Sunday, May 5, 2013

When Even A CATESOL Conference Includes Workshops About Advocacy...

The CATESOL 2013 Northern Regional Conference was held today at the Loma Visa Adult Center, Mt. Diablo Adult School.

CATESOL stands for California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

What does that have to do with Adult Education?

At a Conference that is more typically about pronunciation, reading, writing, and cultural context, there were three - count them three - workshops - plus a rap session - about the challenges facing Adult Education.

Just as the student rallies and letters and petitions around the state show us there is a real student desire for access to Adult Education, this change in a professional conference tells us there is a real desire amongst teachers to renew Adult Education before it's too late.

This desire is not a Madison Avenue manufactured glossy photo-op. 

We're seeing real movement and real change because of a rise in need that cannot be faked.

And make no mistake, where there is real desire, there is always real action.  And where there is real action, there is real result.

More on that in a minute.  First, here are the workshops that pertained to Adult Ed:

(hit the "read more" to learn about the workshops and some ideas of what this all means)

The War on Public Education: Its Significance to CATESOL Members 
Terry Doyle, City College of San Francisco Panel presentation and discussion

A WASC-affiliated and privately funded accreditation team has ordered my college to “show cause” as to why we should stay open. How do such politically motivated demands affect our schools, teaching practices, and students? The presenter will discuss the results of a survey of CATESOL members about such issues.

Mr. Doyle teaches non-credit ESL at CCSF.  As we need to keep helping folks understand:  non-credit IS adult education.  In a few places in California, Adult Education is delivered through the Community College districts, and San Francisco is one of those places.  Their non-credit classes are Adult Education classes.  Mr. Doyle discussed the challenges CCSF has faced with accreditation and
challenges all branches of public education currently face.

Adult Level Rap 
Sue Pon, Oakland Unified School District, Family Literacy Program Rap

At this rap session, participants will be informed of pending state legislation pertinent to adult level teachers. In addition, participants will learn about great CATESOL resources including local chapters, workshops, awards, and list serves. Finally, we will discuss recruitment and retention ideas to strengthen adult ESL programs.

Teachers broke into groups - and the group largest in number was the group focused on Adult Ed activism.  Teachers suggested what they needed to know to take the next step forward in advocacy for Adult Ed.  Strategies, experience, ideas, and emails were shared.

A Collaborative Vision for Serving Adult Learners 
Gregory Keech, City College of San Francisco Bob Harper, Campbell Adult and Community Education Panel presentation and discussion 

This round table panel discussion brings together educators from community colleges and adult schools to discuss the best ways to serve adult learners in the light of legislative proposals for change. The intention is to share a vision of how sectors could successfully define roles and expertise to serve students. 

The workshop concluded with the desire to take it further and brainstorm on how Adult Educators can work together and support each other, whether they are embedded in K12 or Community College systems.

Advocating for California’s Adult Schools: A Panel Discussion 
Kristen Pursley, West Contra Costa Adult Education Marilyn Noble, Oakland Adult Education Cynthia Eagleton, San Mateo Adult Education Panel presentation and discussion.
This panel discussion will cover what has been done to save California’s adult schools and what remains to be done, with a question and answer session and opportunity for attendees to share their ideas.   (Full disclosure:  I am Cynthia Eagleton!)

More good discussion on how teachers can engage in advocacy for Adult Ed. 

Final thoughts:

True desire can be manipulated but never faked.

There is true desire for a good public education system.

There is true desire for Adult Education.

What will that desire result in?

Just what sort of Adult Education will be delivered and to whom and at what price?

Those are questions we need to engage in answering

Don't make the mistake of thinking all the answers come from Sacramento.

While it is the Governor's job to create a budget and the Legislature's job to create policy, it is our job to know and express our needs.

Desire determines direction.

Tell your legislator what you want.

Write the Governor.

Consider the choices and make your choice.

Sign a petition.  Express an opinion.  Take a stand.

Desire is powerful fuel.

Desire for something that is good and healthy and to the benefit of all is a gift.

Don't give it away.

Honor that gift with real action and you will never be disappointed.

Because while it hurts to be disappointed by others, it hurts far more to be disappointed by yourself.

And to fail to speak up about our need for a renewal of Adult Education would be doing just that.

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