Monday, December 15, 2014

Must Read SYAS Blog Post Series on Community Colleges and Adult Schools: How They Work and Who Does What

The always chock full of facts and insight Save Your Adult School Blog has a new series on

Community Colleges and Adult Schools:  How They Work and Who Does What.

The series is a must-read.

For that reason, I'm providing links to post in the series and a few pull-out quotes here. 

I urge you to read the series in full.  (As posts are added to the series, I will add links here.)

Part 1   The Community Colleges Credit and Noncredit Programs.

"The “Ending California’s Public Adult Education…” presentation is well worth reading, as it explains why the noncredit/adult school model is under attack. While the model welcomes all students, it is particularly helpful for adults who are not only busy, but dealing with the stresses of poverty. In this type of class, students who had little formal schooling as children or never did well in the traditional school system find a home and begin to fulfill their potential. But with no grades, no credentials or degrees, no hard beginning and end date, it doesn’t look much like what we typically think of as “school.” It’s that “focus on learning” that throws people. Learning? What about grades and tests?
But anyone who has taught this type of class can tell you it works, and furthermore, there are standardized test results and other data that demonstrate its effectiveness. There is more than one way to educate people, and not everyone benefits from the formal school model."

Part 2  Adult Schools:  Community Interest and Mandated Programs

"Adults with low levels of literacy are exactly the students both adult school mandated programs and community college noncredit programs were designed to serve. With more than five million people in need of these services, the efforts of both adult school mandated programs and community college noncredit programs are sorely needed, and both must be significantly expanded, if the educational needs of California’s adults are to be adequately met."

Part 3  Who's Doing What

"The LAO report does not demonstrate much “overlap” between community colleges and adult schools. A concern that there is “overlap” or duplication of effort between community colleges and adult schools is one of the driving forces behind proposals to reform the adult education system, including the AB86 Regional Consortium process. Governor Brown even proposed to eliminate adult schools in 2013 because of this supposed overlap. The LAO report mentions “overlap” as an issue, but the breakdown on page 11 of the report does not show much overlap at all. Instead, it suggests that a division of labor between adult schools and community colleges has already naturally evolved, and that the consortia will work best if they plan to build on the division of labor that already exists, rather than reinventing the wheel."

Part 4  The Differences May Surprise You - How Immigration, Parking, Standardized Testing, and More Affect Adult Schools and Community Colleges

"Adult schools are school, and community colleges are college. This may seem so simple it shouldn’t even have to be stated, but it plays out in surprising ways. Because one is part of the K-12 school system and the other is an institution of higher learning, adult schools and community colleges interact very differently with the immigration system, have different approaches for making education affordable for low income students, and are even differently distributed throughout the state."

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