Friday, April 25, 2014

When and Where is Education a Civil Right?

Clearly, this is another Perspective piece.  Mine.  Yours is welcome.  Click "Perspective" to share.

CAELA - Community of Adult ESL and Literacy Advocates, part of Harvard's Graduate School of Education, is holding a Summit on Adult Education entitled, "At What Age Does A Civil Right Expire?" on Saturday, April 26th, 2014.

Hooray for Harvard!

And hooray for our people who benefit wherever and whenever Adult Education is valued, considered, bettered, and funded.

I learned of the Summit because CAELA reached out to the San Mateo Adult School student leadership team.  CAELA is interested in how and why the students at SMAS are so active and effective.  

CAELA reached out to A4CAS, the Alliance for California Adult Schools, as well.  Grassroots efforts from A4CAS, United Adult Students, COSAS, Save CCSF, and others have helped save Adult Education in California and continue to push for its survival, health, and improvement.  CAELA is interested in the role that grassroots organizations have had in determining policy.

Hit the "read more" to learn more.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Adult Learners Matter

The now famous, seen around the world, "Victory Pic,"
taken on the day of the May Revise, 2013
by SMAS Program Coordinator, Instructor, and Photographer Tom Jung
Students - Adult Learners - are why Adult Education exists.

Listening to and understanding the knowledge, wisdom, and perspective of Adult Learners is the key to creating the best Adult Education system possible.

Because Adult Education has been devastated by cuts and closures...  70 K12 Adult Schools having been closed and all having been slashed and burned...  creating a situation where it is easy to come in and do great good or great wrong... much as burning a field leaves the earth open to a new crop of wheat or weeds.

Because Adult Education is in the midst of a transformation, re-forming in new ways under new laws, shaped by varying and competing interests and perspectives... some of which have more power than others...

Because Adult Education is without stable funding, in particular K12 Adult Schools, which adds further uncertainty and anxiety to the mix, making it easy to either abandon or rush the process of wise decision-making and which makes K12 Adult Schools a weakened player in negotiations within the new Regional Consortia system...

Because Adult Education, through "budgetary policy," was changed...  so that it has, in effect, a new, more narrowed mission... and populations it once served are now at double risk... they are part of Adult Education only if funding can found...  funding which takes time and effort to find and maintain... and funding which might or might not remain stable... and which must continue to be managed and maintained...

Because Adult Education serves populations with limited English and/or knowledge of how the system works and/or access to a means of being heard... and it is therefore easy to fall into the trap of thinking Adult Learners do not care about understanding or engaging in the process of a determining a new and better future for Adult Education...  or have the capacity to do so... or have important knowledge and wisdom to bring to the table...

It is crucial that we see that Adult Learners are at the table with much to share.

And it is crucial that we listen to them.

To have the best Adult Education system possible, we need

*   Adult Learners to share their knowledge, perspective, and wisdom

*   Teachers, administrators, politicians, and community members to listen and

*   Make sure that Adult Learners included in decision making

To that end, here is some:

In March, for CCAE Leg Day, San Mateo Adult School Morning Student Council President Marco, along with ESL Student Daniel went to Sacramento to talk to Legislators about Adult Education.

You can read Marco's report here

Last year, in 2013, San Mateo Adult School Morning Student Council President Hitomi went to CCAE Leg Day, along with ESL Students Marina, Natalia, and Iglika. 

You can read Hitomi's report here and Marina's report here.

Marco, Hitomi, and Marina all attended the Townhall about the new Regional Consortia this past Fall. 

You can read Marco's report here and Hitomi's report here and Marina's report here.

You can see all three of them in a video explaining the Red for Adult Ed campaign here.

You can read Marco advice on getting people involved in school community leadership here.  This advice was part of a student led workshop at the CCAE Bay Conference in March 2014

Here are the results of the survey that San Mateo Adult School students created to find out what students want for the future of Adult Education.

In November of 2013, a team of SMAS students met with students from Berkeley Adult School to share information and encourage advocacy to save Adult Education.

Berkeley Adult School and San Mateo Adult School students in conversation
In January, US Dept of Ed Asst Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education Dr. Dann-Messier and Director of Adult Ed Cheryl Keenan visited San Mateo Adult School.  Dr. Dann-Messier met with students in a roundtable discussion to hear their opinions.  You can read Marina's report about the event here.
Dr. Dann-Messier with SMAS students and administration

In January of this year, Hitomi, Marco, and Marco attended a Legislative Oversight Hearing on Adult Ed.  You can read their reports here (Hitomi), here (Marco), and here (Marina.)

Marina, Hitomi, and Marco
speaking at the Legislative Oversight Hearing on Adult Education

This Spring, San Mateo Adult School ESL students celebrated Adult Education Week with a Poster Contest and an Essay Contest.

You can read Susana's essay about how the Adult School helps her here and Galyna's here and Saul's here and Karen's here and Kevin's here and Ignacio's here and Patricia's here.

And here are a few of the wonderful posters the students made about why Adult Education Matters.

In 2013, ESL Students celebrated Adult Education Week with many activities.  You can read about the many things they did here.  You can read some of the student essays here, and here and here. and here.

The ESL Writing Intensive Class worked on a number of letter and essay projects.  Here is an essay about Adult Education by Elsa Teixara.  And here is a collection of letters written to the Legislature.

And here is an essay by a San Mateo Adult School GED student about her experience studying for the GED at SMAS.

The SMAS Student Council takes provides both leadership and funding for many efforts.

Selling t-shirts and buttons at CCAE Bay Conference

The SMAS Student Council pays for and sells t-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, and posters to promote Adult Education and Red for Adult Ed.  It paid for the two Adult Education Matters banners.  And it has funded and promotes many other efforts to save Adult Education, including Red for Adult Ed Tuesdays and stamps and stationary for Red Letter Day letter writing campaigns.

Red Letter Day
Student Letter Writing Campaign to the Legislature and Governor

SMAS student leadership was profiled in this San Mateo Daily Journal article, "Active advocates at adult school’s student councils: Students organize events, share opinions on policies and priorities."

A Student Council Representative invited Univision to visit SMAS during the 2013 Adult Education week. 

SMAS student leaders have spoken at the San Mateo Union High School District Board meetings.

Check out the adulteducationmatters website with 14 testimonial videos from current or former Adult Ed students.

And this video of Older Adults Student Herb Alonzo speaking at the SMAS Press Conference:

Or the many other videos of students speaking at the press conference which you can find at the AdultEdMatters and TeacherBruce1 youtube channels.

You can read about the press conference in this San Mateo Daily Journal article, "Worry grows over possible adult school cuts."

And don't miss this student-made video:  CA Adult Schools:  To Be or Not.

Those are a few examples of San Mateo Adult School students expressing their opinions, lifting their voices, sharing their wisdom about Adult Education - why it matters, what they need, what they want.

There are plenty more! I just got tired trying to link to all of them.  Check out for more.

There are also plenty of examples of student action outside of San Mateo Adult School, including:

this speech by LA Adult Ed Student Gilberta Gonzalez at the CCAE 2013 State Conference
Gilberta Gonzalez
Los Angeles
Adult School Student

this website which is a record of the successful campaign in LA to save Adult Ed programs

*  numerous videos of students rallying, including this one in Baldwin Park

this petition to save Adult Ed programs  - with over 10,000 signatures, many of them students

this blogpost about Oakland Adult School Family Literacy student actions to save their program

this article about action in Fairfield to save Adult Ed programs

* numerous student actions to save City College of San Francisco,
provider of Adult Education in San Francisco

*  student actions in Azusa, Riverside, Sweetwater, and elsewhere. 

*  GED, Older Adults, Parent Ed, and Career Tech students lifting to voices to speak up about the value and need for their programs.

Want more?  Search "save adult education California" and see what comes up.

And comb through the following sources:

San Mateo Adult ESL Student Blog

Save Adult Education

United Adult Students

       And then get your red ready for Tuesdays!
SMAS Students wearing Red for Adult Ed
Summer 2014 SMAS brochure cover
Full poster for sale at SMAS $10
photo credit:  Tom Jung

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Adult Education: The Invisible Power

In many ways, this is a Perspective piece - both because it is from my perspective and because it is about how a shift in perspective can change everything.  As always, I welcome other perspectives.  Contact me at cyn dot eagleton and then the "at" sign and then g and them mail and then dot and then com if you are interested in sharing a perspective piece here.
Edsource and the California State PTA are holding a Symposium on Public Education Reform in Los Angeles on May 7.
From the article:
Public education in California is undergoing radical reforms that change everything – from how students will be tested on what they learn to the fundamental way schools are evaluated. 
An EdSource symposium in Los Angeles next month will help the public make sense of the changes and how they’ll shape the future of education in the state. 
The May 7 event, offered in partnership with the California State PTA, brings together some of the top experts in their fields to discuss the impact of reforms underway.
There is no mention of Adult Education anywhere on the program.
A little over two years ago, I proposed an Adult Ed Needs a Seat at the Table campaign.  We took pictures of students holding up plates that said why they need Adult Education.  We made the case that we needed to be at the table when decisions about the future of Adult Ed were made.
I don't disagree with that.
But I have learned and thought plenty since then - and that has shifted my perspective. 
Adult Ed does not need a place at the table.
Because Adult Ed has a place at the table.
What Adult Ed doesn't always have is visibility.

Hit the "read more" link to learn more.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"No One Is Safe"

This Save Your Adult School blog post -

Assembly Budget Subcommittee 2 Hearing, April 8, 2014

provides important information and insight into key Adult Education issues including

- equity of power between K12 Adult Schools and Community Colleges in the Regional Consortia

- the need for awareness, caution, and action

A few excerpts:

"The subcommittee asked Dr. Harper if the fact that the funding for the consortium will be coming through the community colleges distorts the collaboration process that is central to the consortia. Dr. Harper’s frank answer, that it cannot help but do so, should set off alarm bells. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that a legislative body has brought up what should be an obvious issue: the lack of independent funding for adult schools puts adult schools in a “one down” position when negotiating with the community colleges, who have their own dedicated funding. If the state wants the consortia to be healthy, well functioning bodies, this kind of inequality should be the last thing they want. The state needs to look seriously at ways to put adult schools on a more equal footing with community colleges. Dedicated funding of their own would be a good start."

"No One Is Safe"

"Watching the long lines of Future Farmers of America and CTE students pleading for their programs made me think of discussions we adult education advocates had back when categorical flexibility first raised its ugly head. Remember those? CTE is safe, we used to say. It’s job preparation, everyone loves that. High School Diploma is safe; school districts need it to serve kids who drop out of high school. ESL is safe; how can immigration reform work without it?

How wrong we were. Future farmers and future engineers can tell us: no one is safe. Oakland doesn’t have High School Diploma anymore. We learned at this hearing that CTE is devastated. Older adult, Parent Education, Health and Safety and Home Economics programs are the most at risk now, but we can’t take anything for granted. It’s good to know the consortia are starting to pick up the pieces, and it looks like they will, but you can’t count on preserving anything you don’t fight for, which brings us to …

Next Hearing
Senate Budget Committee #1
Tuesday,  April 29
9:00 AM
State Capitol, Rm 3191"

Hit this link to read the full post - which I highly recommend you do.

Hit this link for information about the next hearing which will be before Senate Budget Subcommittee 1. 

And the members of Senate Budget Subcommittee 1 are:

Marty Block (Chair)

Carol Liu, author of SB 173 Education Funding: Adult Health & Safety Education

Mark Wyland

If you can attend the hearing, do so.  Attendance makes a difference.

And most definitely connect with Senators Block, Liu, and Wyland beforehand through a call, email, or letter to tell them what you know, need, and want for Adult Education and K12 Adult Schools.

Do not assume someone will speak up for you.

The Prize is 2015-16 K12 Adult Education Funding

From Adult Education Advocates in the Montebello community:

Torlakson Wants Your Opinion

Tom Torlakson, Superintendent of the California Department of Education, wants your input.

April 15th, he sent out this letter:

"   ...We are in the midst of carrying out Governor Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula to empower parents, teachers, and local school leaders to make their own decisions about how education dollars are spent.

It’s an exciting time for our schools. Parents, teachers, and community members are starting to work together to ensure students get the skills they'll need to be successful in the real world of careers and college. New career technical education programs are taking shape in many schools. Others are working to restore the arts, civics, and STEM.

How about you? What priorities do you have for improving the schools in your community?

To share your ideas and hopes with me, click here."

How does that connect to Adult Education?

Until 2015, when the MOE runs out, money for K12 Adult Schools still runs through K12 Districts.

After 2015, there is no funding for K12 Adult Schools. 

Gov. Brown has more or less promised to provide funding but how that funding will be provided has yet to be decided and must be worked out through and with the Legislature - who are our representatives -in other words, tell them what you know, what you want, what you need!

Will it come in through the Regional Consortia?  If so, what does that mean in terms of equity of power within the Consortia.  Community Colleges already receive money through apportionment.  So how will that work? 

Will K12 Adult Schools be returned to their protected categorical status?  Many think this is a non-starter but other programs, such as CTE - Career Tech Ed, which used to have protected categorical status, and just like K12 Adult Ed, lost that in the "Flex," are now fighting for a return to protected status.  And CTE, with Assemblymember Muratsuchi as their legislative champion, is making headway.

Alliance for California Adult Schools started a petition to restore protected funding for K12 Adult Schools.   Will the petition and enthusiasm for this idea catch fire?  We'll see.

People are overwhelmed with all the changes going on in education.  It's hard enough understanding and navigating the changes, let alone making wise, informed choices, suggesting or promoting new ideas, or making a case for going slowly, gathering input, and keeping an eye on the both the future as the past as we make decisions now.

That's all the more reason it's good that Torlakson is asking for input and all the more reason we should provide it.

Torlakson has been a good supporter of Adult Education and of K12 Adult Schools.  When Gov. Brown wanted to move all Adult Education programs inside the Community College system, Torlakson said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."   And he is a keynote speaker Saturday, April 26th at the CCAE State Conference in San Diego.

Torlakson's call for input is a great opportunity to speak up about the value of Adult Education and the need for Designated Funding for K12 Adult Schools.

Click here to send Torlakson a message.

California Department of Education
Superintendent Tom Torlakson
(photo credit:
He's asked to hear from us -
                      and he's waiting!

And if you want more information about LCFF - the Local Control Funding Formula - click here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Call Congress about WIA Reauthorization

Good news!   This campaign was won! 
Info about win below all the other info.

CCAE issued an urgent call to action today:

Dear CCAE Members,
We are facing a huge problem with WIA reauthorization. There is the possibility that the final bill may include a provision consolidating Adult Education with the Title One Workforce Development programs. This would raise the possibility that adult education would become a workforce development program and that we could lose the ability to provide educational services to low level students.   
Please contact the staff of the members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee and the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee asking that ADULT EDUCATION NOT BE CONSOLIDATED WITH TITLE I IN THE NEW WIA LEGISLATION.
If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact me.
Larriann Torrez
CCAE State President
Here are the Congress Members on the committees who are from California:

House Education and Workforce Committee

Chair George Miller  Richmond Office:  (510) 262-6500

Member Howard "Buck" McKeon   Santa Clarita Office: (661) 254-2111

Member Duncan Hunter El Cajon Office: (619) 448-5201

Member Susan Davis  San Diego Office: Phone: (619) 280-5353

Hit the "read more" link for more info.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

AB86 Report - Timeline

The AB86 Cabinet and Workgroup submitted a report to the Legislature on the progress of the AB86 Adult Planning Project.

The report, which is in PDF form, includes a Timeline, list of Grant Awards, and participating School Districts.

Here is the timeline:

Hit the "read more" link to see it.

AB86 Report: Grant Awards by Regional Consortia

On April 7, 2014, The AB86 Cabinet and Workgroup submitted a report to the Legislature on the progress of the AB86 Adult Planning Project.

The report, which is in PDF form, includes the Timeline, the Grant Awards, and the Participating School District Members.

Here are the Grant Awards (Appendix G):

Com College District No. - Com College District Name -  Fiscal Agent -  Allocation Amount

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

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

April 2014 Budget Hearings

There are two important Subcommittee meetings pertaining to Adult Education in April.

Due to a life of rising tides I failed to post about the first Subcommittee meeting - too bad because these meetings are important opportunities to connect with Legislators.

Legislators are no different from you or me.  They have eight zillion things to do - sometimes ten zillion - and on top of that they need to understand and process things deeply in order to make wise decisions - and they even have personal lives, which rise and fall with their own tides.


When there is a meeting where Adult Education is going to be discussed, this is an important moment.  The busy Legislator has their mind open and on the topic.  The information that is presented at that time is important. 

We missed the moment for the first Subcommittee meeting - but not for the second.

Here is some information about both:

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