Sunday, January 5, 2014

CFT California Teacher Magazine Article on Adult Ed - and Why We Need More Press Coverage

The November/December 2013 issue of the California Federation of Teacher's magazine, "California Teacher," contains the article, "New Regional Consortia Meld Programs." (Page 4)

Full disclosure:  I wrote the article.  I am also a member of CFT.

My thoughts:  I'm glad I could write it.  I'm glad CFT ran it.  I'm glad for the coverage of Adult Ed.

There is still inadequate understanding and coverage of Adult Education.

Edsource has not run an article about Adult Ed in a long while - and it needs to.

There has been little or no coverage of Adult Ed in the mainstream print media - LA Times, SF Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, etc. for a while now.

Meanwhile, big changes are taking place with little or no public understanding or input.

Hit the "read more" to learn more.

SB 173 - the bill which CFT opposes and CCAE supports goes before a joint Education and Higher Education Assembly Committees hearing on January 22nd. 

Some Adult Schools have flouted SB 91 and closed or further downsized their Adult Schools.

The goo that is Adult Ed post-flexibility is slowly morphing into a new Regional Consortia system.

The applications for the new RC may or may not be out yet (I don't actually know) and they are "expected to be due" (no actual deadline yet) the end of February (that's next month, folks).

There's a new GED in town and it's very different and more expensive and in California, provided by for-profit Pearson and not all Adult Ed programs (be they K12 Adult Schools or CC Non-Credit) are adequately prepared to help students pass it.  (There has been press coverage of the GED changes - but little mention of the fact that not all states are going with Pearson and that California may not stay with Pearson.)

CCSF faces loss of accreditation and there are numerous lawsuits and changes at work - but rarely (if at all) is there any mention that CCSF is the provider of Adult Ed in San Francisco and it is so very big not just because it is a community college but because it is also the provider of Adult Ed - which is going through huge changes right now!   There's never any coverage pointing out that if CCSF were to go under this would affect how Adult Ed is delivered in San Francisco and that because the RC morphing into being at the same time and CCSF is not part of that process, this might result in a big stinking mess.

Things are changing - fast.

And yet most Californians are not really aware of any of this.

Do they need to be?

Can they be - in the midst of getting kids back to school and finding or keeping a job or relationship or coping with climate change or cancer or simply putting away all the Christmas decorations? Really?  While also tackling New Year's resolutions and watching the Winter Olympics and getting the oil changed or the bus pass purchased?  Really?  And figuring out how to use those new Covered California benefits and finding time to help with homework and losing the weight gained over the holidays?  Yeah?

We all have a lot going on.

However, it is the job of the press to provide us with the information we need to make informed choices.

If we make poor choices, that's on us.

But we don't stand the chance to make good ones if we don't have good information on which to make them.

Education is changing - swiftly.

Not just Adult Ed but K-12, Preschool, Community College, University.  What they offer, how they're funded, who they serve, what they serve - it's changing.

It's important that the public see more than the part of the puzzle they may be holding in their hand.

It's important they realize that their piece is part of a larger puzzle - and to really understand and solve it we need to see and get our hands on all the pieces.

Only then can we have the perspective needed to see the big picture and decide what we think and feel about it.

Because it's not just a theoretical puzzle we're working on.

It's not a rhetorical question.

It's our future.

As a people.

One we have some role in the making.

And absolutely will be living unless things go otherwise in which case please enjoy the now.

So my thoughts, having written that article:

We need more of them.

Please ask your local and larger press - print, radio, online, tv, whathaveyou - to look into and cover the changes unfolding in Adult Education.

Remind them that Adult Ed is part of a larger whole - Public Education - which is undergoing deep change.

Remind them that to truly understand that change, we need to see all the pieces.

Adult Ed is a very important piece. 

The fact it serves communities often highest in need and lowest in financial power does not mean it is less deserving of press coverage.

In fact, it is more deserving of press coverage because it is in such areas that we often first see signs of new directions and new policies.

Everyone - not just current and future users of the Adult Ed system - needs to know what is happening in Adult Ed.

Journalists, are you listening?  YOU are important piece of the puzzle, too.

And we need you.

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