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.


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