Wednesday, April 19, 2017

COABE Legislative Update - the Federal Perspective

COABE is the Coalition on Adult Basic Education.  Their April Legislative Update provides a good overview of the situation from the federal perspective.  Reminder:  California Adult Ed is mostly - but not entirely - funded through the state.  Federal funding matters, too, and we should keep a close eye on what is happening on the federal level where Public Education and Adult Education are concerned.
Government Relations Report: April
This report focuses on budget and appropriations issues.
Congress is on recess for another week.
The continuing resolution (CR) under which the government is operating expires on April 28. There is a need to determine how the government will be funded for the remainder of the year. There is still a certain lack of clarity about whether there will be a long-term CR to carry funding through to September 30, or an omnibus appropriations bill (or bills) that will make actual funding decisions on an account-by-account basis. In either case, there may need to be a short-term  continuing resolution because work won't be completed by the 28th of the month.
Appropriations staff report that they have mostly completed work on the bills and that contentious funding issues and legislative riders will be hashed out at the leadership level.
We also understand that the appropriators have rejected the Trump administration's request to cut FY 2017 domestic discretionary funding to fund defense and to accommodate spending for the southwestern wall. The allocation for Labor, HHS, and Education has not been significantly changed, and it is possible that total Education Department funding could remain about the same, but there could be changes in individual funding levels from the House and Senate versions if there is an omnibus bill. 
There remains a possibility that the Republican leadership will seek to accommodate at least part of the president's request to fund the wall, defund Planned Parenthood, or attach controversial riders. Democratic leaders in the Senate have threatened to shutdown the government if such funding, or language, is included in the appropriations bill.
While Congress has made progress on FY 2017, both House and Senate staff (and both Democrats and Republicans) report that they "are as much in the dark on FY 2018" as everyone else. There are reports that release of the administration's budget will be delayed until June. We do know that the budget caps for FY 2018 are set in law and that the FY 2018 cap is several billion dollars below this year's level. This means that without another bipartisan budget agreement to raise the caps on spending there will be continued downward pressure on non-defense discretionary spending, which is already at historic lows as a percentage of gross domestic product.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "2018 will be the eighth straight year of austerity in NDD [non-defense discretionary] appropriations. The 2018 cap is scheduled to fall by almost $3 billion relative to the prior year's cap reflecting the imposition, for the first time, of full sequestration cuts, because the most recent bipartisan sequestration-relief agreement expires after 2017. Cumulatively, this cut will bring the non-defense cap 16 percent below the comparable 2010 level, after adjusting for inflation."
A similar budget proposed in FY 2016 ran into difficulty in Congress because it did not cut enough for some and cut far too much for others. There is ample evidence that the cuts proposed by the Trump administration will again face some skepticism in Congress. For example, Hal Rogers, former chair of the House Appropriations Committee issued this statement:
"While we have a responsibility to reduce our federal deficit, I am disappointed that many of the reductions and eliminations proposed in the president's skinny budget are draconian, careless, and counterproductive. In particular, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has a long-standing history of bipartisan support in Congress because of its proven ability to help reduce poverty rates and extend basic necessities to communities across the Appalachian region. We will certainly review this budget proposal, but Congress ultimately has the power of the purse. As the full budget picture emerges in the coming weeks, I am optimistic that we can work with the administration to responsibly fund the federal government, including those agencies which serve as vital economic lifelines in rural parts of the country that are still working to overcome substantial challenges."
Senator Lindsey Graham specifically referred to proposed cuts in foreign aid, "It's dead on arrival - it's not going to happen. It would be a disaster."
According to Reuters, "Moderate Republicans expressed unease with potential cuts to popular domestic programs." Lisa Murkowski, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, attacked plans to cut or eliminate programs that help the poor pay heating bills, provide aid for localities to deal with wastewater, and subsidize air travel in rural areas like her home state of Alaska. "We need to remember that these programs are not the primary drivers of our debt," Murkowski said.
We do have some evidence that members of Congress are increasingly concerned about spending levels for education and workforce programs. We have met with several members of the House and Senate Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations subcommittees and all expressed support for these programs, recognized the need to invest in America's workforce, and emphasized the need for American workers to have the education necessary to compete with workers elsewhere in the world. Several, in particular, cited the need to better educate workers in rural areas. Others referred to the results of PIAAC studies, which show younger workers in the U.S. near the bottom in international comparisons.
What You Can Do
COABE and the state directors of adult education have launched a joint public awareness campaign called "Educate and Elevate: An Investment in America's Future" that says "America is at a crossroads. We need every person in our nation ready to contribute to America's competitiveness."
You can learn more about the campaign and how to participate by going to the COABE web site and following the prompts. Teachers and students can go to HERE to write a letter or make a call to their elected officials to support the campaign.
Representative state directors were on Capitol Hill last month to "Educate and Elevate" and explain the importance of adult education to our nation's future.
The COABE Hill Day will take place on April 26, where we will meet with Secretary Betsy DeVos and a number of legislators. Almost 50 state-level leaders in adult education will be on the Hill visiting with members of the House and Senate to promote this message that, "Investing in adult education is good for the economy."
The House is on recess the week of May 8 and again the week of May 29. The Senate is on recess the week of May 29. These are opportunities to educate members of Congress on the importance of adult education by inviting them and their staffs to visit programs and participate in recognition ceremonies, as well as extending invitations for members to attend and speak at graduations.
COABE's Legislative Center is generously sponsored by ETS® HiSET®.

Monday, April 10, 2017

LAO Overview on Adult Education

Posted from OTAN News:

LAO Provides Overview of Adult Education  

Posted on 04/10/2017

The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal advisor, issued a report to the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Education, which provided an overview of adult education in California. The report provided background and an assessment of the adult education program including key policy issues that remain unresolved.
According to the report, school districts and the California Community Colleges (CCC) are the main providers of adult education in California. The state restructured its adult education system in 2013-14 due to historical fragmentation between school districts and the community colleges. The new system made the following structural changes:
  • Created 71 regional adult education consortia of school districts and community colleges in collaboration with other stakeholders
  • Provided funding to develop and implement regional adult education plans
  • Eliminated the K-12 adult education categorical program and folded funds into the Local Control Funding Formula
  • Requires the California Department of Education (CDE) and CCC to make recommendations on aligning student assessments, adopting a common student identifier, and developing consistent fee policies across providers
  • Requires the CCC Academic Senate and Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) to make recommendations on establishing teacher reciprocity policies between school districts and CCC
  • Requires each consortium to develop and update a three-year regional adult education plan
  • Requires CDE and CCC to report annually on consortias’ regional plans, types of service, and funding allocations
The report highlights the additional funding that continues to support adult education, including the state apportionment funding for CCC, federal funds from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and the Carl D. Perkins and Technical Education Act, and fees that are charged by school districts and the CCC.
In assessing the progress of the adult education restructuring, the LAO has found that some consortia are more effective than others in redistricting and coordinating services, that the 2015-16 CDE and CCC annual report fell short of meeting statutory requirements, such as program outcomes and effectiveness, and that the following key policy issues remain unresolved:
  • CDE and CCC laid out options for aligning assessment, data, and fee policies, but did not make any recommendations to the Legislature
  • CCC Academic Senate and CTC laid out options for establishing teacher reciprocity, but did not make any recommendations
  • To date, the Legislature has not taken action to align policies in these areas
The CDE and CCC report that they will convene workgroups in late spring to try and build consensus on recommendations for the unresolved policy issues and that they expect to implement a performance reporting system linking data from school districts, the CCC, and the Employment Development Department by 2017-18.
To access the LAO’s report go to

Sunday, April 9, 2017

CCAE Educate and Elevate Campaign

To: All CCAE Members 
Re: COABE and State Directors National Campaign to Save Adult Education
The website (HERE) has been established by COABE as a joint effort between the State Directors of Adult Education and COABE to prevent any cut to adult education funding at the federal level. As you know the first Trump budget proposal for FY18 has contained a 13.5% reduction for our programs.
There are now multiple options available for all of us to meet the goal of 600,000 contacts with members of Congress on this issue. The request still is for each person to make three contacts:  their two US Senators and their member of the US House.
Students, teachers, and administrators can send prepared letters or make phone calls directly to their legislators.

Alternatively, hand written letters can also be sent by students detailing
their adult education experience (why they enrolled, what they are planning on doing when they finish, and the message DO NOT CUT FUNDING FOR ADULT EDUCATION).  
The contacts lists from both organizations are allowing us to reach approximately 55,000 adult educators and approximately 1.5 million students. If each of the 55,000 makes the requested contacts we will be about 25% of the way to our goal of 600,000. With the remaining 450,000 coming from students and friends of adult education we can win this fight.
Again thank you for your commitment to this effort on behalf of our students.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

CCAE Alert: Trump Admin Budget Proposal for Adult Ed

First, a reminder:  Most of California's Adult Ed funds come through the state but some comes in from the federal government through WIOA - the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

From:      Art Ellison, State Director's S.P.O.C. Network Administrator
Alert:      Trump Administration Budget Proposal for Adult Education (FY18)
The first Trump budget proposal (skinny version) was released this morning.
It refers to significant cuts in job training programs in the Department of Labor portion of the proposal. Adult Education is not mentioned in the brief description of Department of Education programs however the Department would receive a -13.5% overall decrease. In the absence of more specific information which will not be forthcoming until mid-May WE ARE PROCEEDING WITH THE ASSUMPTION THAT THERE WOULD BE AN ANTICIPATED CUT OF -13.5% FOR ADULT EDUCATION if this proposal is approved by Congress..
It will be extremely important that hundreds of thousands of contacts from the adult education field let members of Congress know that there should be no cuts to adult education funding in the FY18 federal budget.
We should have more specifics on our path forward with this effort by early next week.
Thank you all for what you have done in the past and what you will do in the future for our students and programs.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

California SB68: Helping Adult School Students Go to College

SB68 extends and clarifies language in AB540 allowing undocumented students to attend community colleges without paying non-resident fees. 
Supporting SB68 as amended can help students in adult schools who are planning on transitioning to colleges.
Support this bill by contacting your state senator.

(a) A student, other than a nonimmigrant alien within the meaning of paragraph (15) of subsection (a) of Section 1101 of Title 8 of the United States Code, who meets all of the following requirements shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California State University and the California Community Colleges: Colleges if the student meets all of the following requirements:
(1) (A) A total of three or more years of attendance in California or credits equivalent to three or more years of full-time attendance or credits at any of the following:
(i) California elementary schools, California schools.
(ii) California secondary schools, campuses schools.
(iii) California schools established by the State Board of Education.
(iv) California adult schools established by any of the following entities:
(I) A county office of education.
(II) A unified school district or high school district.
(III) The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
(v) Campuses of the California Community Colleges, or a Colleges.
(vi) A combination of those schools, of which attendance at a campus of the California Community Colleges shall be full time and shall not exceed two years of the time counted towards satisfaction of the requirements of this paragraph. schools set forth in clauses (i) to (v), inclusive.
(B) (i) Full-time attendance or credits at a campus of the California Community Colleges counted towards the requirements of this paragraph shall comprise either a minimum of 12 units of credit per semester or quarter equivalent per year or a minimum of 210 class hours per semester or quarter equivalent per year in noncredit courses authorized pursuant to Section 84757. Attendance at a campus of the California Community Colleges counted towards the requirements of this paragraph shall not exceed attendance or credits equivalent to two years full-time attendance or credits.
(ii) Full-time attendance at a California adult school counted towards the requirements of this paragraph shall be a minimum of 210 class hours of attendance for each school term in classes or courses authorized pursuant to Section 41976 or Sections 2053 to 2054.2, inclusive, of the Penal Code.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Kristen Pursley: Write Gov Brown to Request Funds for Adult Schools

Shared with permission rom Kristen Pursley's Save Your Adult School blog:

Write Governor Brown Now to Request More Funding for Adult Schools

In January, Governor Brown released a proposed 2017-2018 budget that, once again, fails to provide any additional money for California’s adult schools.  The  amount of the Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG), which now provides the only state funding for adult schools, is still $500 million, the same amount that was provided when the block grant was created two years ago.  Of the $500 million provided by the AEBG, only $350 million is earmarked for adult schools.  The state spent $750 million on adult schools before the financial crash of 2008.  If the budget passes with the amount of the AEBG unchanged, 2017-2018 will mark the ninth year that adult schools have gone without an increase in their state funding, which is their largest and most important source of funding.  Of those nine years, 6 were years of cuts and steep declines in funding; since 2013, adult school funding has held the line at the low and deeply inadequate level of funding adult schools reached after the 6 years of cuts.

Now is the time to write to Governor Brown and our state legislators to request a much-needed increase in adult school funding.  Between now and the governor’s May revise of the budget, Sacramento will be engaged in negotiations about what the final budget will be.  We need to let our elected officials know that the current level of funding for adult schools is inadequate and puts the adult education system, and the Californians it serves, at risk.

Understandably, the governor has adopted a very cautious budget to prepare for uncertain times ahead under new federal leadership, an uncertainty made greater by California’s commitment to protect its immigrant population in the face of threatened retaliation by the federal government.  However, adult schools are an important piece of the infrastructure California will need to protect and support its immigrant population through the difficult years ahead.  Since their founding in the mid-nineteenth century, California’s adult schools have had service to the immigrant community as a key part of their mission, and they still provide the bulk of English as a Second Language instruction in the state.  They are gathering places where immigrants find a community, receive support, access services and learn to participate in civic life in the United States.  The immigrants most in need of protection, those without documents, rely on adult schools for educational services, as most of them cannot afford the expensive out-of-state tuition they have to pay at community colleges. To truly support these immigrants, you have to support their education.

Adult schools provide crucial services for other marginalized populations as well, providing basic literacy and a second chance at a high school diploma  for adults who, for whatever reason, were unable to attain those things as children. They offer support for adults with disabilities and seniors.  Adult schools serve all the vulnerable groups of people who will be most hurt by proposed cuts to federal programs.

For this reason, it is vital that adult schools survive.  Because of chronic underfunding for the last eight years, they are vulnerable to being swept away in the financial chaos that may well come.  California should have been providing adult schools with adequate funding when times were good.  Now that we face a challenging future, the state must somehow find the money to protect this valuable resource.

Please write a letter to Governor Brown today and request more funding for adult schools. You can use the template below. Please feel free to adapt the language and be sure to insert any information about your own experience with adult schools and why you think they are valuable.
Don’t forget to send a copy to your legislators; the budget is to a certain extent in their hands now. You can find your state legislators here:

Here is a template for a letter:
Governor Jerry Brown
C/O State Capitol,
Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814 

Dear Governor Brown,

I am writing to request that funding for California’s adult schools be increased through an increase in the Adult Education Block Grant for the 2017-2018 year.  California’s adult schools have been underfunded for eight years, and are the only branch of education that did not receive an increase last year. Due to chronic underfunding, adult schools are in danger of being swept away by the next financial crisis. It is crucial that the state assure the survival of this invaluable resource during the uncertain years ahead.

Adult schools serve the vulnerable adults who are most likely to be hurt by many of the proposed changes to federal policy: poor people, immigrants, people with low levels of literacy, the disabled and seniors.  If California is to defend these marginalized people, as it has bravely pledged to do, it must protect the institutions that serve them.  They must be able to participate to the fullest extent in the economic and civic life of the state, in order to be strong themselves and to keep the state strong.  Adult schools are a key resource to help them fulfill their potential.

I respectfully request that the amount of the  Adult Education Block Grant be increased for 2017-2018.


COABE's Open Letter to President Trump

From COABE - Commission on Adult Basic Education

January 20, 2017

White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump:

The Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) congratulates you on your inauguration as our nation’s forty fifth president! As a national organization with more than 20,000 members who are committed to strengthening Adult Education we look forward to working with your administration to create the opportunities that will put Americans back to work! 

 We believe this goal is consistent with the vision you articulated during your  campaign: “Ensure that the opportunity to attend a two or four-year college, or to  pursue a trade or a skill set through vocational and technical education, will be  easier to access, pay for, and finish.” 

 Adult Education is a federal-state partnership as well as a public-private  partnership. By way of example, Indiana Adult Education programs (WorkIndiana)  provide math, reading, and  writing instruction free of charge to help students  acquire the skills they need to earn a high school equivalency diploma, go to college,  or enroll in an entry-level occupational certification program. 

 Indiana invests about $25 million in state funds to augment almost $10 million in  federal funds to offer more than 30 certifications in Advanced Manufacturing,  Health Care, Information Technology, and Hospitality, among others.

But the goal of a good job at a good wage remains unachievable for the more than 36 million Americans who can’t read or write at the most basic level as well as the more than 60 million who lack the basic math skills necessary to operate a cash register or understand a bus schedule. 

We need a robust array of skill-building programs that can help all of these potential workers train for the jobs that you intend to bring back to the United States which will help them support their families and pursue their personal dreams. We want to work with you to win the global skills race by investing comprehensively in the nation’s workforce.

  Inspiring educators so adults succeed and communities thrive.

PO Box 620, Syracuse, NY 13206 • • 888-442-6223
Adult Education is a path from low-income and dead-end jobs to a productive future. Adults without a high school diploma or functioning below a high school level cannot qualify for either community college programs or high demand occupations. High schools alone cannot provide business and industry the workers they need.

Most of America’s future workers are already in the workforce. They are beyond the reach of the high schools and postsecondary education. Adult education is the best way to re-engage them. By neglecting the adult population in need of education, we also harm the prospects of the next generation—57 percent of children whose parents don’t have a college education live in low-income families, and are less likely themselves to get a good education qualify for family-sustaining jobs. A robust Adult Education system is essential if we are to achieve our nation’s economic goals. It will be impossible to create a workforce skilled enough to compete in the global 21st Century economy if we focus only on secondary schools and postsecondary institutions. Adult education must be supported.  Significant underinvestment in Adult Education and workforce skills development is eroding America’s global competitiveness. Other nations are fast outstripping America in boosting the educational levels of their young and working age adults. They are showing consistent decade-to-decade progress in enhancing the education levels of their adult populations, while the U.S. is losing ground. According to The Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) conducted under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and published in 2013, “the U.S. average on the literacy and numeracy scales is mediocre at best.” 
Investing in Adult Education makes sense.  According to “The Return on Investment from Adult Education and Training, “Adult education also improves and expands the nation’s available pool of human capital by helping motivated but undereducated people achieve gainful employment in today’s increasingly high-tech and global job market, and at a far lower cost per learner when compared to either K12 or higher education. As a result, adult education and career training is potentially one of the most cost-effective tools the nation has …”
Because low literacy correlates to inequality, higher unemployment, lower incomes, crime, poor health and increased hospitalizations, properly funding the adult education system would yield substantial fiscal and social benefits, adding to GDP growth, personal incomes, increased revenues, and savings on incarceration and health care. 
  Inspiring educators so adults succeed and communities thrive.

PO Box 620, Syracuse, NY 13206 • • 888-442-6223
According to the National Center on Education and the Economy, “It is still the case, and is likely to continue to be the case, unless something changes, that American workers, once the best-educated in the world, are now among the least welleducated in the industrialized world.”  As you have reminded us, we live in an increasingly competitive world; one in which we cannot afford to waste the talents of even a single worker and while the freemarket works, it is not perfect.  We must invest adequately in our Adult Education system to remain economically competitive.

Tom Nash COABE President

COABE Report from Washington - February 9, 2017

Here is their 2/9/17 Report from DC:

Government Relations Report:  February

Washington is trying to acclimate to the Trump Administration. The president is acting through a spate of executive orders. The Senate is slowly making its way through confirmation hearings and discussing how to consider the president's nominee for the Supreme Court. The foreign policy establishment is trying to weigh the impact of the president's remarks on our relationships with Mexico, Australia, and Israel, among other countries. Information about the budget and other administration policies has not been revealed. Like so much else with the new administration, including its views on education policy, details will be forthcoming. However, it is definitely not business as usual in the nation's capital!

Secretaries of Education and Labor Confirmation Hearings

Secretary of Education designate Betsy DeVos had her confirmation hearing on January 11. The consensus is that she did not distinguish herself. On February 7, Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote and DeVos was confirmed by a vote of 51-50.  

The new Secretary responded in writing to two questions about her views on adult education:

15. Do you have any experience working with adult learners or adult basic education programs? If so, please describe this experience, what it has taught you, and how you will use that experience in your oversight of these programs.

ANSWER: Too many Americans are suffering in the current economy. President
Trump made improving the employment opportunities of these Americans a cornerstone of his campaign, and his administration will work to improve the prospects of those forgotten individuals. Reforms enacted in the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, which was reauthorized in 2014 as part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, were meant to help states and communities improve services for adult learners to better provide them the education and skills they need to obtain employment and increase self-sufficiency. If confirmed, I will work through the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education to implement these reforms to improve outcomes for adult learners. Combined with other efforts across the government, we have an opportunity to restore the American Dream for all Americans. I have had personal experience mentoring students in our local public school system. I became very well acquainted with one student's mother, and encouraged her to pursue her GED. Her experience made me realize how difficult the system made this for a single working mother. Many courses were only available during routine business hours, creating an additional hardship for her and her family. The lack of flexibility and adaptability in the system itself is all too often a barrier to success for nontraditional students.

56. As you well know, while some adults enrolled in adult education are still seeking their high school diploma or equivalent, a surprising number of American adults with a high school diploma still struggle with basic skills. Twenty percent (20%) of adults with a high school diploma have less-than-basic literacy skills and thirty-five percent (35%) of adults with a high school degree have less-than-basic numeracy skills. According to a recent study, conducted by OECD's Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), at least three million low-skilled American adults would like to enroll in adult education services, but cannot access a program. Without access, undereducated, underprepared adults cannot qualify for jobs with family sustaining incomes that require not only a high school equivalency, but also some college, preferably a one- or two-year certificate. Adults without a high school diploma or functioning below high school level have a difficult time qualifying for community college programs or access high demand occupations. If confirmed, how do you envision the department and the administration incorporating adult education into its competitiveness agenda?

ANSWER: In raising the issue of "undereducated, underprepared adults" you make a case for the need to improve education. When schools fail our students, there are long term consequences, both for individuals who are deprived of the knowledge and skills they need to be successful and our nation which is dependent on the innovative, creative, and economic contributions of it citizens. It is why we need to do more to provide parents with high quality educational options. Sadly, too many Americans are suffering from a lack of skills. President Trump made improving the employment opportunities of these Americans a cornerstone of his campaign, and his administration will work to improve the prospects of those left behind in this economy. If confirmed, I will work with the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education and other relevant agencies to improve outcomes for adult learners. Combined with other efforts across the government, we have an opportunity to restore the American Dream for all Americans.

(The Committee has not yet posted a hearing date for Secretary of Labor designate Andrew Puzder.)


We are awaiting more details on funding proposals. The normal process is for the president to present his budget the second week of February.

However, as you may recall, Congress passed and the president signed a continuing resolution for FY 2017 that is in effect until April 28. According to staff, by the beginning of March, Congress will have to decide how it wants to close the books on 2017 as it works on funding for FY 2018. Thus far, the focus has been on health-related entitlements. Staff expects the administration to send Capitol Hill a budget document that provides some guidance about how it intends to proceed.

There has been a great deal of attention paid to the Heritage Foundation publication Blueprint for Balance: A Federal Budget for 2017 because of press reports that it forms the basis for the budget the administration will release at the end of this month. To summarize, the rumored Trump budget would include about $10 trillion or more in savings. The vast majority of these cuts would be in the non-defense portion of the budget, and according to the Blueprint would include the elimination of all job-training programs administered by the Department of Labor, because according to Heritage, "The Department of Labor has a history of operating ineffective job-training programs. The evidence from every multi-site experimental evaluation of federal job-training programs published since 1990 strongly indicates that these programs are ineffective. Based on these scientifically rigorous evaluations using the 'gold standard' of random assignment, these studies consistently find failure. Federal job-training programs targeting youth and young adults have been found to be extraordinarily ineffective."

A few points to keep in mind:

1. Even if these proposals are ultimately put forth as part of the president's budget, Congress will ultimately have to act on them.
2. Ultimate decision-making authority remains with the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. That is why we are focusing our Hill Days on the appropriators, starting with the members of the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Subcommittees (See Senate Membership below).
3. The state directors and COABE are working together to expand our reach to "grass roots and grass tops" so that, if necessary, we can launch a campaign capable of generating thousands of messages to Congress.
4. The January webinar we cosponsored had 1000 listeners and 1500 sign-ups. The webinar is available for viewing on the COABE website.
5. We are preparing materials for Hill Day and the campaign that focus on a pro business, pro growth message.
6.  The state directors' Hill Days are scheduled for March 21 & 22 and will focus on states with members on the Appropriations Committees (see the list below).
7. COABE's Hill Day is planned for April 26 and will focus on bringing in state association leaders to advocate with members of the Appropriations Committees as well as legislators in all 50 states. More details will be forthcoming shortly!  

Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee

Roy Blunt (R-MO), chairman
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
James Lankford (R-OK)
John Kennedy (R-LA)
Marco Rubio (R-FL)

Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member
Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)

The House has not yet completed its assignments.

REQUEST:  Now more than ever, it is important to keep your member of Congress apprised of the need, success, and impact of your program. Many decisions are going to be made in the coming months and we would prefer them to be informed decisions.

Here are some things you can do:

1. From your home phone, call the offices of your Congressperson and Senators, identify yourself as a constituent, and ask for the name and contact information of the staff person who is responsible for education issues.

2. Email that person from your home with information about the need (how many undereducated adults are in the district or state and how many you are able to serve, pointing out the gap), the success you are having with those you can reach, examples of the impact you are having on constituents' lives, and invite the member or staff to come visit your program.

If we do not speak up for our students and ourselves, no one will.


Less than a week later, on January 26th, COABE and NAEPDC co-hosted an advocacy webinar, generously sponsored by ETS HiSET, to provide our field with tools and resources for raising awareness and visibility, along with new advocacy skills for use during this new administration. More than 1,500 members registered for the webinar, which received a rating of 4.8 out 5 stars. To view the webinar and resources, click HERE. Contact to add your name to our contact network. #adultedtrump #adultedunited 

COABE's Legislative Center is generously sponsored by ETS HiSET.

Coalition on Adult Basic Education, PO Box 620, Syracuse, NY 13026
Sent by in collaboration with

Monday, February 6, 2017

COSAS Notes on Responding to Federal Policy Changes

COSAS - Communities Organized in Support of Adult Schools - arose in response to the cuts and closures of Adult Education that began in 2009.  They meet weekly for years and now meet monthly.  Kristen Pursley is the founder of COSAS and writes the Save Your Adult School blog.  Here, with her permission, are meeting notes from a recent January 30, 2017 COSAS meeting.  They contain excellent suggestions on how to respond to changes in Federal policy that affect Adult Education and the communities we serve.

These notes can be found in this Save Your Adult School blog post.

Responding to New Federal Immigration Policy (Travel Ban, etc.)

Teachers need to teach students how to contact their U.S. congressional representatives by phone in case they are personally affected by the new immigration policies and need help.   Representatives can sometimes intervene on behalf of constituents who are affected by federal policy.  Here is the link for finding congressional representatives by zip code:

While we sometimes teach our adult school students how to write to members of congress and other elected officials to influence policy, we need to also teach them that they can reach out to their representatives when they are affected by federal policies.  Representatives sympathetic to immigrants will want to know when people living in their districts are adversely affected by federal policies, and may be able to offer assistance with individual cases.

(The group came up with this recommendation while discussing a newspaper article about a mother whose son was prevented from entering the U.S. because of the travel ban and wrote to President Trump.  While writing the president is not a bad thing, she might have been able to get more immediate help by contacting her representative.)

Other Ideas for Responding to New Federal Policies

How will federal policies affect older people?  There may be cuts to Social Security , Medicare, and other programs older adults rely on. We need to find ways to keep seniors healthier longer.Education is an important way to do that.

Adult school teachers should make contact with their local mosques in order to find ways to support Muslim students.

The Indivisible Guide, by former congressional staffers, is a resource for getting congress to pay attention to citizen concernts:

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has excellent resources for addressing issues of racism, xenophobia, and bullying,  including many resources for classroom use through its Teaching Tolerance program:

Adult school teachers need to teach students about their rights and about civic engagement.

New Meeting Time for COSAS

COSAS will now meet on the second Monday of every month from 4:00 to 5:00 PM. The next meeting will take place on Monday, February 13.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

NPE, AFT, NEA All Say No to De Vos as Fed Head of Ed

By all rights this piece should be in the Perspective section. It's my opinion that Betsy DeVos would be bad for Adult Education and bad for Public Education, in general.  Many people and organizations agree with me.  Read on to hear why.  -- Cynthia Eagleton, ESL teacher at San Mateo Adult School

The Network for Public Education, the two large national teachers unions - the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, Bernie Sanders, and any number of other individuals and organizations  - all say no to the idea of approving Betsy De Vos as Education Secretary for the United States.

There is someone who does like DeVos - and that person is new President Trump.  She is his choice for the job. 

Relevance to Adult Education

While in California, Adult Education is largely funded by the state, in many states Adult Education is primarily funded by the federal government.  The tone, the direction, the policy at the federal level very much affects Adult Education across the USA.  

To learn more about how Adult Ed is funded across the country, click here.

To take part in a COABE webinar about Adult Ed under the new Trump admin, click here.

Further, Adult Education, as neglected as it is as a branch of Public Education, is nevertheless a part of that tree.  Of course, it matters who the head of the US Department of Education is. 

We in California also know that when that larger tree of Public Education - be that on a federal, state, or local level - is shaken or sick, Adult Education is the first branch to be neglected or cut. That is what happened in 2008.  The Global Financial Meltdown led to shortage in the state budget which led to Governor Schwartzenegger's decision to make Adult Education the fund donor to keep the K-12 system going.  Adult Ed funds were "flexed" - that meant that if K-12 districts needed money - and of course, at that time, they did - they could use Adult Ed funds.  This is what led to over 70 Adult Schools being closed and all Adult Schools being cut in size and scope of service. 

If the economy destabilizes in the next few years or if Public Ed destabilizes due to a shift into a "school choice" system, we know which branch will most affected and least likely to survive.  That's right, it will be Adult Education.

That's why it's crucial that we think hard about the potential appointment of DeVos as head of the US Department of Public Education.  DeVos is a big supporter of "school choice" and for-profit charter schools.  She has no training or experience in Public Education.  Neither she nor her children attended public schools.  She is a wealthy woman and a major donor to politicans and in her own words:

"In 1997, DeVos wrote the following in an essay for Roll Call: "I know a little something about soft money, as my family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican party. Occasionally a wayward reporter will try to make the charge that we are giving this money to get something in return, or that we must be purchasing influence in some way."

She continued:

I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect some things in return.

We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues. We expect a return on our investment; we expect a good and honest government. Furthermore, we expect the Republican party to use the money to promote these policies, and yes, to win elections.

People like us must surely be stopped.

Senate HELP Committee Vote on DeVos Delayed to January 31

The US Senate HELP - Health, Education, Labor & Pensions - committee vote to approve of her appointment has been delayed to January 31.

Between then and now, we have the opportunity to speak up and tell the members of the committee what we think about DeVos and how her appointment might affect Adult Education.

Click here for a better view of that list - HELP Committee members and their phone numbers.

What the Network for Public Education says:

For those who don't know:  "The Network for Public Education was founded in 2013 by Diane Ravitch and Anthony Cody. We are an advocacy group whose mission is to preserve, promote, improve and strengthen public schools for both current and future generations of students.The goal of NPE is to connect all those who are passionate about our schools – students, parents, teachers and citizens. We share information and research on vital issues that concern the future of public education at a time when it is under attack."

"When De Vos has to choose between quality schools and “the free market,” she chooses “the free market” of privatized choice every time. The best interests of children take a back seat.
And we know the DeVos endgame–shut down our neighborhood public schools, and replace them with a patchwork of charters, private schools and online learning.
We can’t let that happen and we need your help. Present and future generations of children are depending on us to act now.  We now know that some Senators have grave doubts. It is our job to make those doubts grow into active resistance to DeVos.  Here is their toolkit for stopping DeVos.

Professor Julian Vasquez Heilig is on the board of NPE. 
Here's a link to his blog, "Cloaking Inequality" with a short 7 minute film about DeVos, "Stop Betsy DeVos" by Brave New Films.

What the American Federation of Teachers says:

"DeVos lobbied for a school voucher law that voters in her home state of Michigan overwhelmingly rejected. But she was able to push through the vast expansion (link is external) of for-profit charter schools with little oversight (link is external). DeVos has written so many checks (link is external) (including to several senators (link is external) who will vote on her nomination) and strong-armed (link is external) so many lawmakers that, despite having no experience in public education, she has influenced nearly every aspect of education in Michigan. The result? Achievement has declined (link is external) across the state. In addition to media reports of rampant corruption (link is external), nearly half of Michigan’s charter schools rank in the bottom of America’s schools, and the state’s charter schools lag (link is external) 84 percent behind state averages in math and 80 percent in reading." 

Read more here.

What the National Education Association says:

1. Betsy DeVos has no training or experience in education.

She has never worked in a school in any capacity, and does not hold a degree in education (nor did she or her children ever attend a public school).

2. Like Donald Trump, DeVos is an ardent supporter of “school choice” privatization schemes, despite a complete lack of evidence that privatizing public schools produces better education.

In Michigan, Betsy and husband Dick DeVos have pushed for decades for so-called “choice” schemes and corporate charter schools, most of which have performed worse than the state average. They are long-time Republican party donors who support pro “school choice” candidates, and Betsy DeVos has served on the boards of two major groups leading the charge to privatize public schools.

3. DeVos has invested millions lobbying for laws that drain resources from public schools.

In 2000, Michigan voters rejected a massive effort led by Betsy and Dick DeVos to change the state’s constitution to allow private school voucher schemes that siphon money away from public schools. But Betsy DeVos has promoted these measures as chair of the American Federation for Children, and the DeVos family has spent millions to push for the expansion of vouchers in other states.

4. DeVos has fought against the regulation of charter schools.

The DeVos family gave nearly $1 million to GOP lawmakers in the Michigan legislature who gutted a bill that included accountability measures for charter schools in Detroit. Those charters will not be subject to the same oversight or regulation as public schools, even though they are funded with taxpayer money, thanks largely to the DeVos family.

5. Betsy DeVos is not a good fit for a position overseeing the civil rights of all students.

Donald Trump’s nomination of DeVos is deeply concerning to many civil rights groups, because school choice schemes promote racial segregation and undercut civil rights enforcement that is routine in public schools. Corporate charter schools have higher than average teacher turnover and closure rates, which disproportionately affect students of color and low-income families.
The DeVos family’s support for anti-LGBT causes is well-documented. Since 1998, the DeVos family has given more than $6.7 million to Focus on the Family, a group that supports “conversion therapy”—a debunked theory that purports to change the sexual orientation of gay and lesbian individuals that is strongly opposed by the American Psychiatric Association, the Human Rights Campaign, and scores of other medical and civil rights organizations.

Read more here.

What Edublogger Mercedes Schneider says:

Schneider is the author of the Deutsch29 edublog.  She is a phenomenal researcher.  She painstakingly fact-checks everything and provides links to facts, resources, statistics, etc.

Click here to read her posts about DeVos.

Here are folks to contact with your opinion about DeVos and how well she might or might not serve our country as Fed Head of Ed for the US of A:


Lamar Alexander (TN)Phone: (202) 224-4944
Michael B. Enzi (WY)Phone: (202) 224-3424Richard Burr (NC)(202) 224-3154
Johnny Isakson (GA)Tel: (202) 224-3643 Paul (KY)Phone: 202-224-4343
Susan Collins (ME)(202)224-2523
Bill Cassidy, M.D. (LA)(202) 224-5824
Todd Young (IN)?
Orrin Hatch (UT)(202) 224-5251
Pat Roberts (KS)Phone: (202) 224-4774
Lisa Murkowski (AK)Phone: (202)-224-6665
Tim Scott (SC)(202) 224-6121


Patty Murray (WA)(202) 224-2621
Bernie Sanders (VT) (202) 224-5141
Robert P. Casey, Jr (PA)(202) 224-6324
Al Franken (MN)(202) 224-5641
Michael F. Bennet (CO)202-224-5852
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)(202) 224-2921
Tammy Baldwin (WI)(202) 224-5653
Christopher S. Murphy (CT)(202) 224-4041
Elizabeth Warren (MA)(202) 224-4543
Tim Kaine (VA) (202) 224-4024
Maggie Hassan (NH)?