Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Some Of What I Learned

We're rounding the end of a rough year.

A year in which we did a lot and learned a lot.

Here's some of what I learned.

Hit the "read more" link to see them.

Monday, December 9, 2013

GED: Ch - Ch - Changes!


Big Change! 

Big, BIG change!

That's the word for Adult Education right now and not just in terms of structure, funding, and the creation of the new Regional Consortia system in California.

The GED, one of the core missions of Adult Education and the Big Daddy of climbing up your own bootstraps out of poverty into something better in the US of A, is changing.   

There are approximately 30 million adults in the U.S. without a high school diploma. And almost 700,000 of them take the GED test each year.   So a change in what the GED tests, how it is administered, and whether it's a for-profit or non-profit venture is a big deal.

The old test was a multiple choice type test.  Students prepared for it on their own with the support of teachers.  They worked alone at their desks and consulted with a teacher in the room with them, as needed. And it was run by a non-profit, the American Council on Education.

As of January 1, 2014, that's all changing.

Hit the "read more" link to learn how.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A List To Unlock Our Power

Regarding Adult Education, on this Thanksgiving Day, we have much to be grateful for:

Hit the "read more" link to see the list.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Stronger Together: Each One, Teach One

Today San Mateo Adult School students met with Berkeley Adult School students.

You can read about it on the SMAS Student blog here.  (Clear English and lots of links.)

It was a powerful meeting.  Students realized that every school has different strengths, different challenges - and we're all much stronger working together, sharing ideas, strategies, experience.

Have students at your school met with students from other schools?

It's not hard to do.  Call a neighboring Adult School or Adult Ed program and suggest it.  Find out if they have a Student Council or regular meeting.  Decide on a time and place to meet.

If meeting in person doesn't work, use Skype.  But in person, if you can swing it, is better.

Suggest  a simple agenda:

* What's the current situation for Adult Ed - your school?

* What has worked for us - your school - for advocacy?

* What didn't work - obstacles?

*  What do you - we want to try in the future?

* How can students have a voice in the creation of the new Regional Consortia system?

* How can we help each other - work together - to save and rebuild Adult Ed in California?

At the meeting, share ideas, experience, strategies, hopes, concerns, plans.  Brainstorm.  Take notes.

Exchange emails or phone numbers if desired.

Share the notes with everyone after the meeting. 

Back at your own school, meet and decide where and how to go forward with this new energy, information, and partnership.

Then reach out to another school, student to student, community to community.

Each one, teach one.

Friday, November 15, 2013

CCAE: "Yes....dedicated funding is on the horizon."

Big news from CCAE:

".... the positive news to report is that there is a commitment to provide dedicated funding for adult education going forward.  Yes....dedicated funding is on the horizon."


"... how can the field help with the commitment to provide dedicated funding already being obtained? 

First and foremost, we must continue to highlight the need for dedicated funding - ensuring Finance is unable to back away from its commitment. 

Second, K-12 based adult schools need to actively and forcefully participate in the regional consortia development and planning process at the local level.  Participation is critical to the future of K-12 based education across the state. 

Additionally, your local elected officials need to continue to hear from you about your current situation, what you are doing to participate in the regional effort, and what your needs are going forward.  It isn't enough to merely participate in the regional consortia effort. 

Grassroots advocacy must remain a top priority to help support and guide our efforts in the coming year to develop the framework for the future of adult education, including funding. 

We have the important commitment of dedicated funding; it's the details that are going to be the challenge to work out.  We continue to need your support at the local level with your legislators to keep them interested, apprised and prepared to fight for their adult schools and constituents."

Get the full scoop plus talking points for legislators here.

Reminder:  Grassroots advocacy - that's you and me and the person sitting next to you and the one on the other side, too.

Thanks, CCAE, for this good work and good result which truly fulfills your mission:

The mission of the California Council for Adult Education is to take a leadership role in promoting adult education, providing professional development, and effecting change to best serve the needs and interests of adult education, the CCAE membership, and the people of California..

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Now What? Townhalls, Constitutions, Rebirth

This is a long post.  You can read it all in one piece here.  Or you can read it in parts.

Hall of History; Hall of Mystery

Last week - the week of Halloween, Dia de los Muertos and what I like the call the start of the Holiday Slide, there were four Townhalls about the new Regional Consortia system.

I attended the Bay Area Townhall, held in Oakland, on the day before Halloween, from 1 to 3 in the afternoon, at McClymonds High School.   It is a large building, partly in use as a high school and partly in use by what bravely remains of Oakland Adult & Career Education (and may it rebuild!), a program which once served over 20,000 people (who still need Adult Ed programs!) and now serves I am guessing less than 1,000 students.   The entry halls are decorated by a panel of beautiful murals painted by a McClymonds High School student years ago. 

There was a very quiet feel to the campus - and to the Townhall.  The large auditorium was mostly empty.

As Townhalls go, it struck me as not so much an opportunity for the public to share their needs and opinions, as a chance for administrators to have some input on what the applications for the new Regional Consortia will be like.  Adminstrative input is important.  So is public input.   We still need more of the second.

Click the "read more" link to get some.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Regional Consortia From Here to Eternity Timeline

I'll do my best to add to this timeline as we go along...

creating a system we'll live with for decades to come...

K12 Adult Schools and Community Colleges...

forever locked in embrace.

AB 86  the group in charge of the rev up to the new Regional Consortia system for Adult Ed in CA

  Informational Webinars – more or less every Friday 11 – 12 pm.  Audio available afterwards.

  Town Hall Meetings were held Halloween week.  Audio available soon.

  December 2013 - RFA Release  - that means the application is available

  January 2014 - Bidder’s Conference – I guess this means the applicants have a conference

  End of February 2014   RFA Due – application due
Now till 2015-16  The MOE Clause.   The Maintenance of Effort clause says that if a school district had an adult school in 2011-12, they have to fund it - at the same level - until 2015-16 when the new Regional Consortia system kicks in.     MOE (SB 91-MOE for AE). Ed Code 2575 (k)(2).
March 1, 2014 for reporting to the legislature and Governor on the interim status of the development of local Adult Education consortia; 
• Fall 2014 for assuring that the Department of Finance and Legislature can anticipate what the outcomes of the regional consortia process will provide so as to plan for funding in the FY 15-16 budget process; and
• March 1, 2015 for reporting to the legislature and Governor on the plans developed statewide and recommendations for additional improvements in the delivery systems

Got questions or a comment for AB86?

Send them an email

They might answer you.  They often answer  - but not always.

And your question – in some version – might show up in the FAQs.

Their website:


Perspective: Marco -- They Have To Know We Have A Voice

Only three ESL students attended the Bay Area Townhall on the new Regional Consortia system for Adult Education.  All three were from San Mateo Adult School.   Marco, the ESL Morning Student Council President, was one of them.

He shares his reflections about the Townhall here:

l have to tell you that after the meeting, I had more questions than answers.  But the next day, l had to find the best way  to report that to my class.  So l came up with the idea of comparing what the consortia is trying to do with Adult School.  It is like when someone tries to organize a birthday party for a friend without even asking  what kind of cake or things this birthday person may need or want.  I guess  what  the Consortia or whoever  is making or will be doing decisions about Adult Education, they have to know that we have a voice and we will continue  making noise until they listen to our demands.   And  l hope it will be changes to be positive.  This is what I think.

Thank you, Marco, for attending the Townhall and for sharing your insights.

We need your voice - and the voices of millions of other Adult Education students across California - past, present and future.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The Townhalls Are Here!

It's Townhall week! 

What's that mean?

It means this is our chance to learn more about and have some input into how the new Regional Consortia system for Adult Education shapes out.

The full schedule is here.

Monday Oct 28 Southern California Meeting - Hacienda La Puente

Tuesday October 29 Central Valley Meeting - Clovis

Wednesday October 30 Bay Area Meeting - Oakland

Thursday October 31 (yes... Halloween!) - Northern California - Butte

If you go here on the AB86 website, you can download agendas.

Essentially, the meetings will consist of an introduction, an overview of AB86, and question-answer time.  If I understand the agenda correctly, you can submit your responses to the following questions:

1.  How do you envision the makeup of your consortium in this area?  

2.  What are some of the specific challenges with collaborating for the development of a regional consortium?   

3.  This is a non-competitive grant process.  What are your suggestions on how these planning funds could be distributed?  

4.  AB86 provides an opportunity to re-envision, rethink, and reshape the service delivery model for adult education. How do you believe adult learners can be better served as a result of the development of local consortia?

This last question seems to me to be the key.

We are re-imagining Adult Education.

Everything begins with ideas.

What do we want?

If you can't go to a Townhall, you can submit your responses to

If you can't go to a Townhall or don't have time to ponder these questions this week, ponder them next week.

Everything doesn't begin and end with the Townhalls.  This is a process.

There is plenty of time and plenty of opportunities to be involved.

The experience, ideas, and wisdom of everyone -

community, students - past, present, and future, teachers, support staff, and administration -

are needed if we are to create a system which can support our state into a healthy future.

At San Mateo Adult School, where I work, students are creating their own survey to find out what students want and need in an Adult School.

Paper and pencil are good for this sort of thing.  So are free online survey sites like Survey Monkey.

So are conversations, time spent pondering while driving, on the bus on in the bathtub, and sleeping on it.

What matters most is that we think about it.  And contribute our musings to the process.

We're creating a new system for Adult Education that will shape the future and last for decades.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Perspective: ESL Student Elsa Teixeira

Elsa Teixeira is a student in the ESL Writing Intensive Class, taught by Mary Peros.

The Writing Intensive is a special class designed to prepare students for Community College classes, TOEFL exams, and workforce readiness.

Elsa shares her perspective on Adult Education - its value not just to Adult Ed students but to the entire state of California.  Thank you, Elsa, for expressing this so well in your essay and in your success as a student at San Mateo Adult School.

Adult Education Matters

The United States is a country made of immigrants.  California itself is such a special place for the mix of cultures and tolerance.  Adult school welcomes us, people from all over the world, in a wonderful and caring environment.  it is different than any other school and that should be more advertised.  It helps us integrate and be more confident people, it helps us to better educate our children, all of this at our own pace.  Adult Schools have a specific role in American society and for that they deserve to have their own funding.

Some people came to the United States searching for a better life, others for job opportunities or even others just following their sons or daughters.  It doesn't matter what age or nationality.  People of all ages, all cultures find a place here to express themselves without being afraid of judgement for the mistakes they make or even for the different ideas they might have.  That makes us more confident and productive people.  There is no other school like Adult School, that can provide people a learning environment with a demanding program, but at the same time a level of understanding about people's different lives and schedules.  It's a place where people are happy to learn, happy to come to school and not afraid of being judged for being absent.  We know we can always come back.

Adult education is an investment in people's future, but also in the state of California's future.  It is a fact that better educated parents can provide better education to their children.  Educated adults can find better jobs and help their children every day with homework and other school assignments so they have better chances of being successful students.  I am sure that politically speaking, providing more funds to K-12 public schools is a much more popular political measure, but have you ever considered that more educated parents can help their children and actually save K-12 school's funds?

It is really important that not only Governor Brown but all American learn what Adult Education is and what role these schools represent in American society.  It is a really unique environment and for many the only chance of learning.  Such a special place must be preserved and supported.  We all need to do our share.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Perspective: GED Student Jessica Franco

Jessica Franco is pursuing her GED at the San Mateo Adult School.  She share why here:

Why I Want My Ged

Have you ever heard people say, "It's never too late to go back to school" and thought, "Yeah, right?"  You think that by the time you finish school, you'll be too old, or maybe you think it would just be a waste of time.  That's exactly what my thuoghts were.  I thought about getting my GED for years but didn't think I could incorporate it into my busy schedule.  I was completely wrong.

After years of just thinking about getting my GED, I finally decided to just go for it.  One morning I woke up and without giving it a second thought, I drove to theSan Mateo SMART Center.  I walked in and right away was greeted by a nice lady who pointed me in the right direction.  At the GED registration desk was Carlotta who welcomed me and handed me the registration forms.  "Welcome, " she said, "You've made a great decision."

There I was, thirty two years old and feeling nervous, kind of like when you get called down to the principal's office. As I was filling out the forms, I looked all around and noticed people of all ages coming in, ready to study.  Despite my nerves, I knew I was making the right decision.  I had finally taken the first step towards a better future.  Finishing school has been one of my goals and I was on my way to achieve it.

My family's support has played a huge role in making my decision.  I have a twelve year old son and a seven year old daughter and being able to help them with their homework is very rewarding for me.  What will happen when I am no longer able to understand their assignments?  Will they be disappointed in me?  They might feel embarassed that I didn't graduate.

I know my children will love me no matter what.  Not only do I want to teach them that education is the key to success, but also that you can achieve your goals.  All you need is dedication and determination.  Going back to school has been one of the best decisions of my life.  I strongly encourage anyone who has ever thought about furthering their education to just go for it like I did.

Thank you, Jessica, for sharing your inspiring story and inspiring others to take a risk and reach for a better future, as you have.  You are a wonderful of why Adult Education matters and why positive change always begins with courage.  And like so many Adult Education students, your decision and dedication are rooted in family.  Your kids are lucky to have you as their mom and we're all lucky to have you on campus!

Artist:  Amanda Cass

Monday, October 21, 2013

Townhall in Oakland: The Full Scoop

Listen up, everyone!   CCAE shares the full scoop on the upcoming Townhall in Oakland. 
Check it out!
From Chris Nelson, Past President of CCAE and Current Coordinator for Oakland Regional Consortium for Adult Education:
Oakland Selected as a Site for Townhall Meeting on the
Regional Consortium for Adult Education Process October 30, 2013 from 1-3pm

On October 30th, Oakland has been chosen as one of the cities to host a joint Community College/California Department of Education Townhall meeting on the Regional Consortium for Adult Education process in California. It will be held at McClymonds High School Auditorium 1-3pm. You can go to to register or to obtain further information about the Townhalls.

Click the "read more" link for more info.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Regional Consortia Townhalls - Sign Up Now!


There are four...

yes,  just FOUR!  Townhall Meetings

for the whole state of California!

which anyone, yes, YOU, TOO, can attend and

learn about

talk about

and share your opinion about

the new Regional Consortia system for Adult Education.

So register now!

Hit the "read more" link to learn how.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Why the Red T-shirts?

Red for Adult Ed - T-shirt Tuesdays.

What's that about?

Click here to learn more.

And until we get Designated Funding for K12 Adult Schools,

be sure to wear  Red for Adult Ed on Tuesdays!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Victory Reconsidered

Last week I sent out the following update to everyone who signed the Rebuild Adult Ed Petition:

Remember this?  Victory declared?

Well, I’m a little worried about that now.

Hit the "read more" link to find out why.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Adult Ed and the Fed Shutdown: Impact?

What does the Federal Shutdown mean for Adult Education?

Good question!  And not one that I can answer.

The following information from Edsource and ASCD might help us both figure it out.

As you read through it, remember:  The CDE is involved in planning for the new Regional Consortia and the CDE is funded in large part by the Federal government.  It is, however, "forward-funded."  That means it's paid in advance.

Hit the "read more" link to read the articles.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Crowdsourcing: The Green Ghost

Update:  October 21, 2013      


The wonderful Crowdsourcing

(I almost wrote Couchsurfing)

little orange button with
the little green lightbulb

is... GONE!

As in Ghostly Boo Halloween Gone! 

The AB86 folks decided they wanted just ONE WAY to get our feedback and it's through the comment button. 

That means you send them an email by clicking here.

And then maybe the answer shows up here.

Here's the old post before that change happened:

Got ideas for the new Regional Consortia?

Need some?

Want to see some?

Check out the cool crowdsourcing feature on the new AB86 website.

Look for the little orange button on the faaaaaaaaaaaaar left of the website.

The one that says "feedback."

Submit an idea.

Hit the "read more" link to learn more.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Regional Consortia: Got Questions?

Me, too.

We can - and should - look for answers.

We can - and should - be part of the process of creating the future of Adult Education.

Here are some resources to help us:

Hit the "read more" link to see them.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Flip the Switch: Sign the Petition

We've come a long way. 

We succeeded in stopping Gov. Brown's plan to move Adult Education out of the K12 Adult Schools, the provider of most Adult Education in California, and solely into the Community College system.

We've got a new system - the Regional Consortia system - in which K12 Adult Schools, Community Colleges - and the community - can work together to plan what kind of Adult Education will be taught to whom, by whom, region by region.

But - Adult Education, in particular K12 Adult School Adult Education - is still vulnerable.

Hit the "read more" link to know why.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Regional Consortia Game in Translation

Finally!  What we've all been waiting for!

Information about how the Regional Consortia will work
Reminder:  In the new system, K12 Adult Schools and Community colleges and any other providers of Adult Ed, such as Jails and Prisons, will work together to decide who teaches what to whom - region by region.  Each consortium will have one fiscal agent - the "banker."  The fiscal agent can be a K12 Adult School or a Community College. 
in the form of a letter from Tom Torlakson and Brice Harris

explaining how the planning process for the new Regional Consortia system will work

hit the "read more" link to understand

CCAE: Membership and Maintenance of Effort

September is Membership Drive Month for CCAE.

That means if you join CCAE in September, you'll be entered in a drawing for iPad.

It also means you'll be part of a team working hard to safeguard and rebuild Adult Education.

Here is a previous AEM post about the benefits of CCAE membership.

Here is a link to the CCAE Membership page.

And here (below) is a quote from Dawn Koepke, Legislative Analyst for CCAE, about SB 91 and the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Clause.  The recent cuts to Riverside Adult School demonstrate the need for the MOE and continued work to restore and safeguard Designated Funding for K12 Adult Education.

Your membership and participation in CCAE is part of the maintenance of effort we must exert in order to renew and rebuild Adult Education.

Hit the "read more" link to read the terrific quote.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

After the Accident

Five years ago, Wall Street crashed into Main Street.

There were many victims. 

Folks who lost their jobs.

Folks who lost their homes.

Folks who lost their schools.

Adult Education was one of the many felled by those events and in so many ways, we are still struggling to recover from them.

The future is unsure.   While I declared "victory" on the Rebuild Adult Education petition, I'm not so sure now, because the promise of 500 million in Designated Funding in 2015 seems less concrete now. 

What exactly does the future hold? 

Click the "read more" link to find out.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Top 10 Reasons Why A School District Should offer Adult Education Within The New Consortium System

From the CCAE (California Council for Adult Education) Website:

SB 91 contains the provision requiring districts to spend the same amount of funding for Adult Education in 2013/14 and 2014/15 as was spent in 2012/13, pursuant to AB 86 to establish Adult Education consortia.

Top 10 Reasons Why A School District Should Offer Adult Education Within the New Consortium System
 Hit the "Read more" link to see them.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Update Riverside: Reason for Concern & Action

The Press-Enterprise article, "Riverside: Adult School Programs Slashed" is cause for great concern.

Even though the MOE (Maintenance of Effort) clause stipulates that if an Adult School was open in 2012, it must be open now and at the same funding level, the District has cut Adult Ed programs.

Paul Steenhausen of the Legislative Analyst’s Office in Sacramento, said...    “They’re not allowed to spend less,” said Steenhausen, whose office provides nonpartisan fiscal and policy analysis for the Legislature. If they do, he said, they could be in violation.             (From the PE Article)

Reductions at the Riverside Adult School, from 2012 to 2013, include:

ENROLLMENT: From 1,200 to 185


BUDGET: $3.6 million to $1.8 million

STAFF: 52 to 19

(Statistics from PE Article)

Even though we the people of California, including many Adult Education students, staff, and supporters passed Prop 30...

Even though the Legislature created the Maintenance of Effort clause to ensure the survival of Adult Schools...

Even though Adult Education is wanted and needed in Riverside, where 24% of the population is foreign-born and 15% lives under the poverty level...

The District has made these cuts.

Click the "read more" link to learn more.

Monday, September 2, 2013

How Can You & Your Community Get Involved in the Regional Consortia Planning Process?

That's what we all want to know - and what we're finding out together.

Here's some information and ideas that might help us get started:

Hit the "read more" link to see them.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Update Series: Working Together to Rebuild Adult Ed

Around the state, thanks to Prop 30, the support and backing of the Legislature, the Governor's May Revise, and the MOE clause (Maintenance of Effort means if an Adult School was open in 2012, it has to remain open and at the same funding level until 2015 when the new Regional Consortia system kicks in)...

Adult Schools are hanging on, hanging in, and working hard for a brighter future.

What that brighter future looks like depends on current planning and future budgets. 

We can be part of both processes by sharing information with each other, the Legislature, and the Governor.

I want to run an Update Series that showcases what's happening in Adult Ed around the state, at K12 Adult Schools, in Community College Non-Credit Adult Ed Programs, in Family Literacy Programs, in Jails & Prisons, anywhere Adult Education is happening.  (An example about Oakland is here.)

Hit the "read more" link to learn more.

CCAE Says: Now is the Time to Plan!

From the September issue of the CCAE Communicator:
Now is the Time to Develop Your Regional Consortium for Adult Education 
Contributed by Chris Nelson
Past President

As you know, the State Budget now has $25 million set aside to provide planning grants to regional consortiums for Adult Education.  CCAE believes that you should take the initiative in developing the Regional Consortium in your local areas.  AB 86, which is now the law, says a regional consortium must consist of at least one adult school and one community college district.  We strongly suggest to begin your planning now, even before meeting with your community college leaders.  You can start by:
        • Doing your own brainstorming on what you would like to see in a regional consortium (i.e. - improved transitions for adult learners, articulated career/ academic pathways, outreach and counseling, common assessments, etc.). 
        • Apprising your district and community partners on what the regional consortium is about through AB 86.
        • Reaching out to your neighboring adult schools in your community college district and beginning to meet to jointly figure out your needs.
        • Assessing who else could be key players for your regional consortium.
In early September, the State Chancellor's Office and the California Department of Education will be convening work groups to develop an application and a process for regional consortium planning grants.  We expect an application to go out to the field sometime in the fall, so it is never too early to begin your regional consortium. 
You can also take this questionnaire that I made so that everyone can share can share their needs, hopes and ideas for the Future of Adult Ed.  The results of the questionnaire will be shared publically. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Update: Oakland Adult School

Oakland Adult School once served over 20,000 people.

The crisis that hit Adult Education, in particular K12 Adult Schools, nearly destroyed it.

But it didn't.  Not entirely.  A tiny core of programs survived, including the little engine that could, La Escuelita, and last May, motivated by a mighty cry from the community, the Oakland School Board voted to stand by those programs and keep them going.  Shortly after, Gov. Brown came out with his May Revise that brought new hope to K12 Adult Schools.

A good thing, because Oakland very much needs these programs.

Some facts that show why:

Hit the "read more" link to learn more.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The National Coalition on Literacy Wants Your Ideas

The National Coalition on Literacy works to advance Adult Eduction, Family Literacy, and ESL in the USA.  They help the public understand the value of these programs and the need for more of them and more money to pay for them.  They make suggestions about public policy about Adult Education, Family Literacy and ESL. They serve as a resource on these issues on a national level.  (More here.)

In other words, on a national level, the NCL collects information about Adult Education, comes up with a vision about how it can be, and then shares that information and vision with Congress, Government Agencies, and the Adult Ed community in order to shape the future of Adult Education.

Now you can be part of that process through this short questionnaire.

Hit the "read more" link to learn more.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Got Perspective?

Public education, including Adult Education, is by, for and of the public (the people)

For that reason, I believe that the public should be part of deciding the future of Adult Education.

To that end, I am doing all I can to provide information about Adult Education

- what is it?
- how did we get here?
- where do we want to go from here?
- what are our options?

and to provide and promote spaces where people can share their ideas, hopes, experience, needs, and desires about Adult Education.

From time to time, I have featured specific "perspective" pieces - students, teachers, administrators sharing their perspectives from their experience.

You can read them here.

If you are interested in sharing your perspective on this blog,

hit the "read more" link to learn more

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Minds and Hearts of Our Own

The budget crisis that devastated Adult Education and nearly wiped out K12 Adult Schools left many school buildings, which once served thousands of Adult School students, empty.  Or to put it another way, the budget crisis freed up a lot of real estate.

Now that crisis is over - sort of.  We are in the planning stages for the new Regional Consortia system.   This is the new system where K12 Adult Schools, Community Colleges, Jails & Prisons, and any other Adult Ed providers will work together in their regions to decide what Adult Ed is needed and who needs it and who will provide it.

In 2015, there will be 500 million dollars for these Regional Consortia.

In the meantime?  There is some freed up real estate. 

And what happens to freed up real estate?  Good question.

In National City, a city on the US side of the border with Mexico, maybe some renting out of the space to Alliant International University, a private university, making for what could be called the privatization of public education.

Or not.

Click the "read more" link to learn more.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Perspective: Joy-Lily (Amend 173)

Wednesday, August 14th, SB 173 will go before the Assembly Committee on Higher Education.
Unless amended, SB 173 will narrow the mission of Adult Education, eliminating Older Adults and Parent Education.   Older Adults and Parent Ed can continue, at district discretion, but only if funded through alternative sources. 
Many (not all) in the Adult Education community, want to see 173 amended.  (Full disclosure:  I do.)
Joy-Lily (Martha Herman), an Older Adults teacher at San Mateo Adult School, is one such person. 
She shares the letter she sent to the Higher Education Committee (below).
You, too, can share your opinions with the Higher Ed Committee. Click here for contact info.
Dear Committee Members,
Please add my voice to the call to include older adult education in the plans to revamp California's adult schools.

Click the "read more" link to read the rest of Joy-Lily's letter.

What Do You Want For Adult Ed in the Future?

We are in another chrysalis.

In two years, the new Regional Consortia will start up.

Adult Ed will be run by these Consortia.

They will decide what kind of Adult Ed is provided in their areas and who provides it and to whom.

What do we want for this future?

What do you want?

Now is the time to think about this.  To share our ideas. 

And then to share in the work to make it happen.

We know what happens when we don't share in things.  We know what happens when we are too busy, too tired, or just plain unwilling to get involved.

This is our future.

We need to be part of deciding what it looks like, what it feels like, for decades to come.

All of us.  Students, teachers, community members, administrators.  All of us need to be part of this.

All of us know something that is important to share.  

All of us have a piece of the puzzle because we are the puzzle.  We are the future.

The only real question is:  Do we go into it eyes open or eyes closed?

Please take a few minutes to think about what you want for Adult Ed and share your ideas and opinions in this questionnaire - then ask others to share theirs, too.

In this way, we can gather ideas and opinions from around the state so we make a system that serves the whole state.

Thank you.

Here's the questionnaire:

What do you want for Adult Ed in the future?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Parent Education and ESL: Potential Partners in Parent & Child Success

As the planning for the new Regional Consortia starts up and as we debate whether or not to narrow the mission of Adult Education, i.e. while everything is still liquid and possible, I wanted to throw an idea into the mix... something that's been bubbling up in my mind recently.

My idea:

A four day class for ESL students and their children that utilizes the parent-participation model.

Four days a week, the child or children is in the parent-participation program.  Probably best age fit for this model is age 1 to 5.

Two days a week the ESL parent is in the ESL classroom, learning ESL, CBET, EL Civics, etc. 

And the other two days the ESL parent is in the parent-participation program, learning and playing with his/her child, learning more about child development, forging connections with other ESL parents, and learning about K12 schools and local resources for families.

Click on the "read more" link to learn more.

Monday, July 8, 2013

CCAE: Join the Family!

We're still here!  We've come so far!  And we've got further yet to go!
The Voice
Hear that?

That's the voice of Adult Education!

Otherwise known as CCAE -

California Council for Adult Education -

the only organization that includes teachers, classified staff members, administrators, counselors, students, and friends of adult education.

And thanks in great part to CCAE's legislative advocacy in Sacramento, that voice continues.

Athena and CCAE remind Sacramento to choose wisely.

CCAE rallying support for Prop 30

CCAE also provides professional development at regional and state conferences.

SMAS teachers at the 2013 Bay Region Conference

Branka Marceta,
Co-Chair of the 2013 State Conference

The cost of Membership is very reasonable and includes access to healthcare benefits.
Click on the "read more" link to learn about why you should join and how.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

We've Got Tools

Opposable thumbs are not the only thing that make us human.
The ability to think and to ask questions, to consider past, present, and possible futures, are tools more important than thumbs.
And we've got 'em.
As the money from increased tax revenues and Prop 30 flows in, and we make choices about how and where to spend it on education, across the state, let's use 'em.
Here are some bits to help us:
Click the "read more" link to see them.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Unified Field Theory of 173: Happy Independence Day

Are you familiar with Unified Field Theory?

Yeah, neither am I.

Not really.  I mean, I don't understand everything about it.

That's the whole thing.

No one has so far.

Not even Einstein who spent much of his life trying to.   He's the guy who came up the name.

Unified Field Theory tries to put together things that don't seem to agree into a frame where you see that they do.  Because after all, they already are.  Parts of a whole that work together in shared purpose. 

I think that's what Rumi was talking about with this field:

Hard to get to, isn't it?

Click to the "read more" link to see us there.

Monday, July 1, 2013

CCAE Communicator - July 2013

CCAE - California Council for Adult Education - is the only organization representing all who care about Adult Ed:  Students, Support Staff, Teachers, Administrators, and Community Members.
Their  website bills them as "The Voice of Adult Ed in California" and indeed, they have been an important voice in Sacramento, speaking up about the value and necessity of Adult Education and carrying the message that...   Adult Education Matters!
Here's the latest from CCAE, including messages and updates from the new CCAE State President Larriann Torrez, outgoing President Chris Nelson, and CCAE Legislative Analyst Dawn Koepke.
More about CCAE membership in a separate blog post. 

Hit the "Read More" link for the update.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What is Adult Education for Older Adults?

As we look ahead to a new future in Adult Education, we need to make sure that Parent Education and Older Adults Programs are part of that future, because certainly, parents and older adults are going to be!

As has been mentioned on this and other blogs, Adult Education was devastated these past 5 years, in particular Adult Education as delivered by K12 Adult Schools, and of their programs, Parent Ed and Older Adults were cut worst of all.

Older Adults classes survive at some schools, but with increasingly high fees, some of which price out seniors in need.

(Here's an article that speaks to that issue.)

All this while we face an ever increasing senior population.

Hit the "read more" link to learn more about this important issue and why we need to stay awake and active.

What is Parent Education?

When the Assembly Education committee meets tomorrow, and considers SB 173, which excludes funding for Parent Education and Older Adults, that's an important question to ask.

Better yet, what is Parent Education as part of the Adult Education system?

And remember, we have to ask that question while keeping in mind that in California, Adult Education is delivered two ways.

It is mostly delivered by K12 Adult Schools.

But in a few places, including San Francisco, Adult Ed is delivered by the Community College Districts.  Their "non-credit" programs are Adult Education. 

Okay, so back to our question, what is Parent Education in California's Adult Education system?

Hit the "read more" link to find out - and to find out why it's important.

Monday, June 24, 2013

In Light of these Truths

You know those cheesy magazines you read on the plane when you forget to bring your own?

And they have all these posters for success in them?  Inspirational stuff about planning ahead and doing the right thing?

Stuff like this -

Here's the scary thing, and it almost pains me to say it, because I know... those posters are cheesy!

But...   that stuff is true.  It's why we like it, secretly or not. 

It's why the people who change or changed the world say it.  Because it's true.

Ol' Ben Franklin, that cold-air-bath-loving, electric genius knew it, and produced a passel of his own proverbs, including these gems:

So in light of that, as we look forward to the future, as a people, and as the Assembly Education committee looks over SB 173 in their hearing on Wednesday, June 26th, at 1:30 in the afternoon...

SB 173 being a fine bill in many ways... and it's author, Senator Carol Liu, being one of our heroines, who saw the value of Adult Ed and stood up for it when few others did...

but SB 173 having this teensie little problem:  it excludes funding for Older Adults and Parent Education...

... a problem which can be fixed... by asking our Legislators to change the wording so that Older Adults and Parent Ed are included, not excluded...

...So in light of in all that... in light of truths like

I'd like to present some questions for us to ponder, as a people, as we make decisions about our future, as a people... and SB 173... 

Hit the "read more" link to see them.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Act Now for Older Adult and Parent Ed

Remember how the new mandate for Adult Education did not include Older Adults and Parent Education?  But we have wiggle room in this 2-year planning window to address that?

The wording of SB 173 makes that dicier.

Please read this important blogpost from COSAS:

Urgent:  Save Adult School Older Adult And Parent Education Programs; Write Your Assembly Member and Sign the Petition.

All the info and links to the petition and assembly members are there. 

Please!  Read, sign, call, and email.  Now!

Thank you!
See also:
Alliance for California Adult Schools Blogpost about this topic with George's Plan B - 2 videos about Older Adults and 1 about Parent Ed
The Encore Project - a video about the value of Older Adults classes

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Perspective: Cynthia Eagleton

Recently, I was asked to write a more condensed version of my "Glass Half Full Victory" Update for the Rebuild Adult Ed Petition. 

(Can you imagine that?  Someone asking me to write a shorter version of something?!  Ha-ha.  Yeah, me, too.  Some day... some day!  I'll write everything bullet style.)

Things didn't work out the way I expected but I did write something - and in the process, I gained some perspective on our work these past five years.  I share it here:

Five years ago, Wall Street crashed, rear-ending Main Street, and running over bodies of public service. In an attempt to stop the bleeding that ensued in our public  education system, Schwartzenegger made K12 Adult Schools the blood donors to K12 Districts.  Money that had once been protected, earmarked for Adult Education, became “flexible” (available) to keep K12 schools alive.  And stay alive they did – while over 70 Adult Schools closed and all Adult Schools shriveled in size and scope.
K12 Adult Schools serve communities which often fly under the radar or live on the fringes of the public mind:  immigrants, folks who lack a high school diploma, the unemployed, seniors (an inconvenient truth in a culture that values youth), parents (often viewed as an inconvenience in a culture that values work and adult pleasures over family life), the disabled.  Unfortunately, K12 Adult Schools often did the same, as did we who worked there.  We were used to getting by with the least, getting paid the least, and serving folks often considered the least by the larger culture.  Did we consider them the least?  No.  But there’s something in the way we responded that indicates that at very least, we questioned our own value or bought into false ideas of what’s valuable.  It certainly took us a while to rally in response to the cuts and in retrospect, one has to wonder why.
Los Angeles led the way in speaking up.  They had the largest program and they led the largest response, students as active as staff.  A record of LA activism can be found at SaveAdultEd and their work continues on at UnitedAdult Students.  COSAS, Communities Organized in Support of Adult Schools, mobilized early on, too, becoming what I consider to be the Think Tank of the Adult Education Movement. Their work is showcased on the  Save Our Adult School blog. 

Slowly, many schools mobilized, including my own school, the San Mateo Adult School, with Red Letter Days, rallies, a press conference, a video, and many other actions, most of which are cited on the this blog.  Karen Arthur shifted everything when she started the Alliance for California Adult Schools, a site on Facebook where Adult Education communities – teachers, staff, admin, students, and supporters from all over the state can share information, experience, and strategies.  A number of petitions circulated, including the one I started, the Rebuild Adult Education petition, an online petition which reached every member of the Legislature and the Governor with each signature and comment.  Monty Lish, out of Sweetwater, made a video to rally support for Adult Ed and the petition.  LA gathered ten thousand signatures on their own hand-written petition and delivered it in person.  Schools around the state held rallies, sent postcards, lit candles, and documented our worth.
And CCAE ,the California Council for Adult Education, the only professional organization with its doors open to teachers, administrators, support staff, and students, bumped up its numbers and skillset.  With the help of Legislative Analyst Dawn Koepke, it became an important voice for Adult Education in Sacramento and a source of information for us on the ground.

Meantime, things changed – on Wall Street, Main Street, and in the minds of voters.  With tremendous help from public educators, including K12 Adult School communities, Prop 30 passed.   Thanks to this new funding source specifically earmarked for education, a general increase in state coffers, plus a rising public demand for better public education, the time was right for a change, a fact which Gov. Brown used to create quite a big one (not surprising given the fact Prop 13 went down the first time he was Governor). The new budget is a dramatic shift in how schools are funded.  Edsource is the place to go for  articles that detail those changes.  Here are the bits that pertain to Adult Ed:

1.      Adult Ed continues and will continue.  With designated funding.  And for now, for all programs.

Wait a minute!  As of June 22, 2013, I’m not so sure about that.  Unless it’s amended, SB 173 maintains 6 categories of Adult Ed, which do not include Older Adults and Parent Ed – and it's up for a hearing this Wednesday, June 26th.  Senator Ted Lieu is stepping up in defense of Older Adults.  Please visit the page on his website to save Adult Ed for Older Adults and sign his petition (click on the photo in the column on the left that says "Save Adult Ed').   I’ll do my best to keep you updated on this important issue as the situation evolves. 

2.  The Legislative Trailer Bill includes MOEs for CTE (Career Tech Education) and Adult Education.  MOE means "maintenance of effort."   That means Districts MUST KEEP Adult Schools open - at the same level of funding as in 2012-13.  This is huge and bears repeating: If an Adult School was open in 2012-13, it has to STAY open - and at the same funding level.  This means Riverside, Covina, Sweetwater, and any other schools open in 2012 must stay open or re-open.  Districts are free to fund their K12 Adult Schools at a higher level.   Maybe they will, with increased money flowing in from Prop 30.  And maybe not.  But we’re a different community than we were before the cuts.  This time we won’t sit and wait to be noticed.  We’ll assess our needs, which is to say, the needs of the people, and speak up about them.  That’s our job.  We may have come late to the table.  But we’re here now.  And we understand why.
3.  In 2015-16, everything will switch back to ADA, "average daily attendance,"  the pre-flexibility system.

4.  In 2015-16, K12 Adult Schools and Community Colleges and other providers of Adult Education, including correctional facilities, will work together in regional consortia to provide all Adult Education. The two years between now and then are for assessment and planning.
5.  Every consortium has to have at least one Community College District and at least one K12 School District.  Either one of them can be the fiscal agent.

6.  Starting in 2015-16, Adult Ed providers must provide Basic Skills, including High School Diploma and GED;  ESL;  Citizenship and Workforce Prep for Immigrants; Education programs for Adults with Disabilities; Short-term Career Tech Ed with high-income potential; Programs for apprentices.
7. Older Adults and Parent Ed are not listed.  The Public, the Legislature (Senator Ted Lieu being an important exception), and the Governor do not yet fully grasp the value and necessity of these programs.  Our job is to help them do so.  Some Older Adults programs may fall under the Adults with Disabilities.  Maybe.    Each consortium must assess current needs and offerings for Adult Education.   Parent Ed and Older Adults are real needs.  We must remind California that a strong state needs both strong schools and strong families and while they can and must support each other, they cannot be each other.  Adult Ed, in particular through its Parent Education and Older Adults programs, helps families do what only they can do.

9.  There will be 500 million dollars in 2015-16 for Adult Education.  Designated Funding.  The big prize.

What have we learned from this?   Much.   We’re worth something because we are communities of great worth which are part of a larger community – the state of California – which thrives only when all parts of it are healthy.  Flying under the radar doesn’t work. 
Worse, it courts death.  In part, because it pretends we don’t exist.  In part, because it fails to proclaim the worth of who we are and what we do as both teachers and learners.  Better:  Understanding why we’re valuable.  Then speaking up about it, knowing that we are not alone, connecting with the public and the Legislature and the Governor, not as adversaries, but as partners in an effort to create a stronger California.  
As I stated in the “Victory Declared” update to the Rebuild Adult Ed petition, it’s a glass half-full victory, for sure.  There are Adult Schools which aren’t re-opening because they closed prior to 2012, and much damage has been done.  But that glass is half-full of something and that something’s of great worth:  our students, our communities, our work.  Adult Education Matters - and so does our voice.
Finally, nothing happens in isolation.  Events occur, perceptions are shaped, and decisions are made in a context.  Reacting in the moment, without stepping back to look at the larger picture, does not for power make.  Understanding what brought something into being, what's at stake, and who might care,  reveals the points of leverage that can flip a situation from seemingly hopeless to increasingly possible.
Is anything ever a sure thing?  No.  That's not what life's about.  It's choice after choice after choice. That's what makes it exciting, scary and interesting.
Life is about change and change is about risk.  We can't change that.  Only how we respond.