Saturday, April 27, 2013

Adult Education is a Civil Rights Issue: An Open Letter to Gov. Brown

Dear Gov. Brown:

You're framing your Education Plan as a civil rights issue.

Indeed, it is.

Access to Education is always a civil rights issue.

And what branch of our public education system is most concerned with civil rights?

What branch serves the people with the least access to power? 

What branch empowers people to communicate, vote, work, parent, and maintain their physical and mental health so they can contribute to California at full capacity?

What branch is entrusted with the job of giving immigrants the skills and knowledge they need to become citizens so that they can full engage in civic life? 

What branch meets people wherever they're at, in mind or geography - or did before the cuts and closures hit -  to boost them to the next level?

To remind them that that not only do they have the opportunity to grow as humans and citizens, but the responsibility?

And bonus for all of us on this one, what branch is the cheapest, most cost-effective, least bureaucratic?

Adult Education!

Especially Adult Education as provided by K12 Districts!

Governor Brown, you are not alone in your worry about civil rights.

We're worried, too.

Especially when the branch of public education first on the ground to help those most in need has been cut to the ground.

Re-open the closed K12 Adult Schools.

Restore funding for Adult Education.

Recognize that Adult Education as delivered through the K12 system is the only branch of public education that meets people exactly as they are, wherever they are, throughout this state.  In deserts, in mountains, on the coast, in the valleys... Adult Education provides accessible programs which empower people to communicate in English, work, parent, vote, and share the best of themselves with their families, their communities, and this state.

Adult Education, especially Adult Education within K12 systems, has been easy to cut and close for the very reasons you are concerned about civil rights:

Because Adult Education serves the people least likely to complain.  Least likely because their lives are already so full just getting through each day, while struggling to create a better tomorrow.

To take advantage of that is a moral wrong.

That's why, in spite of the challenges so many Adult School students face every day, they are finding the courage and energy to speak up and demand a return in funding for Adult Education.

Hit the "read more" link to read more.

Friday, April 26, 2013

We're What Brown Wants

Quite an interesting article on Gov. Brown:
Photograph by Mark Peckmezian for Bloomberg Businessweek

How Jerry Brown Scared California Straight,
by Joel Stein,
4.25.13, Business Week.

Our job is to show Brown that K12 Adult Schools

*  ensure Californians can use their civil rights
*  are the most cost-effective branch of Public Education
*  and are absolutely necessary to a high-functioning California. 

We are EXACTLY what Gov. Brown wants.

More to come...

Keep signing and sharing the petition.  Adult Education Matters.

The Rebuild Adult Education Petition - It Still Matters

As CCAE Legislative Analyst Dawn Koepke said, we need to keep the heat on.

The Rebuild Adult Education petition is part of that heat.

Valli Sharpe-Geisler of Eastside Adult Education in San Jose has come up with a great way to do that for people who don't have email accounts.  Her San Jose Federation of Teachers Local 957 created a paper version of the petition.  People can sign and then the paper copy of the petition can be mailed or hand-delivered to a local legislator.  Legislators have offices in their home districts.  The cost, depending on how much paper is involved, would probably not be more than five bucks. 

You can copy and paste the information below to create a paper version of the Petition.

United Adult Students of Los Angeles collected 10,000 signatures in 10 days for their own paper and pencil petition to stop Gov. Brown's plan and obtain designated funding and accessible programs.

Let's see what we can do before the May Revise. 

(That's when Brown comes out with a new version of his Budget Plan.)

Copy and paste the info below to make your own paper-and-pencil version of the Petition.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Rebuild Adult Ed: K-12 & Designated Funding Stream Petition

To be delivered to: The California State Assembly, The California State Senate, and Governor Jerry Brown 

Petition Statement 

“Rebuild Adult Education:  Keep the K-12 systems and Provide A Designated Funding Stream”  

Petition Background

Adult Ed has been serving California for over 150 years, helping parents, the unemployed, seniors, young adults, & immigrants gain the skills they need to contribute to California at full power. In the last five years, it's been cut to the bone. Now Gov. Brown wants to move it to the Community College system, away from the low-cost programs in K-12 systems. The move would cost money. And it would make it harder or impossible for some students to access it. Keep Adult Ed as it is - but give it a stable budget (a designated funding stream). Rebuild Adult Education to Rebuild the State. Adult Education Matters! 

Participate in one of two ways:

1) Sign-on to the petition by going to this link on the Internet.  Just complete the form and press the “Sign the Petition” button.  Here, too, the petition progress and comments are posted.

2) Sign the Petition HERE and get your family and friends to sign it, too. 

Printed Name                                           Signature                                         Zip Code

____________________ \ ____________________________\____________________

Printed Name                                           Signature                                         Zip Code

____________________ \ ____________________________\____________________

Printed Name                                           Signature                                         Zip Code

____________________ \ ____________________________\____________________

If you collect signatures with paper and pen, mail or hand-deliver them to your local legislator:

The signatures entered online are delivered instantly electronically.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Letters from the SMAS ALLIES Writing Class in Support of K12 Adult Schools & Designated Funding

The San Mateo Adult School, as a participant in the ALLIES program, works to prepare ESL students for Community College classes.

The following letters in support of Adult Education, K12 Adult Schools, and Designated Funding
were written by ESL students in the Writing Intensive class, which is part of the ALLIES program.

They were written to Assemblyman Ting and they were delivered in person by Hitomi, Marina, Iglika, and Natasha on Leg Day, April 17th, 2013.

There were shared with permission by the authors.

Prepare to be impressed.

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

ALLIES: Coordination between K12 Adult Schools and Community Colleges

The LAO Report on Restructuring Adult Education called for better coordination between K12 Adult Schools programs and Community Colleges.

That is happening in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties with the Allies program.

Here is information from the California Adult Schools website about ALLIES and the partnership between San Mateo Adult School and College of San Mateo.

ALLIES Encourages Community Collaboration - March 2012

The workforce gap is growing in California and immigrants are struggling to keep up with the rising educational requirements.
Today more than ever, post-secondary education is essential to securing stable employment. In addition to facing practical barriers such as cost and transportation, students may be daunted by similar course offerings at local adult schools and community colleges. ALLIES, an organization dedicated to supporting community-wide alliances to promote educational and career success of immigrants and their children, is tackling the issue head-on.  

(Hit the "read more" like to learn what Allies is doing in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Perspective: Gilberta Gonzalez

At the CCAE - California Council for Adult Education - State Conference in Sacramento last weekend, Gilberta Gonzalez shared her perspective on Adult Education - what's going on, what's at stake, what we need.  Gilberta is an ESL student in Los Angeles.  She is a leader in United Adult Students and last year, she won a National Literacy Award.  She was in Sacramento not just to attend the conference, but to deliver a petition of more than 10,000 signatures collected in just 10 days, a petition for accessible classes and dedicated funding and against Gov. Brown's plan to shift all Adult Education into the Community College system.  

Gilberta Gonzalez

Here is the speech she gave at the conference:

Good afternoon everybody! My name is Gilberta Gonzalez.
I am here as an Adult school student, as a mother, and a community member. Please we need your support because we don’t want Adult Education to be transferred to community colleges. I am going to tell you why.
(Hit the read more link to learn why... )

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Student Voice in Action: Leg Day

Click here to read San Mateo Adult School ESL Student (and ESL Day Student Council President) Hitomi's story about visiting the capitol to stand up and speak up for Adult Education.

Click here to read San Mateo Adult School ESL Student Marina's story on this same journey.

ESL Students Iglika, Hitomi, Marina and Natasha accompanied San Mateo Adult School Assistant Director Tim Doyle to the capitol for Leg Day, April 17th, 2013.

Iglika, Hitomi, Marina, Natasha, and Tim

(Photo courtesy of Hitomi)

CCAE State Conference: Bringing It Home

Ever go to a conference?  A fair?  A festival?

Ever wander from booth to booth, filling your bag with stuff then come home and dump it all out on the bed and ask yourself, "Now why did I bring all this crap home?  I will never ever use it... "

That is NOT what happened at the CCAE State Conference in Sacramento last weekend.

No... I'm pretty sure everyone who left that conference came home with these three magic beans:

Information  -

about the big picture
    how we got here
    where we can go
    how to get where we want to go

Inspiration  - 

through seeing and hearing
    courage, smarts, sharing, caring and long game strategy

and very importantly,

Other people to join hands with

     in the work to rebuild Adult Education.

Here's a recap:

The speakers were terrific.  CCAE videotaped all of them and we look forward to seeing them as they're uploaded onto CCAE's website.

(Note:  This recap is from my notes. 
If you have a sense I misunderstood something, leave a comment on the blog
and I will address.)

Hit the "read more" link to get the recap...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Voices Rising

Lots is going on around the state.

Gilberta Gonzalez
All over California,

teachers, administrators, community members,
legislators, advocates, business people, academics
and STUDENTS are lifting their voices in support of Adult Education.

For a powerful and inspiring example, look here and read about Gilberta Gonzalez's speech in Sacramento last Friday, April 19th, 2012

At this same CCAE State Conference in Sacramento, teachers Lisa Dolehide and Cynthia Eagleton (myself) gave a workshop on ESL Student Councils and Cultivating Student Voice.

Lisa's handout will be online soon.

In the meantime, you can go here for more info on cultivating student voice at your school.

These things work together, of course - Student Councils and Student Voice.

Student Council is authentic leadership and voice in action.  It fuels and models activism, leadership, unity, and power.

I will continue to add posts about Student Voice - examples, ideas, possibilities for working together.

Go here for  the LA Times article on the 10,000 signatures in 10 days that Gilberta helped to collect.

And remember -

Keep signing and sharing the Rebuild Adult Education - K12 Schools & Designated Funding Petition.

"like" the A4CAS Facebook page to connect with others around the state

and join CCAE, our best advocate in Sacramento.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

10,000 Signatures

Once again, LA is showing how it's done.

"With about 10,000 signatures already in hand, they are calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to dedicate greater funding to adult education and to keep programs located in local K-12 school districts. The group also wants to be included in decisions about how to reform the program."

"Students Rally to Support Adult Ed Programs" - 4.17.13 - LA Times - Carla Rivera

Juan Noguera, ESL Teachers, holds petitions in front of Evans Community Adult School in Los Angeles.

Monday, April 15, 2013

We Need the Fourth Leg


Stop the Cuts.  Rebuild Adult Education.  It matters.

Standing Up, Speaking Up, Shooting Up

Just as a grove of aspen grows, sending up new shoots from roots traveling underground, more and more Adult School communities are standing up and speaking up, with new petitions, actions, websites, videos, and social media activity.

Hit the "read more" link to see what people are doing around the state.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Inside the Chrysalis

Many people mistakenly think that somehow, inside that chrysalis, the caterpillar hardens up and hunkers down and maybe grunts a time or two as it pushes out beautiful wings... then sucks in its gut until it has the long, slim body of a butterfly.


What really happens is the caterpillar sort of melts down into something called imaginal cells.

What a cool name, hunh?   Like something Walt Disney would come up with:  Now we put the caterpillar in this little green envelope and then voila!  the imagination cells go blinkety blinkety presto chango and tranformagination magic happens!

But it is sort of like that.  The imaginal cells are like stem cells.  They can become anything.

In the case of the caterpillar, they become wings.  A few parts of the caterpillar remain.  The legs are more or less the same.  There are fewer of them, of course.

Are you getting the picture here?

We are inside the chrysalis.

Things have fallen apart.

Save Adult Ed - Sign the Petition! (playlist)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Now, Before the Knife

This Thursday, April 11, Gov. Brown's plan to shift Adult Ed out of the K-12 programs and solely into the Community College system, will go before the following Senate subcommittee: (Marty Block, chair) (Senator Roderick D. Wright) (Senator Mark Wyland)

Now is the time to contact these committee members and tell them Gov. Brown's plan is not what is best for California.  You can refer them to the petition.  You can refer them to this blog.  You can describe, in your own words, what YOU think is best for Adult Education.

We can and should keep Adult Education as it has been for many, many years:  primarily in K12 districts with a few programs within Community Colleges.  We can and should keep serving immigrants, parents, job seekers, and seniors.  There is no need to make massive changes in how Adult Ed is delivered or what it delivers.  It does a bang-up job of supporting California.

The problem is the money.