It's Spring - and that means conferences and conventions and legislative hearings and meetings and lots of talk about budget leading up to July 1st, 2015, the start of a new fiscal year and a new era for Adult Education in California.
Each event has its own focus.
Every event is a chance to connect with and learn from others.
Here's what's happening in the world of Adult Ed Spring 2015 along with my notes about how the event connects with advocacy for Adult Ed.
1. CCAE Bay Section Conference February 28 in Berkeley, Northern California. State Senator Loni Hancock and Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates will speak. There will be a variety of valuable workshops, including a SMAS presentation on The Power of Student Leadership. The Conference will be held at Berkeley Adult School which recently faced the possibility of being uprooted or decentralized. This brings home the truth we are still in the process of stabilizing Adult Schools and Adult Education. Until the new funding model is decided, secure, and in place, the back door to every Adult School is open to trouble. A large group of SMASrs, including myself, will be attending this conference.
2. San Diego Regional CATESOL Conference March 7 The primary focus of CATESOL is teaching English as a Second Language. "Kate Kinsella, EdD, a teacher educator at San Francisco State University, will be the featured speaker. Dr. Kinsella is a national leader in the field of academic language and literacy whose 25-year teaching career focus has been equipping youths from diverse backgrounds with the communication, reading, and writing skills to be career and college ready." We can guess that the keynote speaker was chosen at least in part because CCR - college and career ready - are the new watch words in Public Education, including Adult Education.
3. March 11: Joint Hearing by Assembly Higher Education and Senate Education Committees. The AB86 Group will present their report about Adult Education and the new Regional Consortia system at this hearing.
4. OTAN Technology and Distance Learning Symposium March 13-14 in San Leandro, Northern California. Many of the tech skills I use for advocacy I learned through OTAN. It's important that every Adult Ed teacher know tech skills - and how to teach them - because tech skills are a big key to success for Adult Learners. Tech skills are also a powerful means to advocate for Adult Ed and to empower others to do so.
5. CFT Convention March 20-22 in Manhattan Beach, Southern California. CFT - California Federation of Teachers - represents a variety of teachers (University, Community College, K12, Adult School, Pre-school, Charter, etc.) along with classified staff and school nurses. Several resolutions regarding Adult Education will go to the floor for a vote at the Convention.
6. Adult Education Week March 23 - 27 Need ideas for what your school can do for Adult Ed Week? Check out these and these and these and these.
7. CCAE Leg Day March 24 Not only administrators and teachers but students will visit Legislators and their staffers on this day. CCAE is the only organization which includes admin, teachers, students, and community members. Here is Former SMAS ESL Student Council President Marco's report on Leg Day 2014. Student participation in Leg Day creates a ripple effect of positivity in Sacramento and in your local school community.
8. The Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education will meet about Adult Education and Career Technical Education on March 24th at 9:00 AM in Room 444.
9. The Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education will meet on April 7th at 9:30 AM in room 3191.
10. CFT Lobby Days April 20 - 21 CFT provides good education and support at their Lobby Days event. Members visit legislators in diverse groups to talk to legislators or their staffers about various concerns. I attended this event last year and it was very worthwhile.
11. Network for Public Education Conference April 25 - April 26 in Chicago, Illinois.
This is the 2nd National Conference put on by NPE. The theme this year is "Public Education: Our Kids, Our Schools, Our Communities." Speakers will include
* Jitu Brown, National Director – Journey for Justice, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Network for Public Education Board of Directors
* Tanaisa Brown, High School Senior, with the Newark Student Union
* Yong Zhao, Author, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon?“
* Diane Ravitch in conversation with Lily Eskelsen Garcia, NEA President and Randi Weingarten, AFT President
* Karen Lewis, President, Chicago Teachers Union
NPE has connected advocates for Public Education nationally and catalyzed an examination of Public Ed Reform and where it's leading us. It has yet to address the missing puzzle piece of Adult Education. Possibly, it may this year. I attended the NPE Conference in Austin, Texas last year. It was sobering, inspiring, and educational. I hope that more Adult Ed folks will attend this year.
12. Los Angeles Regional CATESOL Conference April 25
13. CCAE State Conference April 30 - May 2 in Universal City, Southern California. "Mission Possible: Adult Education, Agent for Change" is the theme of this year's conference. There will be many workshops on topics of all kinds. As the organization most focused on saving and stabilizing K12 Adult Schools, this conference will definitely address the challenges Adult Schools and Adult Education still face as we move into the new Regional Consortia system and a new funding structure. Governor Brown's May Revise of the Budget will be coming out not long after this conference. I attended and presented at the State CCAE Conference in 2013. That conference was hugely helpful on many levels, including the fact it connected me with other advocates around the state. I will attend this year's conference and recommend others do, too.
14. Northern Regional CATESOL May 9 in Stockton, California.
15. UTLA's Movement for the Schools LA Students Deserve. UTLA is a hybrid union representing LAUSD teachers, including Adult School teachers. UTLA members can belong to either or both CFT or CTA. The UTLA Adult Education Committee is specifically focused on Adult Ed. You can see UTLA and UTLA Adult Ed has a variety of events planned this spring.
16. Mid-May: Governor Brown's May Revise of the Budget.
And as great as technology is, there is nothing like face to face connection, including the unplanned, unanticipated connections made in a workshop, standing in line waiting for a name tag, or over dinner.
All these events are the chance for engaging in, contributing to, and benefiting from just that.
I encourage you to choose at least one and attend.