Saturday, June 14, 2014

Grassroots Adult Education Meeting: Sat, June 21

Grassroots Adult Education Meeting:
Telling Our Stories, Planning for the Future

Grassroots advocates for California's adult schools from all over the state will meet to discuss how to save adult education, which is now severely at risk.
We are a network of California adult school students and teachers together with community advocates who have been working to save the state's adult schools since 2008, when adult schools began to close due to severe budget cuts.We give many hours of our own time every week because adult schools are a vital resource for California communities, particularly low income communities.  Adult schools offer a second chance at a high school diploma, preparation for high school completion tests like the GED, the equivalent of an elementary school education for adults who never had the chance to get one, English classes for California’s large immigrant population, classes that help adults with disabilities live independently, Parent Education classes that strengthen families and support children, and programs that keep seniors active, healthy and giving back to their communities.  Through rallies, letter writing, phone, and social media campaigns, and meetings with elected officials, we have contributed to successful campaigns to keep adult schools open in California. While California’s system of adult schools is battered, it is still standing; there is a foundation left to build upon.  We are proud to know that we helped preserve this irreplaceable educational system for all Californians.

Hit the "read more" link to learn more.

At first we were all working alone in our own communities, but gradually we found out about each other and began to connect, mostly through social media.  Now the Great Recession is finally over, and California is enjoying a recovery. But adult school programs in some communities are still closing their doors, and the entire state is in danger of losing some highly effective programs such as Parent Education courses and classes for  Older Adults.  Adult schools in California are in a precarious position, with no guaranteed source of funding
after 2015.  It’s time for us to meet!
Your contribution to our meeting could help save adult education in California for future generations. The Grassroots Adult Education Meeting in Berkeley, California will draw together adult school students and teachers, elected officials, the media, academics, and community members to discuss the future of California’s adult schools.  Student voices and leadership will take center stage, because, during the storm that has raged around adult education for more than half a decade, students have rarely been asked about their needs and wants.  The meeting will raise awareness about the value of adult schools and the ways, good and bad, that new state education policies are affecting them. Elected officials and other community leaders will have an opportunity to commit to adult education and explain what they can do to help. Adult school advocates will have a chance to get to know each other better and strategize about how to work together more powerfully. We expect that about 200 people will attend.
Our $800 budget will be entirely spent on the basic expenses of putting on the meeting and some features that will make it easier and more comfortable for our most important participants, adult school students, to attend.  Our space is donated, but we will have to pay for a custodian and for supplies.  To make the conference more accessible for adult school students and others with young families, we will provide babysitting for pre-school age children and serve a simple but nutritious lunch.  All funds raised will be spent on the meeting. If we do not reach our goal, the meeting will still be held; we will just have to cut back on what we can provide.
All donors will be thanked at the conference, and donors’ names will appear on the agenda for the day as supporters of the meeting.
Upon request,  all donors will be sent a copy of our power point about the history and current situation of adult education.
For a contribution of $25 or more , we will send you a  beautiful red Communities Organized to Support Adult School (COSAS) tee shirt, with the COSAS logo (Educated Parents=Educated Children=Educated Workforce=Educated Communities=Educated World) on the front and a raised fist holding a pencil on the back.  Great to wear every Tuesday, which is Wear Red for Adult Ed day!
Adult schools are so tightly woven into the fabric of  everyday life that they are often not noticed. But it is likely that there are few families in California that have not been touched by adult school in one way or another. Did one of your parents or grandparents learn English in an adult school?  Did you?  Do you have a family member that earned a high school diploma or GED through an adult school program?  Do you know anyone who received job training or retraining through an adult school? Did you ever take a CPR or First Aid course through an adult school, or a class that helped you prepare to cope with a disaster in your community? Did you ever take an adult school foreign language class, or an adult school exercise class that helped you deal with a debilitating injury?  Adult school is for you.
We have seven years of experience with saving adult schools for all Californians.  We have put on events successfully before, including candidates’ nights and an Adult Education Summit.  We have analyzed legislation, met with elected officials, and testified before legislative committees.  We have learned an enormous
amount about politics, mostly by the seat of our pants.  Help us take our advocacy to the next level so we can preserve a system that has served California well for more than 150 years.
Even if you can’t donate, please share information about our campaign with others.  We appreciate any help you can give us!
Thank you!

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