Thursday, December 18, 2014

All Out For Berkeley Adult School

Destabilization leads to problems.

Destabilization makes an individual, a group, or an institution vulnerable to disease, infiltration, attack, and at worst, death or extinction.

Stabilization not only keeps the individual, group or institution strong, it enables the individual, group or institution to provide shelter, support, and sustenance to others. 

Help or harm - in domino effect.

Hit the "read more" link to see how that plays out in Berkeley.

All K12 Adult Schools have been destabilized since Governor Schwartzenegger flexed their funding in 2009.

This has led to over 70 Adult Schools closing and all of them shrinking.  There is now a Charter Adult School in the Sacramento Area.  And private enterprises consider Adult Education a prime market to enter and expand.  "While adult education has long been a “hidden” market, its programs often “shoved off in a corner,” all that seems to be changing, says to Pearson SVP Jason Jordan. “Suddenly it’s becoming a much more interesting marketplace.'"

Berkeley Adult School Faces A New Challenge and Potential Crisis

The uncertainty of funding for K12 Adult Schools may be one reason the Berkeley School District is considering moving the Berkeley Adult School out of its campus entirely or in part in order to find space for an increasing number of Elementary School students.

Do Elementary School students need and deserve space?  Of course, they do.

Does a community need and deserve an Adult School?  Absolutely.

Shrinking or dismantling an Adult School, as we can see through what has happened in Oakland and Los Angeles, does not help children, families, and communities thrive and achieve, academically or otherwise.

San Mateo Adult School Student Advocate Marina Kravtsova expressed that very well in her op-ed, "My Dilemma," in the San Mateo Daily Journal.  A similar but less serious situation exists in San Mateo where the D-Tech Charter School is seeking a new, temporary, or permanent home.  Marina is an Adult Learner, a mother, and the new CCAE Student Rep in the AB86 Workgroup.  She knows that "Parents’ education strongly affects children’s ability to adapt to their new country and succeed in their school life."

Immigrant parents know that in order for their kids succeed, they, themselves, the parents, need education and support

And half of all kids in California public schools have a foreign-born parent!  But does the Berkeley School District know this?

The Berkeley School District May Take Over the Berkeley Adult School Campus

Here's a blurb from the Berkeley Adult School Facebook page about what BAS is facing:

"Students - it's time to mobilize, advocate and save the integrity of Berkeley Adult School. Superintendent Dr. Donald Evans recommended to the School Board that a new elementary school be opened at the Adult School site and the dedicated Adult School site be eliminated. This was Option #7 among several options considered, which can be found on page 72 of the Agenda Packet (go to and click on School Board to find documents). Option #7 calls for the Adult School program to be redistributed at sites throughout the District and the Adult School site being made ready for the elementary program for the 2016-17 school year. Message us here if you can come to meetings and help support our school."
Here is a powerpoint laying out the choices the Berkeley School District is considering to deal with increasing enrollment, including moving Berkeley Adult School off its campus.

Moving Berkeley Adult School off its campus does not mean it would move into a lovely new campus.  It means the program would be destabilized, would no longer serve as a community resource hub, and would have to shrink in size and services.
The Timeline
This information was presented to the public in November. In December, options are being narrowed down to two or three.  Rumour has it that taking over the Berkeley Adult School campus is one of the options being seriously considered.  A decision will be made in January.
All while the city of Berkeley is being rocked by responses to Ferguson, people celebrate the holidays, shop, eat, travel, discuss Cuba and North Korea and the CIA Torture Report.  And for some folks, throw in poverty, job loss, lack of English and civic skills, transportation problems, health problems, and depression - a big and unspoken problem for many people in the Holiday Season.
What does that mean for Berkeley Adult School?
It means it might be harder for students and staff to rally with a large and organized movement to retain their campus and their position as a stable and stabilizing community resource hub.
Berkeley Adult School Needs and Deserves Our Support
Because of the destabilization, cuts, and closures that hit all Adult Schools, Berkeley Adult School is the largest Adult School in its region.
Governor Brown, in his January 9th Budget Announcement, may finally provide secure funding for K12 Adult Schools and the new Regional Consortia system.  
Many across the state, individuals, organizations, and elected officials, understand the value of Adult Schools and Adult Education.  They have worked and continue to work for the stabilization and rebuilding of Adult Schools and Adult Education.  That's the whole purpose of AB86 and the new Regional Consortia system.
In these last days before Brown's announcement, as we move closer toward our goal and as Adult Schools and Community Colleges around the state engage to find a way to work together to provide the best Adult Education possible, what value is there is destabilizing Berkeley Adult School even further?  What value is there in shrinking it in size and scope?
Do we see results in Oakland that Berkeley wants to emulate?  Or do we see results in Oakland that Berkeley wants to shut out?  There's a long history in Berkeley that could be called "Fear of Oakland."  There are many reasons for that, some of them not very pretty.  In the long run, those reasons need to be addressed.  In the short run, Berkeley should consider that the devastation of Oakland Adult School, which once served over 25,000 people, did not help Oakland and does not help the communities that surround it.  Destabilizing and shrinking the Berkeley Adult School is not the answer.  Keeping Berkeley Adult School strong and working to strengthen Adult Schools and Adult Education across the state is.
Action Steps We Can Take To Keep Berkeley Adult School in Place as a Community Resource Hub
Call or email a Berkeley School Board Member, local elected official, community organizations, or the media.
If you have connections to UC Berkeley, contact them.
Scan the list below for ideas and contacts and use your gut to pick the action step right for you.
As we've seen over and over, our choices matter.  It's our culture, our community, our state.
We can pretend we're powerless but the truth is we're not.  And what feels like a small step may in fact be the start of a domino effect that changes things for the better.  (Reminder:  the small step of doing nothing has results, too.)
You never know until you try.
Go for it!

Helpful links and information:
1701 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702 • Ph 510.644.6130 • Fx 510.644.6784
Berkeley Adult School on Facebook

Northern Alameda Regional Consortium  Regional Consortia are the new delivery model for Adult Ed.  Berkeley Adult School, Oakland Adult School. Peralta Community Colleges, and others are all in the same new Regional Consortia.

"Governor's Proposed Budget Called "A Gift" to Adult Education" - January, 2015 Edsource article about new funding for Adult Education and K12 Adult Schools.
Note on Berkeley Adult School Facebook page
Students - it's time to mobilize, advocate and save the integrity of Berkeley Adult School. Superintendent Dr. Donald Evans recommended to the School Board that a new elementary school be opened at the Adult School site and the dedicated Adult School site be eliminated. This was Option #7 among several options considered, which can be found on page 72 of the Agenda Packet (go to and click on School Board to find documents). Option #7 calls for the Adult School program to be redistributed at sites throughout the District and the Adult School site being made ready for the elementary program for the 2016-17 school year. Message us here if you can come to meetings and help support our school.
Letter re Berkeley Adult School   A letter sent to the BUSD Superintendent Donald Evans and the BUSD Board of Ed with 21 signatures.  The letter makes a case for the value of keeping BAS in place.  It also makes it clear that the situation has larger implications and explains why Adult Schools are so valuable  - and at the present time, so vulnerable.
Upcoming Berkeley School Board Meetings
January 6  District English Language Advisory Committee (DELAC)
January 14th  - School Board Meeting
January 28th – School Board Meeting

Berkeley School Board Meetings are televised on local cable channel 33. You can view them live on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. on meeting nights, or when the meeting is rebroadcast the following Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m. All televised board meetings are available on by Board Item, and can be easily accessed in the Board Updates posted on the district's website. (…/board-meeting-information/)
City of Berkeley Webpage (has Mayor, City Council, etc.)
California Department of Education Office of Adult Education
Region 4 - Bay: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco
Shadidi Sia-Maat    (Sia-Maat is also on the AB86 Workgroup)      916-323-7862
Berkeley Times
Berkeley Voice
Oakland Tribune
"The Bread Project - Cooking Up A Future For People In Need" - Berkeleyside, Sept 2011

"Berkeley School Growth Proposal Rankles Residents" - Contra Costa Times, Dec 2014

"Plans Dropped for Controversial Community School" - Berkeleyside, June 2011

"Adult Education Dismantled" - East Bay Express, June 2011 This article is about Oakland Adult School, which was once the anchor Adult School for the East Bay, serving over 25,000 students.  The fact that Berkeley Adult School was able to hang on during all the cuts and closures makes its decentralizing and diminishing now, just as Governor Brown finally recognizes Adult Schools and begins to plan for their renaissance, all the more tragic and crazy.

"Berkeley Adult School Threatened by Governor's New Budget" - Berkeley Planet, Feb 2010.
This series by the Berkeley Planet explains a lot about we got here - in Berkeley and everywhere else Quotes from the article:  
"Although the district has not announced any cuts to the adult program since slashing it by $1.5 million last year to cover part of an $8 million budget crunch, more reductions are anticipated.
Berkeley Unified School District Deputy Superintendent Javetta Cleveland told the board that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had proposed a negative cost-of-living adjustment, a reduction of .38 percent, along with 18 percent less revenue for 2010-11."   "“Many BAS students are people who were not well served by the K–12 system in California,” said adult school teacher Peggy Datz. “They are folks who need and deserve a second chance ... We are the safety net for adults in our community who want to move ahead but who did not succeed in the public school system and are not yet ready for community college.” School Board Member Shirley Issel assured the crowd that the district would do its best to help the school. “To walk in the doors of the school is to see the Berkeley dream be enacted daily,” she said."

"Berkeley Unified School District Facing State Cuts in New Budget" - Berkeley Planet, Feb 2009
This article is a window into how we got to where we are now where Adult Education and K12 Adult Schools are today.  Feb 2009 is when the cuts were set out - K12 Adult Schools were cut off the top by 20%  plus their categorical (i.e. protected) funding was made available to shore up K-12 Districts  which were horribly cut at that time.   All K12 Districts, over the past 6 years, used Adult Ed money to keep going.  This is why about 70 Adult Schools closed and all shrank in size and scopeBut 312 K12 districts - out of about 400 -  kept their Adult Schools open.  Berkeley Unified School District was one of those districts.  In fact, they did a great job of keeping BAS open and functioning to optimal capacity - which is why BAS is such a great school today and why it is the anchor K12 Adult School for the Northern Alameda County Regional Consortium.  Oakland Adult School, also in the Northern Alameda County Regional Consortium, did survive as well.  It shrank from serving approximately 25,000 to the about 1,200 students it serves today.  Hopefully, with new funding on its way and a new focus on areas of highest needs, Oakland Adult School will rise again.  For Berkeley Adult School to go down now, to be decentralized and to shrink in scope and size, just as all Adult Schools are nearing the finish line of this terrible ordeal, would be an unnecessary tragedy.

"Adult Education Faces Severe Budget Cuts" - Berkeley Planet, April 2009.  This article explains how BUSD had to dip into Adult Ed money to survive the Big Recession and Public Ed Devastation going on at that time.  "In a unanimous vote last week, the Berkeley Board of Education allowed the district to dip into the adult education program’s reserves to help offset the nearly $750,000 shortage it faces this year.  The district will take $718,827 from the reserve funds."

"More Cuts on the Way for School District, Adult Education" - Berkeley Planet, June 2009.  Probably the best of these articles.  Really explains what BUSD was faced with and how it chose to repond.  From the article:

"The $3.7 million shortfall in 2009–10 will be alleviated by $2.2 million in stimulus funds; reductions in post-retirement benefit rate and worker’s compensation rates; a proposed reduction in health benefit costs created by raising deductibles; $400,000 from the Berkeley Adult School (through reduced services and higher fees), and a few smaller changes. 
The adult education budget itself was cut by $1.3 million in the February state budget.  
The state budget gave districts the option to eliminate adult education entirely in 2009–10 and four successive fiscal years to thwart the effect of state reductions to general fund revenues.  
Instead of putting the entire program on the chopping block, Berkeley Unified reduced its adult education program, eliminating adult summer school programs, decreasing some English language learning, high school diploma and older adult classes and charging students and agencies more for senior programs. 
The district will be able to transfer $400,000 from the adult education revenue to its general fund by making additional reductions, such as trimming classes offered for disabled students and seniors, charging fees for English language, vocational and high school diploma classes and raising fees for agencies that offer classes for its disabled adults. 
“We did talk a lot about this with students, and some of them recommended a higher fee,” said Margaret Kirkpatrick, Berkeley Adult School’s outgoing principal. “We are looking at an amount achievable to students with lower incomes, something that would save the school and is in line with other adult schools. And, of course, any student can apply for a fee waiver or scholarship.” 
Kirkpatrick said that although eliminating some programs had been “painful,” the school would continue to benefit students in many ways. 
In an attempt to close the budget gap, the district will also hold back from paying the City of Berkeley $180,000 next year for sanitary sewage service, clean storm water, pool use and maintenance and the Berkeley High School Health Clinic 
Huyett said that although Berkeley Unified was in a better position than other districts, the list of layoffs included bus drivers, clerks, vice principals, counselors and other employees."

In a nutshell, here's what happened in Oakland in June of 2010.
Berkeley Adult School and San Mateo Adult School
and COSAS (Communities Organized to Save Adult Schools)
meeting to discuss and promote Student Leadership and Advocacy for Adult Education
Fall 2013



1 comment:

  1. Thanks you very much for your informative and effective post. Again thanks for sharing. xnxx