of ways including joining CCAE, signing petitions, assisting students to raise their voices, and building connections in your community.

Talk and connect with others - students, teachers, admin, support staff, community members - about what might work best for you.

With all the cuts and closures, sometimes people lose hope and it can be hard to find others who want to work with you.  Some folks need a jump start.  Maybe YOU are the jump start.  But jump starters need help and support, too.

If you need support or strategies for saving your Adult School and/or rebuilding Adult Ed across the state, reach out for it here:

CCAE - California Council of Adult Education - the only organization representing everyone - students, teachers, administrators, support staff, community members.  Contact CCAE to find out about the local members in your area.

United Adult Students

A4CAS  Alliance for California Adult Schools on Facebook

SMAS on Facebook

COSAS on Facebook and Save Our Adult School blog

Together we can and are turning things around.

Lara from Berkeley

Valli from Independent Learning Center

Branka Marceta, Co-Chair of CCAE State Conference

Gilberta Gonzalez of United Adult Students

SMAS Teachers Patricia, Cynthia & Lisa

If you pics to share and add, leave a comment so we can connect and I can post.  Or email me off the blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment