Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Seated At The Table, With A Glass Half-Full of Victory

After five long years, we got a seat at the table

- with a glass half-full of victory!

Here's the final update from the victorious

Pull up a chair and sit down. 

There's a napkin here with your name on it and on it, you've got a glass.

Drink up:

1.  Adult Ed continues and will continue.  With designated funding.  And for the moment, for all programs.

2.  The Legislative Trailer Bill - that's the stuff the Legislature adds to the Budget - includes

MOEs for CTE and adult education

     CTE means Career Tech Training.

     MOE means "maintenance of effort."

That means Districts MUST KEEP Adult Schools open.


Let me repeat:  If an Adult School was open in 2012-13... it has to STAY open... and at the same funding.

Districts are free to fund it at a higher level.   And maybe they will, with increased money flowing in from Prop 30.

That will vary from district to district, and not in a sit back and watch TV kind of way.  But in a maybe you need to get involved in your district kind of way.

Hit the "read more" link to learn more.

3.  In 2015-16, everything will switch back to ADA - that means "average daily attenance."   That's also called "butts in chairs" and is pretty much how public education has always been figured out in California.  If a student's butt is in the chair (and hopefully, their head in a book or similar), the state pays the school money for the chair and the book.  Etc.

4.  In the meantime, everyone will be getting ready for:

Regional Consortia.  In 2014-15, K12 Adult Schools will work together with Community Colleges and other providers of Adult Education, including correctional facilities, in groups.  You know what region means - an area.  A consortium is a group of somethingerothers.  Consortia is the fancy Latin plural for more than one of them.

5.  Every consortium has to have at least one Community College District and at least one K12 School District.  Either one of them can be the fiscal agent (the banker).

6.  Starting in 2015-16, Adult Ed providers MUST PROVIDE

*  Basic Skills, including High School Diploma and GED
ESL, Citizenship, and Workforce Prep for Immigrants
Education programs for Adults with Disabilities
Short-term Careet Tech Ed with high-income potential
Programs for apprentices.

7.  You will notice that Older Adults and Parent Ed are not listed.   My thoughts on that:

*  Sounds like work for us to do
*  Many Older Adults programs may fall under the heading of Adults with Disabilities (those are my thoughts, not official thoughts)

8.  Also, each consortium has to have a plan that includes current needs for Adult Education and current offerings.   Parent Ed and Older Adults are real needs.  There are many needs.  It's up to us to to figure them out and speak up about them.

9.  There will be 500 million dollars in 2015-16 for Adult Education.  That's the Designated Funding.  Ding, ding, ding, ding.  We did it, folks.  We did it.

10.  We're powerful.  We the people are powerful. 

And we created a system that is amazing, maddening, messy, flexible, balanced, unpredictable, and in constant flux.  Just like us.

We did our part.  We spoke up. 

The Legislature did theirs.  They listened.  Hugely.  Assemblymember Bonilla and Senator Liu and many, many others heard us and spoke up for us. 

They deserve our thanks.

Brown listened, too.  While he did not agree to the Assembly's budget plan, which would have given Adult Ed designated funding now, he did agree to Designated Funding.  He did acknowledge the worth of Adult Education and the communities it serves.

If you want to read more about the Brown part of all this, check out the SF Chronicle article, "Budget Confirms Jerry Brown's Influence." 

We are the government we complain so much about.

We are the system.

We made it.  We own it.  We use it.

Or we fail to.

Because we used it, because we spoke up, things are different.

Things are better.

Why did I call this "glass half full of" and not just


Because, first of all, look in your glass.

That's real victory there.

A real victory where once there was loss, despair, apathy and closure after closure after closure.

And why the half full?

Because it's not perfect.

Nothing ever is.

And here's the thing:

That's often the focus, isn't it?  What isn't perfect.  What we need to change yet.  What wasn't done, needs to be done, and wants doing.

But see this:

It was by seeing our worth that we changed things.

Needs are only important when they maintain something of worth.

Like us.

We the people matter.

Therefore, our needs do.

Let's remember that.

As we move into the next phase, and move we must, let's remember that our power begins with seeing our worth.

When it comes to humanity, the glass is always half full.

We're powerless only when we think it isn't.

Easy to do when you miss the truth that we're all in the glass.
Ponder that.

This has been a powerful and empowering journey for me and so many.

Thanks to every one of you who signed.  Your signatures mattered.

Thanks to Alliance for California Adult Schools and Save Our Adult School and United Adult Students.

Thanks to CCAE and ACSA.

Thanks to Edsource and CATESOL and the LA Times and KQED ESL Insights and the San Mateo Daily Journal.

Thanks to our heroes and horoines in the Legislature and the Legislative Analyst Office and the Department of Finance and Tom Torlakson ("If aint' broke, don't fix it!) and the California Department of Education.

Thanks to School Districts who stood tall with their Adult Schools and kept them open.  Oakland, we salute you.

Thanks to students and teachers and administrators and community members who wrote letters and banged on pots and pans and wore red t-shirts and sent postcards and went to Sacramento and lit candles and gathered ten thousand signatures and came up with our own plans and made videos and spoke up when speaking up seemed like a pointless thing to do as school after school after school shrank, shrivelled, and closed.

To the students no longer served... to the teachers who lost their jobs... to the communities who lost their schools... 

I lift my glass, and tip it, and spill some victory on the ground. 

May your schools be re-opened.  May you lift your voices and gather facts and figures and evidence.  And may we help you.

Every community needs and deserves Adult Education.  We are that fourth leg keeping things stable.  We are needed because you are. 

We've done and established so much.  We have new skills, new partnerships, new alliances.

Let's go forward and use them -

                 as a people, for the people.

Here's to us.

Here's to you.

With deep thanks,


Thanks too, to the folks at Move On, for creating such a free, easy, and effective means for the people to speak.  You can start your own petition by clicking here.

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