Sunday, September 30, 2012

Unseen Casualties

Teacher David Doneff wrote this excellent article,

"Unseen Casualities of the Budget War:  California Adult Schools,"

which Danny Weil published in The Daily Censored.

The article does a superb job of explaining what is happening and why, as well as the larger ramifications of where we're headed unless we make the choice to change direction.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What She Doesn't Say

What San Francisco Chronicle writer Nanette Asimov doesn't say in the following article,

"City College Has A Plan For Staying In Business,"

is that the "enrichment" classes which will be shaved back, such as the Memoirs and Music Appreciation classes she mentions, are most likely for Older Adults, and very definitely part of the "Adult Education" piece of City College.

As I hope people are beginning to understand, Adult Education in California in provided under either the shelter of High School districts, as it is San Mateo and most other places, or Community College districts, as it is in San Francisco and San Diego.

Adult Education at City College is called "non-credit." 

Call it what you will, it is still Adult Education and it is about to be hacked.

It appears that non-credit ESL, the same sort of ESL that is taught at San Mateo Adult School and Berkeley Adult School and Adult Schools all across this state, may be spared, at least in part.

I say that based on this line from the article: 

One major change already approved by the trustees is to shift City College's main mission away from free enrichment classes like music appreciation and memoir writing, and focus instead on preparing students for transfer to a university, earning an associate degree, acquiring career skills and learning to speak English.
However, let's take a look at that phrase, "free enrichment classes." 
Sounds like underwater basket weaving, doesn't it?
Crap we don't need.
Crap, we, the taxpayers, don't need to pay for, right?
But what about these "free, enrichment classes"?
What about stories like this one and this one and this one?
What about Herb's story?

Forum on Student Actions Worldwide

There's so much going in education right now, it's hard to keep up.  And definitely hard for me to keep up in terms of posting it all!  I'll do my best to caught up in the next few days.

Here's info about a great opportunity to hear how people around the world are attempting to maintain, regain, and/or make a case for quality public education.

Around the world, everyday people know without it, it's like walking miles without shoes or building a house without tools.  Sure, it can be done.  But education makes a good life and a good future more possible for more people in more places than any single other thing.

International Student Solidarity Forum

Where: City College of San Francisco - Ocean Campus, Student Union, City Cafe
When: 11am - 5pm, Saturday, September 29

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Prop 30 and Social Media

As we all know, Prop 30 is a big deal.

It's set up in a do or die sort of way.   Pass these taxes or big cuts to schools.

What do people think of that?  How much do they know about it?  Or they for Prop 30 or against it?

Researchers want to understand how knowledge is spread across large populations through social media.

They have created The Prop 30 Project as a way to do that.

The Prop 30 Project is not for or against Prop 30.

It provides information about Prop 30.

And it measures how that information travels through social media.

Want to participate?

For info about the project, click here.

For the project, click here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Name the Elephant

City College of San Francisco, the largest insitution of higher learning in California, and the provider of Adult Education in San Francisco, is in jeopardy of losing its accreditation.

This crisis is much in the news lately.

First, some Friendly Fact Reminders:

1.  Adult Education is provided under the shelter of either high school districts, as it is here at the San Mateo Adult School and in most locations across California, or community college districts, as it is in San Francisco. 

2.  What happens at CCSF is what happens to Adult Education in San Francisco, a large city with a great need for Adult Education of all kinds.

3.  And what happens at CCSF is also a indicator of what may happen to the other legs of the chair that is California's public education system.

On September 14th, Robert Shireman's September wrote a piece,  Broken System Dooms CCSF, in the San Francisco Chronicle's Open Forum.  Mr. Shireman blamed CCSF's accreditation problems on shared governance.  (Shared governance means CCSF is run not just by administrators but by faculty and students, as well.)  He didn't mention the fact every branch of our public education system - K-12, Community College, State University, University of California, and Adult Education has been hacked with budget cuts for years now. 

Senator Leland Yee's wrote a strong reponse.  In his piece, Faculty Voice Key to CCSF Future, which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle September 19th, he named the elephant in the room. 

That elephant has a first name.  It's B-U-D-G-E-T.

And it has a last name.  It's C-U-T-S.

Here's the piece in its entirety:

Before my election to the Legislature, I was fortunate to serve as a faculty member at San Francisco City College, teaching psychology and assisting students - many of whom were English-as-second-language learners and socioeconomically disadvantaged - toward their goal of achieving the American dream, beginning with a college education.

Robert Shireman's Sept. 14 Open Forum commentary ("Broken system dooms CCSF") inaccurately alleges that the City College of San Francisco academic senate is responsible for the accreditation challenges that the district is confronting and calls for the end of shared governance. He is attempting to argue that if faculty would get out of the way, management could fix everything.

Shireman's accusations against the faculty are untrue, and his solutions are damaging and undemocratic.

Coming to the Surface

This article from Labor Notes, "Chicago Teachers Raise the Bar", makes a very astute observation about something happening not just in Chicago, but all across this nation, and very definitely right here in California.

As the article states, the strike was really about conflicting views about education.

In a crisis, everything comes to the surface.  In Chicago, here in California, and all over this country things are coming to the surface.  We can see things which until now, either through our own lack of attention or because they were hidden, we couldn't see before.

This is our chance to observe and consider what we see.

What are the factors at work here?

What are the values underlying the conflicting perspectives?

What is important to us, as individuals and as a culture?

What do we want for the future and what are we willing to do to see that become real?

Keep those questions in mind as you read through this article and as you consider the current state of affairs in California.

Chicago Teachers Raise the Bar

Theresa Moran
September 19, 2012
The Chicago Teachers Union has done the seemingly impossible. At a time when teachers are attacked on all sides, they led a strike that challenged every tenet of the corporate agenda for overhauling education. Photo: CTU.

The Chicago Teachers Union has done the seemingly impossible. At a time when teachers are pilloried in the press and attacked by Democrats and Republicans alike, Chicago teachers walked out for seven days in a strike that challenged every tenet of the corporate agenda for overhauling education.

Though on paper the strike was about teacher evaluations, in fact the battle was waged over conflicting visions of public education.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Showing Support

San Mateo Adult School staff show their support for public schoolteachers in Chicago.

All over California and all over the United States, public educators are being villianized.

Personally, I find it hard to believe that we are responsible for all the ills of this nation.  That, of course, is my personal opinion.

But I am pretty much convinced that we are not responsible for the surge in childhood obesity, the collapse of Wall Street, obsession with celebrity, or global warming.

Most of us, in fact, want to educate people  - young, old and in between - so that those people who have the talent to address those challenges have the skills to do so.

There's an old saying, "Those who can, do.  Those who can't, teach."

I don't mind that saying.

None of us can do everything.

What we in education strive to do is to empower those who can to do so.

But as in all endeavors that are essentially supportive, our participation in the result is invisible.

We appear to have no part in it. 

We appear to have done nothing.

And yet, if you ask successful people what lies behind their success, you will often find out that education of some kind was a key part of it. 

A good teacher, like a good gardener, produces great fruit, but does not him or herself appear for sale at the market.

Yet without the work of the teacher or gardener, there is no market.

Showing support is not only about standing up for each other.

It's about pulling back the curtain on success to reveal what lies behind it.

And very often what's behind it is good schooling.

Let's make sure that school remains accessible to all.

A privileged few may enjoy the fruits available only to them.

But those few may not have the talent to heal the scourge that may bring down the entire orchard.

The geniuses who have the talents to solve our current problems might not be enrolled at Harvard.  They might be sitting in the kindergarten classroom of a school that's just been cut yet again, upping the class size and reducing the school year, eliminating PE, the arts, and music, and other programs that actuallly develop the brain.   Or they may be learning English at an Adult School.  Or getting their GED.  Or studying at a community college.

Or not attending any school at all.

There's no substitute for good, accessible public education.

Show your support.

- Cynthia Eagleton

9/19/2012 - Here's a video about Chicago Teachers' Strike - which is now over.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fact Fest

It's National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week (September 10 - 16)

From the National Coalition's Twitter Fact Fest:

Adult Education, Jobs and the Economy

Workers without a High School diploma are nearly 2 times as likely to be unemployed than those with at least some college & have much lower wages.

Workers with a HS diploma and above are less likely to be on government support, saving states & federal government money.

Helping undereducated adults get a GED or equivalent can raise over $8,865/yr in fed, state, and local taxes per student.

Economists predict that by 2018 63% of jobs will require a postsecondary education.  Adult Ed & literacy are the key to success.

Adults in  Adult Ed career pathways bridge programs are 56% more likely to earn college credit; 26% more likely to earn cert/degree

To stay on track with other OECD countries, the U.S. will have to produce an additional 24 million credentials by 2025.

College degree gap needs to be filled by adults currently in workforce. Not enough HS grads to meet demand.

Researchers estimate that a HS diploma’s contribution to the economy could amount to more than $250,000/graduate over a lifetime.

Adult Education Supports Jobs & the Economy. Learn more & see how you can take action for Adult Ed:

Adult Literacy

93 million adults in need of raising basic reading & math skills. Get the facts about Adult Ed:

More than 35.7 million adults ages 18-64 do not have a high school diploma. C more facts:

1 in 7 adults can’t read job apps, bedtime stories, prescription labels, or ballots. What will you do to help?

50–80% of adults in Adult Ed may have a learning disability, explaining in part why they were not successful in public schools

85% of all individuals w/learning disabilities have difficulty reading (National Institute of Child Health & Human Development)

Family Literacy

A mother’s reading skill is the greatest determinant of her children’s future academic success, outweighing all else Children whose parents are involved with them in #family #literacy activities score 10 points higher on standardized reading tests.

One year of parent education has a greater  impact on the chance of a child attending college than does an extra $50,000 in income.

Kids spend five times as much time outside the classroom as they do in school. Caregivers must be equipped to support their learning.

There is no substitute for the parent’s / primary caregiver’s role as a child’s 1st teacher, best coach, & most concerned advocate.

Teach the parent; reach the child. Support family literacy programs.

Of the 93M adults in the U.S. w/basic or below basic  literacy levels, 30 million are parents or primary caregivers of children ages 0-8.

Teaching parents reading strategies increases child’s language and literacy outcomes. Support family literacy programs.


Preserve and invest in adult education. Adult Ed drives economic mobility for adults & families and economic recovery for America.
Health and Health Literacy

Health literacy programs raise adults’ understanding of medical problems b4 they become critical = medical cost-savings.

Nearly half of American adults– 90 million –have difficulty understanding & using health info.  See related facts:

High School Dropouts

Each HS dropout costs the US economy ~ $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes, & productivity over lifetime (Amos, 2008).

Approx 1M youth drop out of HS. Adult Ed is the key to recovering revenue losses and realizing economic potential of HS dropouts.

Students who drop out tend to earn less, perform less well in society, & have a lower quality of life. See more facts:

Many HS drop outs must work multiple jobs just to support their family. See more adult literacy facts:

Immigration and Integration

Adult Ed helps immigrants integrate into the U.S. See more about Adult Ed’s role & how you can help:
Limited English language proficiency is a barrier for immigrants to meaningful employment in the U.S.

English language proficiency is critical to obtaining jobs commensurate with immigrants’ competencies.

60% of legal immigrants who are eligible for citizenship had limited-English proficiency.


Reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act. See articles on NCL’s WIA Reauthorization Priorities: .

In 2005 21% of families with no HS diploma were living below poverty, compared to 7.1% of those w HS diplomas.
Adult Ed lifts people out of poverty: Higher salaries, good job opportunities, higher savings, better working conditions.

Return on Investment of Adult Education

Adult Ed benefits the economy: Increased tax revenues, business productivity, consumption, & WF flexibility; decreased public assistance.
Adult Ed benefits people: Higher salaries, better job opportunities, higher savings, improved working conditions, professional mobility.

Find quick facts on the return on investment of Adult Ed via @NCLAdvocacy: .

Workplace Literacy

Adult workplace literacy programs help workers gain new levels of skills as new demands arise.

Who Decides? Who Lives The Result?

We have an important election coming up.  A very, very important election.

If Prop 30 and/or Prop 38 doesn't pass, we are in big, big trouble.

Who is going to decide if it does or doesn't pass?

And who is going to live the result?

Check out this Voting Hot Report.

The funny thing is, if you turn those graphs around . . .  it looks like the people NOT  voting are the ones most affected.

Not in every case, of course. 

But take a look:

Percent Voting in the Election of Nov 2010
Voting and registration rates are historically higher in years with presidential elections than in congressional election years. The text in this report refers to the election of 2010, a congressional election year, but graphics refer to the year you've selected from the menu above. In 2010, the observed percentage of age-eligible citizens who voted in the United States was 46 percent.
Voting and registration rates tend to increase with age. In the United States in 2010, only 21 percent of 18-to 24-year old citizens voted, compared with 61 percent of those 65 and older.
In many elections, women vote at statistically higher rates than men. In 2010 this was the case in the United States, where the voting rate was 46 percent for women, compared to 45 percent for men.
Voting rates also typically increase with education. In 2010 in the United States, the voting rate of citizens with at least a bachelor's degree was 61 percent, compared to 25 percent for those who had not received a high school diploma.

The likelihood of voting frequently differs between race groups and Hispanics. In the United States in 2010, non-Hispanic Whites voted at a higher rate (49 percent), than both Blacks (43 percent) and Hispanics (31 percent). Meanwhile, Blacks voted at a higher rate than Hispanics.


Light Purple is no response
Purple is not registered
Orange is registered but no vote
Green is registered and voted!




Race and Hispanic Origin

See the Voting Hot Report for the full report.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Tonight, Tuesday, September 11th, the Board meets to decide if a special Trustee will be appointed for City College of San Francisco.
But larger changes are already in the works for all community colleges, decided yesterday, September 10th:
"On Monday (September 10, 2012) in San Diego, the Board of Governors' unanimous decision to ration college access officially shifted the system away from the practice of college for all that has been part of Californians' consciousness - and the state's Master Plan for Higher Education - for generations."

Read more:
This is a big deal.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Special Meeting about CCSF

From Bruce and Susan - and thank you to them for sharing this! - information about a very important Board meeting which may determine the future of Adult Ed at CCSF:

A very important meeting for the future of CCSF and possibly non-credit specifically: 

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012, 6 to 10 pm

At the new Chinatown campus across from Portsmouth Square. 

The definitive Board meeting to limit the mission of City College and hire a special trustee, who may insist on cutting programs.
See event details at link provided by our Associated Students:
After Tuesday it may be too late to have any impact on the mission statement.  
Come early or come late, but come and bring a colleague or two. Or a former student, etc.
CCSF is at a serious crossroads and all need to be at the table in these important discussions.
It's a great opportunity to see trustees and trustee candidates in action, as well as our interim Chancellor, Dr. Fisher,  and to join in informal discussions during the breaks in activities.
The only minor correction is that the entrance to the auditorium is at 628 Washington Street, according to the corrected Board agenda. That must just be around the corner from the 808 Kearney address. Easy access by Montgomery Station BART or parking at Portsmouth Square garage or Hilton Garage. Portsmouth Square is cheaper. Carpooling is excellent for minimizing parking costs and I would think that coming late and leaving late might be a good way to do this. The crowd thins out after a couple of hours but often the real action is just getting rolling.

Educate Yourself

Here are some good articles to bite into.

Thank you, Teacher Bruce, for sending these along.

As Chicago's Teachers Head Toward Strike, Democrats Turn On Their Union, by Teresa Moran.

Slate's review of Jonathon Kozol's latest book, Fire In The Ashes, Twenty Five Years Amongst the Poorest Children in America."

(What do poor kids have to do with Adult Education?  Well, for starters, they usually live with adults.  Often adults who need more education.  Not the mention the fact that when kids drop out of high school they become... that's right... adults who need Adult Education - GED and High School Diploma and Job Training programs.)

From Scott H. Boyd:  The Spread of Neoliberalism in US Community Colleges:  TQM Accreditation, "Consumers," and Corporate Sponsored Non-Profits, p. 42

(Why that one?  Because Adult Ed is partly run through Community College districts, as it is at City College of San Francisco and is known as "non-credit."  Also because something is happening to education...  at community colleges and adult school and all over and we need to pay attention and be sure this is what we want happening.  And if it isn't, we need to speak up and change things to the direction we want it to go.)

Your Call:  The State of Public Higher Education in California.  Radio program.  Click to listen.

Catch up from the Pitcher

Hi Folks,

My name is Cynthia Eagleton.

That's me, right here:

I've been running this blog pretty much by myself... and recently not running it much at all.

I got sick.  I'm a single mom.  School started for my daughter.  And there's been a health crisis in my family.  There's been a lot going on, actually.  Sometimes I'm pretty crabby about it.  (Just ask my mom.)

When I started this blog last year, I felt I was answering a call.

Now I'm answering a different sort of call, this one more personal.

They are both important.

So here's the deal: