Saturday, January 30, 2021

COABE'S State Advocates for Adult Education Fellowship


COABE's State Advocates for
Adult Education Fellowship
Deadline to apply: 1/31/21
COABE is looking for activists and leaders to champion the cause of adult education WIOA Title II programs. The State Advocates for Adult Education Fellowship (SAAEF) is a hands-on advocacy training program for adult educators, adult learners, and friends of adult education. During the yearlong program, fellows will learn how to work with the media, their communities, and policymakers to create change benefiting adult learners and adult education programs.

The Fellowship kicks off in March 2021 with remote orientation, advocacy training, and action which will take place at the COABE 2021 national conference. After receiving coaching and inspiration, fellows will speak directly with Members of Congress, governors, and their staff. Throughout the rest of the year, fellows will receive ongoing training via webinars and one-on-one coaching sessions. They will hone their advocacy skills, taking actions like writing letters to the editor and meeting with their legislators.

SAAEF fellows are passionate, committed, everyday individuals that use their voices to influence political decisions that will impact the field of adult education in positive ways. Fellows receive training, support, and inspiration to become skilled advocates to effectively advise policy makers, guiding them toward decisions that enable lawmakers, the media, and funders to make decisions that support adult education. SAAEF fellows realize the incredible power they possess to use their voices to change the world.

As an SAAEF Fellow you will:
  • Receive training and support over 12 months to become a powerful advocate for adult education.
  • Write pieces that get published in the media.
  • Learn how to influence your Member of Congress and governors on issues specific to adult education.
  • Become a skilled organizer who mobilizes local programs to respond to “calls for action.”
  • Work with the local ambassadors in your state to ensure adult learners’ voices are heard at legislative meetings and lifted up by the media.
  • Attend the COABE Conference in March 2021 and related spring Capitol Hill Day.
  • Lead your state during the fall 2021 Family Literacy Week.
  • Receive a press release and certificate of completion. COABE will also serve as a resource for future reference checks.
  • If you have a passion for our field and would like to educate the public and elevate the field of adult education, this position may be for you!

$1,000 will be awarded upon completion of the one-year fellowship.

1/15-1/31: Fellowship applications period
2/1-2/15: Applications reviewed by Public Policy Committee
3/1: Fellowship notification to cohort
3/18: COABE Conference Formal Fellowship Launch - Session 1
3/25: COABE Fellowship Launch - Session 2
Please email with any questions.

COABE's State Advocates for Adult Education (SAAEF) is generously sponsored by

Saturday, January 23, 2021

CAEP, CDE, Adult Ed and Equity

Good news!  The new and very much needed focus on equity in Public Education is reaching Adult Education.  Long overdue and a very good thing.  

Here are two opportunities to learn more - and - to participate in a survey that will lead to a statewide Racial Equity Initiative for the Adult Ed System.

  • CDE Racial Equity Survey
    The Adult Education Office (AEO) at the California Department of Education (CDE) will launch a new statewide Racial Equity Initiative for the Adult Education System. This letter is the first step in implementing the initiative, and will assist CDE staff with planning future work, including the development of guidance documents to support the vision of the initiative. In this letter you will find a link for a brief statewide questionnaire regarding the Racial Equity Initiative. Please submit all responses by February 21, 2021.

Please take the appropriate survey and share it with your colleagues.

Please help get the word out about these resources and surveys. Share with colleagues, friends in Adult Ed, Adult Ed organizations you belong to, if union - your union local, etc.

Equity - circled in red.  "What is equity in Adult Ed?" scrawled in pencial.   "What would equity in student outcomes look like" typed.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Social Justice & Equity in Adult Ed - Survey from Crystal Korbas

An understanding of social justice and equity is crucial to providing meaningful and effective Adult Education. 

Crystal Korbas from Pleasanton AE is conducting a survey of CA adult education teachers and admins to learn more about adult ed teacher preparation and professional development related to social justice and equity. 

More info / link to survey:

Please take the survey and share with your colleagues in Adult Education!  

Friday, May 22, 2020

SMAS Student Shelley Cheng Writes to Governor Newsom

San Mateo Adult School Student Shelley Cheng shares her letter to Governor Newsom:

Dear Governor Newsom,

I am Shelley Cheng, from China. My family moved to the U.S. two and a half years ago because my husband’s job brought him here. Now my daughter is in a public high school in Burlingame, and I am an ESL student at San Mateo Adult School in California.

I deeply appreciate the strong actions that you and your administration have taken on protecting California populations from the spread of COVID-19. Today, I wrote this letter to you to ask you and your administration to protect the funding for adult education, which may be possible budget cutting for some public institutions and agencies to balance budgets in California.

Undoubtedly, adult education is an essential component for California, which is home to almost 11 million immigrants. Adult educators help thousands of immigrants find a better job and life. Even during the quarantine, all the teachers and staff have still been doing their best to make connections with all students by remote classes to teach and support us. Take me as an example, while I was working in China, I didn’t have a chance to use English, so my English skills were very inadequate. Thus I felt anxious and lost my confidence when I first came to the U.S. I was even afraid to communicate with people who speak English. I still remember when my daughter's school teacher first called me, I couldn’t understand anything she said. I was defeated with nowhere to go and nothing to do. My life was stranded because of my language restriction. Fortunately , taking involvement in our school’s classes and programs have improved not only my English skills but also my soft skills. I have made many new friends who are from different countries with different cultures, and we have supported each other like family members and shared information to overcome common barriers. Eventually, I regained my confidence and self-esteem while I volunteered both inside and outside of our school.

In addition, in order to build our self-confidence and to guide us in our new lives here in the USA, our school has built a good connection with the local community to offer opportunities for students to contribute to our school and community. Thus, Some classmates found jobs by taking job searching classes or other career training programs. As a student ambassador, I can help new students adapt to the new environment of our school; as the Census 2020 ambassador, I have visited other adult schools and did presentations to help more people feel comfortable to participate in being counted in the Bay Area.

I am just an ordinary person who has benefited from Adult Education and is capable of giving back to the society in California, United States of America. In order to help more people and families, please don’t cut the budget from adult education.

Thank you again for your continuing leadership and for considering Adult Education. I am proud to stand with you, other advocates for Adult Education, and all people to keep our communities safe and healthy.


Shelley Cheng

San Mateo, CA, 94401

Sunday, May 17, 2020

May Revise Follow Up Letter Writing

Writing Letters to Legislators

Here’s some info to help you:

Our message:

We know: the COVID crisis costs a lot of money. 
Governor Newsom had to change the budget proposal and make some cuts.  
All public Ed has some cuts.  Adult Ed has bigger cuts.
Adult Ed has never recovered - been adequately funded again - from
the big cuts of 2008/9.

California needs strong Adult Ed for a strong recovery. 
Adult Education can help people survive the crisis and recover. 
English, job skills, health information, GED, High School Diploma,
and citizenship can help people take care of their families, help their
children with remote learning, work from home, find new jobs, and
volunteer in the community.  

Stable funding for Adult Education will help stabilize California

Letter How To

Who are your legislators for where you live?  

Be sure to mention if you live or work in someone’s district!

Note: It might be helpful to write to  Assemblymember Phil Ting

Why Asm Ting?

* He is on the Budget Subcommittee about Education.
* He is also the Vice Chair of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.
* “Because of his experience in the financial sector and as the
San Francisco Assessor-Recorder, Ting has become a leading voice
on California’s finances. He now serves as Chair of the Assembly
Budget Committee after having served as Chair of the Assembly
Committee on Revenue and Taxation.” 

Assemblymember Phil Ting  Website

Contact info:
  • Capitol Office:
  • P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA  94249-0019
  • Tel: 916 - 319 - 2019
  • District Office
  • 455 Golden Gate Ave, Suite 14600, San Francisco, CA  94102
  • San Mateo Adult School
    students with letters to legislators
  • Tel: 415 557 1178

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

SMAS Student Edy Vasquez Writes to Governor Newsom

Edy Vasquez is a student at San Mateo Adult School. You can read more of his story here.
In the midst of this pandemic, as we face economic uncertainty, he writes a letter to Governor Newsom:

Governor Gavin Newsom
1303 10th St., #1173
Sacramento, CA. 95814
April 23, 2020
Dear Governor Gavin Newsom,

I am Edy Vasquez,  from Guatemala. I’m  a student at  San Mateo Adult School in
California, United States of America.  

With all due respect, I am writing this letter to you. thanking you for the
effort made in the state of California, keeping everyone safe from COVID 19,
looking after our health and coming to town.  This was an excellent job done
as a governor.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for everything.  '

The reason for this letter is because I understand there may be possible budget
cutting for some public institutions and agencies. To continue to function properly,
we need balanced budgets. 

For this reason I took the liberty of writing this letter and to concentrate on adult
education in our county. I attend San Mateo Adult School. Education is very
important for both children and adults. By educating ourselves, we can better
serve the State of California and provide a better economy by producing work.  

On the other hand, if our school continues to be funded, teachers will not be
unemployed, they will be able to contribute to the state that which is valuable,
which is education. I hereby ask you to reconsider aid for all adult schools. As a student,
I see education as the key to success for the future of my family and to improve the
education of my children. On the other hand, I help my community from school
by participating in the programs that exist in the school, which are census,
green team, hot food service, student ambassador, and more.

Please don’t cut our budget. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


Edy Vasquez

Edy with the message:
Adult Education Matters!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Letter to Legislators: Keep Adult Ed Funding Strong and Stable!

My personal letter to legislators:

April 26, 2020

Re:  Stable Funding for Adult Education

Dear Legislator,                 

I’m a veteran ESL Teacher at San Mateo Adult School, former union officer in our local CFT 4681, and a representative on the CFT Adult Ed Committee.  I’m a member of CCAE - the California Council for Adult Education.  I author the Adult Education Matters blog. I work with other advocates around the state to reveal the secret that Adult Ed is the hidden gem of California.

I am writing to you about the possibility that Adult Education may once again see horrific cuts - and what a disaster that would be for California.

We know that the current pandemic is severely affecting the economy and will for a while.  We know the revised budget for California will need to be leaner and it necessarily be “meaner” in several difficult but necessary ways.  We know that the choices we make now will be long-lasting and will shape what comes after probably for decades - similar to decisions made during the Great Depression and World War II.  

That’s why I’m writing to ask you to ensure that funding for Adult Education remains STABLE. 

I am very concerned that where Adult Ed is concerned, there might be a repeat of what happened the last time we had a less severe economic downturn.  In 2008, when Wall Street crashed into Main Street, Governor Schwarzenneger flexed K12 Adult Ed funding so that K12 Districts could use it to survive their own cuts - forgetting that Adult Ed educates and supports the families and communities raising the kids the K12 districts serve.

This was disastrous on multiple levels.  Over 70 Adult Schools closed, all were cut, and Californians across the state lost access to ESL, Job Training, Citizenship, GED, High School Diploma Programs, Parent Education, Financial and Health Literacy, and Older Adults Programs.

When Governor Brown restructured Adult Education, he narrowed it to a more “workforce” focus, eliminating funding for Financial Literacy, Home Economics (Life Skills!), Parent Education, and Older Adults Programs, forgetting that ending free Financial LIteracy programs right after a housing meltdown in which thousands of Californians lost their homes was not a wise idea and that life skills are crucial to community health (See: Problems with Pandemics), and that Parent Education and Older Adults programs support healthy communities which raise healthy kids, lower medical costs, and boost community contributions.

What will happen now?  What rationalization might be used to eliminate Adult Ed funding or narrow the focus even more?
We know - already - that this pandemic is going to reshape our culture, state, and economy in deep and long-lasting ways.  We need to think carefully about what we fund and why as we work our way out of it and into a post-pandemic California. 

We need low-cost programs that encourage physical, mental, economic, family, community, and civic health ---- THAT’S ADULT EDUCATION!

Some industries - such as the restaurant and entertainment industries - will be deeply impacted for a while. Those Californians who were working in these jobs will need free or low-cost, short-term job training in new fields ---- THAT’S ADULT EDUCATION!

We need Californians to be able to support their kids in school - including understanding how to help them navigate a new world of remote learning, make community contributions, and engage in civic matters - THAT’S ADULT EDUCATION!

We need every California to have free or low-cost, easy access to the education they need to move out of this difficult crisis and into a recovery that serves and lifts everyone - THAT’S ADULT EDUCATION!

Adult Education is part of the COVID Recovery Team!

But if it’s defunded?  It can’t play its important role on that team - the community base, turn on a dime, low cost member who is always there in a crunch and a crisis to help the team win the game.

PLEASE do everything you can to ensure Adult Education remains funded at the amount it is now. 

Connect with other legislators.  Jose Medina and Kevein McCarthy in the Assembly are folks who know and understand - from lived experience - the value of Adult Ed.  


Cynthia Eagleton