Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Adult Education 2014: Springing Forward

This spring, there is a wealth of
action for Adult Education, including:

SMAS Student Leaders
Hitomi, Marco, Marina
in Red Adult Education Matters T-shirts
March 1:  CCAE Bay Section Conference

There is lots of good stuff to be had at this Conference, including San Mateo Adult School Student Leaders Hitomi,Marco, Marina presenting a workshop on School and Community Leadership.

San Mateo Adult School will be selling t-shirts and buttons
at the Conference. 

T-shirts are ten dollars and
buttons are one dollar.

The San Mateo Adult School ESL Student Councils run these sales.
Their involvement and advocacy has been invaluable.

The Network for Public Education is a new organization of grassroots folks working for better public education.  It was started by Diane Ravitch, author of Reign of Error. 

This is NPE's first conference.  You can watch it livestreamed here.

I'm going.  My aim is to carry the message of Adult Education - it's value and the challenges it faces - to the conference.  I hope to learn from others, as well.

What message do you want me to take to the conference?

March 3rd:  The March in March for Public Education

The annual March in March to remind the Governor and the State Legislator that education is a right and should be accessible to all.

CCSF and San Mateo Adult School ESL Teacher Bruce Neuberger is going.  Students or staff who want to go should contact Bruce at SMAS or via his Lettuce Wars Facebook page.

If you would like to ride the bus to Sacramento, fill out the attached form:

March 7 and 8:  OTAN Technology & Distance Learning Symposium

David Rosen
OTAN is the Outreach and Technical Assistance Network for Adult Educators.  It is funded through the CDE (California Dept of Ed) and the US Dept of Ed. 

David Rosen will be the keynote speaker.  He is an expert on using technology in Adult Education - and on understanding the need for Adult Learners to gain tech skills.  All this connects to the PIACC.

If you don't know about PIACC, learn now

March 9:  Daylight Savings Time

March  10 – 14:  Adult Education Week

Last year, San Mateo Adult School pulled out all the stops for this event

This year, there will again be a celebration, including an essay and poster contest.

US Dept of Education Asst. Secretary
Brenda Dann-Messier meeting with
SMAS students and staff
Change is happening on not just the state but the national level.  This webinar is a great opportunity to be part of shaping that change.  Read more here.

Learn about PIAAC - a worldwide survey about Adult Skills,
how the US scored in that survey, and how the results are
shaping the direction of Adult Ed in the US and elsewhere.

SMAS Students Iglika, Hitomi, Marina, Natalia,
and SMAS Assistant Director Tim Doyle
at CCAE Leg Day
March 19:  CCAE Leg Day      
This is an opportunity to meet and talk with legislators about Adult Education

San Mateo Adult School will be going, bringing students, as it did last year.

March 21-23:  CFT Convention
San Mateo Adult School teachers and some other Adult School teachers belong to CFT - the California Federation of Teachers Union (part of AFT - American Federation of Teachers).

California has two teachers unions - CFT and CTA (California Teachers Association).

This is CFT's big annual convention.

What’s the tie in with Adult Education? 

CFT is working to make sure
     *  Teachers have a voice in the new Regional Consortia.  In some areas, teachers are part of the planning process.  In others, they aren't.  Without both internal and external pressure to include teacher, student, and community voice, it will be very easy to exclude them in the name of efficiency.

     *  Keep public ed public – fighting privatization in public education.   Privatization is a risk in the new Regional Consortia structure if private interests set themselves up as CBOs (community based organizations) in order to get a piece of the funding pie.  The new GED is a for-profit endeavor.  The future of this GED is not certain, by the way, and has not been adopted by all districts (or all states). 

April:  CATESOL Regional Conferences

CATESOL is California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

These conferences include not only professional development but discussion about Adult Education and advocacy.

April 8 Assembly Budget Subcommittee #2

Assembly Budget Subcommittee #2 is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, April 8th at 9:00 a.m. in State Capitol, Room 444.   The subcommittee will discuss adult education in the context of budget needs
Tuesday, April 8th at 9:00 a.m. in State Capitol, Room 444.

April 29th Tuesday Senate Budget Subcommittee #1

Thanks to CCAE Legislative Analyst Dawn Koepke for the following information:

Senate Budget Subcomitee #1 will meet on Tuesday, April 29th upon adjournment of Senate session in State Capitol, Room 3191. While the budget doesn't currently contemplate funding in the upcoming budget year, the Committees and their staff understand the critical needs on the horizon and their relationship to the discussions around the AB 86 regional consortia. This hearing will be an opportunity to provide an update on the key issues of importance to the K-12 adult education community as well as discuss the regional consortia efforts. 

You can listen to the Subcommittee meetings here:
On the day of the hearing, click on that link and then on the subcommittee you want to listen to.

April 28 and 29:  CFT Lobby Days

Many Adult Educators, in both Community College Non-Credit and in K12 Adult Schools, belong to CFT.   The CFT Lobby Days will be opportuntities to discuss specifically Adult Education oriented issues as well as larger Public Education issues with California Legislators.  I intend to attend the Lobby Day on the 29th.  I am the secretary of our CFT Local.

April 24, 25 26:  CCAE State Conference

The conference will include not only professional development, but discussion about Adult Education - past, present, and future, including the new Regional Consortia system, advocacy, and  the needs and concerns of K-12 Adult Schools.

In the past five years, K-12 Adult Schools have faced many challenges - and continue to face them.  CCAE continues to stand up for Adult Schools and to call attention to their value and the challenges they face.

Tom Torlakson, Superintendent of the California Dept of Education, will be speaking Saturday morning at the Conference.  (Change of plans  His assistant will be speaking.)


Looking over these many events, I'm struck by a few things:

1.  Nothing exists in isolation.  Every action, every event, connects to other actions and events. To be effective, it is helpful to see and understand the big picture.

2.  Just as the CCAE State Conference theme notes... we are sailing into uncharted waters... and yet, as uncharted as they may be, they are not entirely unknown.  We may not have a map, but we do have some understanding of the sea.  We can talk to other sailors and visitors from lands across the sea.
By looking at the big picture, thinking about the past, and connecting with others, we can see some of what is ahead and guess about more.  We can also build support, make alliances, and prepare for various possibilities.

3.  It is very important to understand the PIAAC and the big picture.  California is a leader in many ways and California is different in many ways but it is not an island on the moon.  It is part of the United States of America which has a US Department of Education which has a Department of Adult and Vocational Ed.  And the United States is part of a global community and economy.   We in California need to understand what is happening around the world and across the country in terms of Adult Education, Adult Skills, and the economy.  If we do, we can continue to be a leader in these areas.  If we don't, we won't. 

4.  The economy is not just about jobs.   For many months, I have mulled several posts on this topic and one day soon I hope to write them.  For now, I will just say that the river has two banks - an economic bank and a social bank.  A culture with a lucrative economy but many social ills will spend profits on prisons, juvenile justice, and high health care costs.  Sound familiar?   It doesn't have to be that way.  We can create an economy where the profits go to create stability and health, now and into the future. 

5.   Follow the money.  You will note that in the post about OTAN, I mentioned who funds them - the CDE and the US Dept of Ed (nothing wrong there!).  Education is changing.  It's not always publically funded anymore.  This is one of the crossroads we face as a culture.  How do we define education?  Who is it for?   Who pays for it?  These are important questions.  In pondering them, it is helpful to research who funds things.  On many websites, you can find that out by clicking on the "about blah-blah" link.  Sometimes the answer is easy - the California Department of Education.  Sometimes the answer is a rabbit hole and you have to keep clicking links until at last you come to a private donor.  Then you have to Wikipedia that donor to find out who they are and what their real agenda might be.  Thanks to technology, you can do all that from the comfort of your couch.

Then you can get ready to

6.  Spring forward for Adult Education because as challenging as some of this is...  none of it is without hope.  Life is about change.  That's how you know something is alive - it's changing.   Skill and engagement - mind and heart in action - help us shape that change.

There is plenty of good news here.  Plenty of good opportunity for good effort that can bring good result.

Let us spring forward.


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