Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Perspective: Gilberta Gonzalez

At the CCAE - California Council for Adult Education - State Conference in Sacramento last weekend, Gilberta Gonzalez shared her perspective on Adult Education - what's going on, what's at stake, what we need.  Gilberta is an ESL student in Los Angeles.  She is a leader in United Adult Students and last year, she won a National Literacy Award.  She was in Sacramento not just to attend the conference, but to deliver a petition of more than 10,000 signatures collected in just 10 days, a petition for accessible classes and dedicated funding and against Gov. Brown's plan to shift all Adult Education into the Community College system.  

Gilberta Gonzalez

Here is the speech she gave at the conference:

Good afternoon everybody! My name is Gilberta Gonzalez.
I am here as an Adult school student, as a mother, and a community member. Please we need your support because we don’t want Adult Education to be transferred to community colleges. I am going to tell you why.
(Hit the read more link to learn why... )

Gilberta speaking atCCAE
It is  because the community colleges are already overpopulated, and sometimes our children have to wait until the following semester. There aren’t enough classes. Why are some people trying to eliminate adult education from our adult schools? Adult education has existed in Los Angeles area for more than 125 years since 1887. We can trust in this system for adult students, which is par of the school district. We don’t want this system to be destabilized anymore. With this system, we have the flexibility for our schedule with many different classes, at a low cost. We can go to school where they assist some of our children. We can take classes for citizenship to prepare ourselves for an immigration reform which I believe I see ahead in the future. We should reconstruct our adult education programs inside the school district, take and listen to what the adult students have to say about. Don’t reform our adult school program from an office. That would be a mistake! Our programs have been cut for the last 5 years. It’s time to build better bridges between the entry-exit ESL classes and GED and career tech classes. We want our representatives to support designated funding for adult education and respect the purpose of this money. Do not spend it on other things. Last year, we made so many protests, sent letters to our representatives, made phone calls to try to save our adult education programs. The majority of our families pay taxes that every year increases, and we have children in colleges. We contribute to this society in a positive way, so we deserve an adult education system for everybody. Let me tell you that some of us in the community have low education, and if we go to the community colleges, we would feel uncomfortable. In this case, people may quit trying to get an education, or what’s the purpose of this plan of trying to move the adult programs from our adult schools. Is it because some people want us to remain in ignorance, so we don’t participate and ask for our rights? Do they want us to be followers like donkeys going out to work, knowing and saying nothing? Let me tell you, I went to a community college already. When I was studying child development at Friedman Occupational Center, they closed my class after 3 months because of the cuts. So, I enrolled in a community college, and I had to quit. Why? I dropped out because I did not feel comfortable. I know I was with adults but a different kind. Students at community colleges have a different experience. The majority of them are not parents like us. Most of them are young adults without much responsibility. Most of them were born here or came when they were very young. We supported Prop 30 because we wanted this to make a permanent fund of money for programs starting with early childhood education to adult education. We need a new good system for all education. Our representatives in Los Angeles say that there is no money, but they are spending money on things that we don’t need. We need education and we need it NOW. Education means progress for our community. Education is a human right. Thank you very much!

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