Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Good and Plenty to Celebrate

San Mateo Adult School wearing REd for Adult Ed
and celebrating the good news in the May Revise
(Photo Credit:  Tom Jung)

Check out that great photo of San Mateo Adult School, decked out in REd for Adult Ed, celebrating the GOOD in Gov. Brown's May Revise!

What's the GOOD, you ask?  We'll get to that.

First, remember this?  "Good and Complicated Budget Update"

That was the blog post about Gov. Brown's first go at the budget.  Way back in January.

Can you believe all we've done since then?

That's the FIRST THING to celebrate. 

The way we've mobilized.  Petitions, t-shirts, letters, emails, trips to Sacramento, essays, bumper stickers, rings around school districts, postcards.  We not only found our voice, we used it to deliver a clear message to Sacramento:  Adult Education matters!  We need designated funding!  Keep the K12 Adult Schools!

The Governor heard.  And responded.  REMEMBER THAT.  Hold that truth in your mind and your heart.  You have power.  We have power.  Does it take effort and time and energy to use it?  Of course!  Should it be used to create and maintain good?  Yes!  Because the wild thing is:  We always have power.  It's just a matter of what we do with it.  Do we stuff it, deny it, bury it, give it away?  Or we do focus it, share it, use it for good?   Remember that, too:  YOU ALWAYS HAVE POWER.  What are you doing with yours?

But wait!  There's more!

Look at how we've come together.  The fact we now have A4CAS helping to forge connections around the state between Adult Schools.  The increased communication between K12 Adult Schools and Community College Non-Credit Programs.  The way schools are sharing resources, strategies, and strength to keep Adult Education alive across the state.  Powerful, hunh?

We always did it in our classrooms.  We did it in our schools and communities when Hurricane Housing Crash hit and the roof started falling in.  Now we've learned to do it across the state.  We're powerful - and we're more powerful together.

Keep all that in mind as we review the May Revise which you can find here:

Summary of the May Revise (click on "Higher Education" - the section on Adult Ed begins on p 24)

The A4CAS blog post with the Adult Education portion of the May Revise.

Here are the main points with my bits. 

(Full disclosure: I am not a policy person!  I'm doing all I can to grok this as I go along, learning as I go.)

  • Proposes to restructure and delay the Adult Education proposal included in the Governor's budget. This pause will reduce the level of uncertainty for existing K12 education providers, while providing additional time to program governance and program delivery changes.

  • Okay, so Adult Ed is not immediately being crammed inside the Community College system which was not ready for it, anyway, and where most Adult Schools did not want to go.

  • Maintains status quo for existing K12 and Community College programs for two years. Maintains the existing apportionment structure and funding remains in place for existing Community College programs.

  • This part is trickier...  what about the Adult Schools that were scheduled to close?  What's going to help them survive in those 2 years?   The strong ones will be okay.  All schools will have 2 years to get ready for...

  • School Districts retain their authority to independently continue their existing adult education programs. Over time, it is expected they will join a regional adult education consortium, described below, to gain access to additional dedicated adult education funding and to ensure coordination with other local adult education providers.

  • First... Yaaaaayyy!!  School districts retain their authority over their Adult School programs!   And they will have 2 years to get ready for a regional consortium... through which they will receive...

    get ready for it...


  • Transitions to a new Adult Education partnership program comprised of regional adult education providers, who jointly determine what programs to offer their communities and how best to allocate additional state resources for this purpose.

  • Sounds like Allies, right?  Sounds like Unity in REd for Adult Ed!  I am sure it will take some time to figure that out.  And wisdom, and smarts, and big-picture thinking, and remembering at all times that Adult Education exists to serve the community, the students, the people of California, now and into the future. 

  • Includes $30 million Prop 98 General Fund in 2013-14 for two-year planning and implementation grants and $500 million Prop 98 General Fund in 2014-15 to fund Adult Education schools jointly operated by regional consortia of community colleges and school districts.

  • We've got some time and money to figure things out.

  • The districts making up each consortium must maintain their current level of spending for Adult Education in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and into the future to receive the new funding. 

  • To get the big money, districts need to have an Adult School that is open.  What money will help Adult Schools to STAY open in the meantime?  Especially, as Chris Nelson points out, schools like Oakland that are hanging on by a thread?  That's a good - and important - question.  (Thinking caps - put them on!  Ideas, questions, suggestions - share them - with each other, Legislators, the Governor, CDE, CCAE, CFT, and Districts in Crisis. I think there needs to be a special website or FB page for "Districts in Crisis.")

  • Available funding will be prioritized to critical areas of instruction. As a result, only instruction in ESL, citizenship, HS diploma, GED, and workplace education will be eligible for funding through the new program. Instruction in parenting, home economics and instruction for older adults will not be eligible for funding. 

  • Uh oh...  Older Adults and Parenting are not part of this funding.

    Okay.  Hmmm...  Problem.   How to address?  Ask for amendments?  Develop a case for a new and separate funding stream specific to those programs?   Begin to collect evidence that such programs are needed, especially as the Boomers do the hustle into Retirement and Obamacare goes into effect? 
    Those are BIG and IMPORTANT questions for a separate blog post and for YOUR REFLECTION.

    Meantime, for your enjoyment, because we are trying to celebrate here...

    I'm pretty sure everyone in this video
     would appreciate being able to take an Older Adults class -
    if such classes are available.
    And something else... those Boomers?  Those folks are dang good at speaking up.
    You watch.  They'll be speaking up all right.  They always do.
    I don't care if they are eighteen or eighty.  Boomers are always about speaking up.
    Watch out.
    There is definitely more money and support for Adult Education.  Perhaps Parent Ed and Older Adults can survive as part of stronger programs, and/or in part funded through fees.  Or support from organizations like the Arthritis Foundation as Irma Becerra Nunez has done in Los Angeles. 

    Again...  these are important matters that deserve your consideration and a separate blog post.  Leave a comment if you'd like to write one.  Contributions welcome!

    Meanwhile, back again, to the bulk of the plan.

    Here's a good article from Edsource about it:

    "Governor Tries to Fix Adult Ed Plan, but Controversy Remains" - Edsource

    And here's Bob Harper's insightful comment on the article (shared with permission):

    "The incentives to have greater collaboration between the delivery systems – articulated pathways, common assessments, referral procedures, integrated basic skills training – and bringing in additional community partners (the Workforce Investment Boards, community based-organizations, private sector) is welcome. It is exactly what the CDE’s strategic plan for adult education recommended. It is what was proposed by the LAO’s report last December. It is in alignment to the targeted outcomes for 2014-2015 of the Workforce Investment Act and the National Reporting System. It is already pursued in many places in the state, including the Silicon Valley ALLIES Initiative in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. It is hugely significant that the Governor and the DOF have been responsive to all the advocacy and dialogue on the last four months. It is also true that unless dedicated funding assures that K-12 adult schools continue to deliver services the “consortia” planned for 2015-2016 will be greatly diminished in capacity and expertise. Having 30 million to prepare partnerships, like ALLIES, is a great step. Unless K-12 has standalone funding as LCFF moves forward it is likely that the “unintended destructive consequences” will continue unabated and increase in pace. I surely hope it really is unintended. I must also point out that the $634 million “before the recession” is incorrect. In 2008 there was almost $750 million that supported adult learners in adult schools, and another $200 million that supported non-credit adult education programs in community colleges. What was $950 million in 2008 (which was insufficient to the demand then) becomes $500 million in 2015, with the possibility that the expertise, focus, and outcomes of the K-12 systems have eroded away by then. The legislature and the Governor will continue to work on this; I am confident they will understand that having collaboration between the two systems, adequately resourced, will mean that the critical capacity will be in place to provide low skilled adults with literacy, job skills, and immigrant integration." - Bob Harper, in response to Edsource article.

    The Internet is ablaze with articles about the Revise, responses to the Revise, and ideas about how it can be improved.

    Here's a very, very short one:

    Sac Bee Capitol Alert - Gov. Brown announcing May Revise (with video)

    And some video of Gov. Brown presenting it:

    Let's move from Brown to what he was talking about at the start of his speech: 

    Californians who need and deserve our support.

    Here's La Escuelita Family Literacy Program of Oakland, fabulous lin their REd for Unity for Adult Ed:

    They are the little acorn that remains of Oakland Adult School's once mighty program, which served over 20,000 people, 20,000 which still live there, by the way, 20,000 in need of Adult Education.

    It's the little acorn we all need to support, as it makes every effort to survive so that Oakland - and California - can thrive.

    To support La Escuelita, and Oakland, and every other community across this great state, means continuing to use our skill and power, our wisdom and smarts to work together and deliver the message:

    Adult Education Matters.

    That's the good news. 

    That we can and are doing this.  That we have the skill and the power and the will to speak up.

    That Sacramento is at the table with us.  Listening.

    That change is happening.  Good change.

    Is there more to do?


    But that's okay.  That's life.  That's what we're here for.

    And that's good and plenty to celebrate, all by itself.

    But of course... there is more...  so can we hear that good news one more time?

    K12 Adult Schools - remain open!

    Designated Funding - is coming!  (We'd love it if it came sooner!)

    Adult Education matters and more and more people know it - including Gov. Brown!

    We hear you, Governor.  There's a budget surplus.  Don't eat it all now.  Use it wisely. 
    We agree. 
    And we remind you and the Legislature: 
    It's your job to make sure it's shared fairly.
    After all, we're the ones who paid for the candy.

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