Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Press Conference Videos

If you missed the press conference June 12, 2012, you can catch it onYoutube.

I would post the clips here but for some reason, Blogger will not let me do that right now.
Go to Youtube and search for "teacherbruce1."  All the press conference videos - as well as various schools events (International Day, etc.) are there.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

From SVEF: Adult Education's Existential Crisis

From the Silicon Valley Educational Foundation's "Thoughts on Public Education" website comes this insightful article (part two of a two-part series):

Adult Education’s Existential Crisis

Need to “Hunker Down” and Fight

By Kathryn Baron
This is the second of a two-part series on adult education in California. 
Click here to read part 1.

Adult education in California is nearly as old as the state itself. Today, the program that has helped millions of people learn English, earn a GED, and receive job training for 156 years is facing extinction. A new report released today by EdSource concludes that these schools, which provide second chances for the state’s most needy adults, “are as much at-risk as many of the people they serve.”
The report, aptly titled At Risk: Adult Schools in California, surveyed the state’s 30 largest school districts and found that 23 had made significant cuts to their adult education programs. In many cases, they lost at least half their funding. One of them, Anaheim Union High School District, shuttered its 73-year-old adult school.

“The important thing to remember is that these adult school programs are serving a population that really falls through the cracks,” said Louis Freedberg, Executive Director of EdSource. “This is a population that needs basic education in basic skills, that needs help with English as a Second Language, and for whom there is really no other place to go to get these basic services.”

Adult ed cuts in 30 largest districts.  (Source:  EdSource)  Click to enlarge.
Adult ed cuts in 30 largest districts. (Source: EdSource) (Click here to read article on the original website so you can click to enlarge graphic.)

These draconian cuts have taken place in just the past three years. Until 2009, adult education funding was protected as a categorical program, meaning districts could not use the money for any other purpose. But that February, faced with a massive budget shortfall, the Legislature and Gov. Brown removed 39 programs – including adult ed – from this restriction and gave school districts flexibility to use the funds wherever they were most needed.

Monday, June 25, 2012

"Adult Ed Falls to Flexibility" - from SVEF

     From the Silicon Valley Educational Foundation's Website "Thoughts on Public Education - TopED:  Analysis, Opinion and Discussion on California Education Policy" comes this important article:

Adult Ed Falls to Flexibility

Districts are sweeping the funds into K12

By Kathryn Baron
This is the first of two articles on the state of adult education in California. The second piece will run on Wednesday, June 13.

The sun was still melting through the gray morning sky as teacher Don Curtis rode his bicycle into a warehouse yard belonging to Oakland Unified School District, opened a large garage door, and backed his classroom into the parking lot.

The mobile classroom parked at West Oakland Middle School. (click to enlarge)
The mobile classroom parked at West Oakland Middle School.
“It has taken some getting used to driving this vehicle, trust me. The big thing is the back end; when you turn, the back end swings out quite a ways,” said Curtis. But after eight years, he’s had plenty of practice driving the district’s 35-foot-long RV retrofitted with 12 computer workstations and a large screen for projecting lessons.

The mobile classroom, run by the school district’s adult education program, fills several spaces on a busy street next to Oakland’s Urban Promise Academy Middle School. It’s also full on the inside, with nearly two dozen parents of Promise Academy students sitting snugly on chairs and stools in order to buddy up at the workstations, while Curtis teaches them the basics of computer literacy: setting up email, doing a simple web search, and navigating the parent information section of the district’s website.

On the sides and front of the RV, painted in multicolored letters, is a sign reading “Sharing English Together.” But that tag line is archaic. Despite the high-tech equipment inside, the RV is emblematic of a threatened species, a relic of Oakland’s once thriving adult education program.

Don Curtis teaches computer literacy and drives the classroom. (click to enlarge)
Don Curtis teaches computer literacy and drives the classroom.

The district’s program no longer offers English as a Second Language. It has also cancelled basic skills classes for adults who left school very young, often to work, and, at the other end, has dropped a high school diploma program for students who are a few credits shy of completion. A popular certified nursing assistant program is down to two sessions instead of seven, and two of the three schools have been closed.

Monday, June 18, 2012

To Do List

The State Legislature has approved the budget (and on time!).  

What does that mean?

It means we have to keep working.

I know.  It's been a lot of work already. 

Sometimes good things take work.  A lot of it.

From Dawn Koepke, here's some good news: 

"Importantly, the Legislature has opted to reject the Governor’s Weighted Student Formula (WSF) for the foreseeable future... "

And some bad news:

"but fails thus far to address the decimation imposed on adult education under categorical flexibility."

In other words, with our grassroots efforts and the work of organizations like CCAE, we've succeeded in the "No on WSF" part of the goal.

We still have work to do on the "Flex is hex" part.

We can get rid of flex altogether if we can get a dedicated funding stream.  That's a real and important goal.

In the meantime, we have to make sure the initiatives to increase revenue pass.

From CCAE's June Report,

 "Adult Educators statewide should do whatever they can to assure passage of the initiatives. The extra revenues to local school districts will lessen the pressures on local budget cuts, and Adult Education programs. The Secretary of State’s office is currently certifying signatures to qualify these two initiatives for the November ballot. The Governor’s initiative proposes to raise $9 billion to meet state and education needs, while Munger’s initiative proposes to raise $10 billion that would be earmarked for education."

If the initiatives don't pass, trigger cuts will hit education - all branches of it - hard.

For an excellent and detailed look at what is happening in the State Legislature where Adult Ed is concerned, read Dawn Koepke's report.

Here's a simple "To Do" list to help you cope:

1.  Visit the CCAE website.  Click on "Join the Fight" to receive updates, including information about emailing the State Legislature when that is called for.  The California Council for Adult Education is working hard to make sure Legislators remember Adult Education is part of the picture and needs to stay part of it. 

2.  Join the CCAE.  There's a membership and the price is great.   What's the reward?  Well, besides some opportunities for health benefits, knowing you are helping to push for a place for Adult Education at the budgeting table now and in the future.

3.  Vote YES on one or both of the initiatives that will increase revenue for education - Munger's Initiative - Our Children, Our Future or the Governor's Initiative - "Protect Our Schools and Public Safety" or, and I can't say this strongly enough, suffer the consequences.  We're not talking hacking at just one leg of the chair that supports California's public education.  We're talking picking up the chair and throwing it out the window.

Then looking out the window to see what's left.

It won't be pretty.  I guarantee you.

4.  If Adult Education has helped you, make a short video talking about it and post it on youtube.  Tag it with Adult Ed Matters.  Go to and submit your video.  The fight is not over.  We need to gather testimony that can help us ex-out the hex of flex and begin to work toward a dedicated funding stream. 

In Dawn Koepke's words,

"From my perspective, the most important thing the field and our supporters can do at this point is to keep pushing, screaming and fighting.  I can only imagine how frustrated and overwhelmed everyone is at this point, but we must remember that this battle isn’t a sprint to the finish – it’s a marathon.  As such, it is critical that we keep the pressure on the Governor, Legislature and our local school boards.  The moment we stop screaming and fighting is the moment when the battle is truly lost and it appears to these folks that adult education isn’t needed.  I implore you all to keep fighting—it isn’t over and we’re still fighting in Sacramento.  We need your voices to back us in the fight."

As she said, the work is tiring.  People get tired, especially after the adreneline bursts that are called for during crisis times.  Here at the San Mateo Adult School, we worked hard to pull together that rally and conference.  All over the State, people worked hard to let the Legislature know "Adult Education Matters!  No on WSF!  A hex on flex!"  We worked hard and it took its toll on us.

So rest up if you need to.  Enjoy these long summer days.  Read a book, ride a bike, drink a glass of lemonade.

Then get on that to-do list.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Updates and A Pitch for CCAE

First, a reminder to visit CCAE and click on "Join the Fight" for updates on what is happening in the work to see Adult Education through this crisis and into renewed strength.

Second, for the latest news from CCAE, go here for their June newsletter.

Third, by now you may be wondering, what is CCAE? 

CCAE is the California Council for Adult Education and it is the only organization that includes administrators, teachers, support staff, students, former staff and students, and pretty much anyone who cares about Adult Education.  The cost to join depends on the category.   If you join as someone who works in Adult Education, the cost depends on how many hours you work.  "Friends of Adult Ed" includes anyone who cares about Adult Education and the cost is just twenty bucks.

Twenty bucks can do a lot to help save Adult Education, so if you consider yourself a friend, please join.

An added bonus:  there are healthcare benefits available to members.

Further updates:

For more information about what is happening with the struggle to save Adult Education in Los Angeles, go here and here.

There is lots going on in the work to see Adult Education survive and then thrive.  More updates coming soon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summary, Thanks, and Press Coverage

Mathew Kogan speaking at the Conference

Great work, everyone!   The Rally and Press Conference was a true success!

We spoke about what matters to us.   The press heard and delivered that message:

Adult Education matters!
No on WSF!
Flex is hex!

Our work is not done but our work is good and bringing results.  (More on that in a different post - soon.)

Speakers - Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Bob Harper of Campbell Adult School, Chris Nelson of CCAE, Mathew Kogan of Los Angeles Adult School, Ana Turetsky of Oakland Adult School, and many students (both former and current) powerfully laid out how we got into the mess we're in now, what Adult Education offers to a wide a range of people, why it's so important to find out a way out, and by way of their strength and the impact of their stories, evidence that we will.

It is a big ship that we ride in California - the eighth largest economy in the world - but if we all lean in the same direction, we can change the course.  We can emerge from this time of crisis with a deeper understanding of what is important to us and a renewed commitment to living our priorities, heading into a future we want, versus a future we fear.

Big thanks to everyone who showed up yesterday for the Rally and Press Conference - speakers, students, staff, and press.

We videotaped the conference and we will have footage available sometime in the near future. 

Here is some of the press coverage we received:

From the San Mateo Daily Journal.

From Telemundo.

From Univision.

From Radio Pacifica.

From KTVU.

From KCBS radio.

From SF World Journal.

From Hecho en California with Marcos Gutierrez (interview with Bruce Neuberger.)

If you are aware of other press from yesterday, please let me know (leave a comment or email me at

Monday, June 11, 2012

Press Conference Speakers

Jackie Speier
Congresswoman, 12th District

Bob Harper
Campbell Adult & Community Education
Big picture        
Billy Lui

Student Council President
ESL and Path to College
Lizzi Arena
Alex Arena

HS Diploma
Sylvia Azua

Electronic Office
Mathew Kogan
Chair, UTLA Adult Ed Committee
Evans Ault School
Chair of the CTA Adult Ed Caucus and CFT
Adult Ed in LA
Victor    Oropeza
Linda Wong
Ho Wing Wong

ESL, Citizenship
Oscar Espinoza

Job Search Class
Ana Turetsky             
President ,Oakland AFT 771
Former CFT Adult Ed Co-Chair
Adult Ed in Oakland – gone
Herb Alonzo

Fifty Plus/Older Adults

Parent Ed / ESL

Laura Lorenger
Community Gatepath/Computer Classes
Bianca Gonzalez
GED, Family Impact of Adult School
Mary Peros       
Teacher SMAS
Adult Ed in the Crosshairs

CTA Speaks

A letter from the Dean E. Vogel, President of the CTA - California Teachers Association -
to Dr. John Deasy, Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District reads as follows:

June 7,

2012 Dr. John Deasy, Superintendent
Los Angeles Unified School District
333 S. Beaudry Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Dear Dr. Deasy:

As a matter of policy, principle, dignity and basic human decency the California Teachers Association unreservedly supports the continuation of the LAUSD adult Education program. We endorse and believe in the mission of LAUSD’s Adult and Career Education Division to ‘increase the educational attainment and socioeconomic status of its students by preparing them for post-secondary studies, careers and civic participation.’ The current economic crisis has certainly had a negative impact on funding for public education. However, it is precisely because of the extraordinary impact of that crisis on the population served by the Division that you must not shirk your responsibility to English learners, the socioeconomically disadvantaged and new immigrants seeking citizenship. The Adult Education program and the dedicated teachers who make it function, must be maintained.

Over the last several years, school districts have sought and exercised ‘flexibility’ in their expenditure of categorical funding for programs such as adult education. Some districts have used this ‘flexibility’ to eliminate programs that are essential to a particularly vulnerable population living within its boundaries. LAUSD must not join those ranks.

As you know, Adult Education in Los Angeles and other elsewhere is provided by K-12 districts while in other districts Adult Education is provided by Community Colleges. Consequently, the availability of services to learn English, increase job skills and become citizens will depend on where you live in California. If you live in San Francisco or San Diego you may be in relatively better shape, but if you live in LA you are severely compromised. State-wide, such cuts to K-12 adult education could affect 500,000 document Californians (many living in Los Angeles) seeking to learn English and to become Citizens. LAUSD must not turn its back on this population.

I urge you in the strongest possible terms to not eliminate the LAUSD Adult and Career Education Division.


Dean E. Vogel
President __________________________________________________________________________________ My apologies that I, Teacher Cynthia Eagleton, was not able to insert the pdf of this letter into Blogger. I typed the letter into Blogger and any mistakes are mine.

Press Conference June 12, 2012

                                                                                San Mateo Adult School
                                                San Mateo Union High School District
789 E. Poplar Avenue
, San Mateo, CA  94401
                                                            Office (650) 558-2101 Fax (650) 762-0232
                                                            Lawrence Teshara, Director
                                                            Tim Doyle, Asst. Director/Admin. Services
                                                            Fred Thompson, Asst. Director/Instr. Services

Adult Schools Face Extinction
Press Conference To Be Held
  • What: Press conference by adult educators
  • When: Tuesday June 12, 10:30 AM
  • Where: San Mateo Adult School
  • Why: Adult schools have received devastating cuts and face total elimination if Governor Brown's Weighted Student Formula is adopted as is. Adult schools must be taken out of this formula and given their own funding
  • Who: U.S. Congressperson Jackie Speier, Adult educators and students from Los Angeles, Oakland, Berkeley, Campbell, San Mateo, and more
Contact Information

Informational questions:                      Tim Doyle, assistant director

Press conference organization:         Bruce Neuburger, press conference organizer, teacher
                                                                        415 -235-6918

School website:                              

Adult Education Matters blog:  

789 E. Poplar Ave.
                                                                        San Mateo, CA 94401

June 12, San Mateo – “The entire California adult school system could be destroyed by changes in the state budget and school funding,” says Larry Teshara, director of the San Mateo Adult School. “Adult school funds can now be used for other programs (Flexibility), and Governor Brown’s current budget proposal includes a new funding formula (Weighted Student Formula) that would eliminate dedicated funding for adult schools entirely.” Adult schools need dedicated funding restored.

  • Five million adults in California don’t have high school diplomas.
  • Seven million adults lack English proficiency.
  • Half of all children in California have at least one immigrant parent.
  • One third of California high school youth drop out before graduation.
  • 2 million adult education students in 2009; 700,000 today; 350,000-400,000 estimated after 2012
“Adult schools provide vital services to the community that students cannot get elsewhere, all on a surprisingly small budget,” says Tim Doyle, San Mateo Adult School assistant director.  “Our students are those who want to complete their high school education, prepare for college, obtain new job skills, learn or improve their English language skills, learn to be better parents, or maintain their health and fitness as older adults.” Adult schools are needed more than ever, yet they are disappearing.

Adult schools used to receive dedicated funds. In response to the recession in 2008, the legislature introduced Flexibility. This has allowed school districts, facing cuts to other programs, to take money from their adult schools. Districts across the state have taken up to 90% of their adult school money, and many have closed their adult schools entirely.

The Los Angeles adult school system, by far the largest in the state with well over 200,000 students, may close this year. If not, it will receive devastating cuts. In either case, this alone could be the death knell for adult schools in California.

If Flexibility and the demise of LA Adult School do not eliminate all adult schools in the state, the Governor’s Weighted Student Formula will. While we support the idea of providing additional funding for the state’s neediest children, this proposal benefits some children by depriving others, and does so by taking money away from adults who need further education to improve their lives, care for their families, and revitalize their communities. “Studies show that more literate parents produce more successful children,” says Doyle. Yet this funding system creates a divisive and destructive conflict between children’s schools and adult schools, even though their goals are complementary.

Adult schools need to be taken out of Weighted Student Formula and out of Flexibility. We need a dedicated funding stream in order to continue providing crucial services, and we urge our representatives to oppose any budget that eliminates our funding. We can find solutions to California’s budget crisis that raise the revenues needed to fund Adult Education and other public services that meet the basic needs of our communities.

About San Mateo Adult School
San Mateo Adult Education is a school of 2,000 ADA, and over 14,000 annual enrollments. We are a service of the San Mateo Union High School District to the communities of San Bruno, Millbrae, Burlingame, Hillsborough, San Mateo, and Foster City. We are committed to fulfilling the mandate of Adult Education in California by directing resources to serving those traditionally underserved; especially those disadvantaged economically or academically.