Saturday, November 15, 2014

Changes in the AB86 Workgroup

Changing of the Guard
The AB86 Workgroup is changing.

Background Information
AB86 is the law governing the new Regional Consortia System. 

The term "AB86" has come to be used to describe the whole enchilada - the planning process, the people in charge of the planning, etc. 

Here is the official AB86 website which has lots of good and helpful and constantly updated information.

AB86 Has Two Groups

The AB86 Cabinet is the boss group.  The buck stops with them. The Cabinet has 6 members - 3 from the CDE side (K12 Adult Schools) and 3 from the CCCO side (Community Colleges.)

The AB86 Workgroup is under the Cabinet.  The Workgroup is in charge of the nitty gritty stuff - the applications, the reports, and so on.  It has 12 members - again half and half with the CDE/CCCO bit.

AB86 Workgroup Changing

About a week ago, the Cabinet told the Work Group that the Work Group will be changed-up for this next stage which will include reviewing consortia plans and producing the March report for the Legislature.

I do not have full details on this process or the new members.  I wanted to share what I have in the interest of keeping everyone in the loop.  In other words, this the information is the best I have at the moment.  At some point, an official announcement will appear on the AB86 Website.  Until then, here is what I have.  Please read it knowing it is tentative.
Groups Invited to Join the New Workgroup (which I suppose doesn't mean they will say yes):

Association of California School Administrators  ACSA includes administrators from all branches of public ed.  Rocky Bettar will be the ACSA Representative on the new Workgroup.
Association of Community and Continuing Education From their website, "An Organization of California Community Colleges."  New Representative:  Unknown to me.

California Adult Education Administrators Association   CAEAA is just what it sounds like. CAEAA's Representative will be Cyndi Parulan-Colfer.
California Association of School Business Officials  I'm still trying to understand this one.

California Council for Adult Education  CCAE is all about K12 Adult Schools.  Bob Harper and Joanne Durkee, current members of the AB86 Workgroup, are also active in CCAE.   CCAE is made up of Admin, Teachers, Staff, Students, & Community Members.  CCAE Representative: Unknown to me.

California Federation of Teachers CFT is the smaller of the two big teachers unions.  They represent many sorts of teachers - K12, Community College, K12 Adult School, Pre-School, as well as Classified Staff, School Nurses, etc.  Jack Carroll will be the CFT Representative on the new Workgroup.  (Note:  I am a member of CFT.)
California School Boards Association From their website, "CSBA is the nonprofit education association representing the elected officials who govern public school districts and county offices of education. With a membership of nearly 1,000 educational agencies statewide, CSBA brings together school governing boards, and administrators from districts and county offices of education to advocate for effective policies that advance the education and well-being of the state’s more than 6 million school-age children. A membership-driven association, CSBA provides policy resources and training to members, and represents the statewide interests of public education through legal, political legislative, community and media advocacy."  CSBA Representative:  Unknown to me.

California Teachers Association CTA is the bigger of the two big teachers unions.  Unlike CFT, they are teachers only, no classified staff, no school nurses, etc.  UTLA, the Los Angeles Teachers Union, is associated with both CTA and CFT.  The CTA Representative will be Wendy Dillingham-Plew.
Community College Academic Senate  This is a group representing Community College faculty.
The Community College Academic Senate seemed to know about this change before others did.  Look to the bit at the end of this post for more info about that.  Also, note:  K12 Adult School Teachers do not have any sort of equivalent body.  There is no Adult School Academic House of Representatives.  Both CFT and CTA - the big teachers unions - represent both Community College and Adult School teachers, as well as K-12 teachers.  UTLA represents teachers in Los Angeles - not the whole state.  UTLA does have a branch that is Adult Ed specific.  In sum, there is no equivalent to the Academic Senate for Adult Schools.  ASCCC Rep:  Unknown to me.

Community College League From their website, "The Community College League of California ("The League") is a nonprofit public benefit corporation whose voluntary membership consists of the 72 local community college districts in California. Within The League are two major organizations which share a common mission, staff and fiscal resources: the California Community College Trustees (CCCT) and the Chief Executive Officers of the California Community Colleges (CEOCCC).  In addition, two other organizations are affiliated with The League: the Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA); and the California Community College Classified Senate (CCCCS). The League affiliated organizations have many goals and objectives similar to CCCT and CEOCCC and recognize that the sharing of facilities and some resources helps strengthen those common purposes. Yet it also is recognized that The League affiliate maintains total independence to pursue the objectives of its members which on occasion may be at variance with the positions taken by CCCT and CEOCCC."   Community College League Rep:  Unknown to me.

United Teachers of Los Angeles    The teachers union for Los Angeles which has the biggest Adult School in the state and a branch that is Adult School specific.  UTLA is associated with both CFT and CTA.  UTLA members can join CFT or CTA or both.   UTLA Rep:  Unknown to me.

I believe the current members of the Workgroup can stay on if they so choose.

The ASCCC - Community College Academic Senate - Knew This Change Was Coming

Note:  It seems the Community College Academic Senate - and maybe only the Community Academic Senate - had any idea this change was coming.

In their October 7 President's Update, it says:

After overcoming considerable resistance, the Academic Senate, in conjunction with other state-level faculty organizations, secured permission for ASCCC Noncredit Committee Chair Debbie Klein to attend the AB 86 Summit in Sacramento on October 6 and 7 and to observe this event from a Senate perspective in order to help inform our efforts.  We have also received a promise of adding a faculty representative to the state level AB 86 Workgroup, an oversight body whose lack of faculty representation has been a glaring deficiency. Other efforts are also underway to allow the ASCCC and other faculty groups to take a more prominent role in AB 86 planning oversight in order to provide assistance to local districts whose faculty voice is not being sufficiently included.

Why the ASCCC and maybe only the ASCCC seemed to know about this change, I don't know.

When I learned of the October 7 President's Update bit, I followed up on it by contacting folks who contacted members of the Workgroup. At that time, the Workgroup said the Academic Senate was not being invited.  And yet... clearly, the Academic Senate has been... and at the time, the Academic Senate publically said they had a promise of being invited.  So...  What happened?  I don't know.

Note: You can contact the Workgroup with questions and concerns and I highly recommend that you do.  Often they will answer you back.  Always they will read your email.  In any case, it is good and helpful to keep them in the loop and to ask them to keep us in the loop, as well.

As much as I can, I try to share what I know here.  I believe it is important that we all share information with each other, keeping in mind the common goal of saving, maintaining, and creating the best Adult Education system possible, part of the best Public Education possible in California.

As I have written many times on this blog, none of this is happening in isolation.  All these changes are happening in a larger context of Public Education Reform and Cultural Change.  To really understand things, we need to see the big picture.  We can do that only when we share information each other - because everyone has a special close-up view on one thing and a blind spot on something else.



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Splitting CCSF ESL: Proposed and Opposed

City College of San Francisco administration is proposing splitting up the ESL department.

It is important to know what is happening at CCSF because CCSF is essentially the sole provider of Adult Education in San Francisco. You can see the plan for the San Francisco Regional Consortium here

San Francisco and San Diego are often presented as models for how a Community College can (or should) deliver Adult Education.

What people often forget is that the Community College system, just like the K12 Adult School system and every other branch of public education, is undergoing reform.  Models being held up as examples may in fact no longer exist - or won't exist for much longer.  It is good to remember our role in this re-forming process.  We have both the right and the responsibility to assess the changes as they are proposed and to speak up about what we think will best serve us as a people.

CCSF has credit ESL and non-credit ESL.  The non-credit is what we generally call "Adult Education." 

The CCSF Administration is for splitting it.

The CCSF Department Chairs are against splitting the ESL department.
I will provide more information as I get it.  For now, here is a leaflet against splitting the department.
Save Community ESL!
CCSF management is proposing to split the ESL Department into two: ESL Community and ESL Vocational and Credit. This would effectively split ESL Noncredit into two pieces; part of noncredit would be under Community, and the other part of noncredit would be under Vocational and Academic. The reason being given is that two departments will be "more manageable" - rather than academically sound reasons such as excellent instruction, a viable program, and meeting real student needs.
Splitting the ESL Department in two is
DISRUPTIVE - The ESL Department once was divided into a noncredit "Centers" program and a credit program under the English Department. We have spent over a decade merging the two, and have achieved a seamless program that goes from Literacy to College Composition. Students move along this pathway at their own speed and have teachers who know the entire breadth of the program. Why would anyone want to disrupt this flow? Why would the college want to weaken the ESL program in this manner?
CONFUSING - How will students read the schedule? How will they enroll in courses in two different ESLs? How will they know the difference between the two? How would they enroll in a "Community" class at 8:00 a.m. and then a "Vocational" class at 10:00? Many do this effortlessly now. Moving from noncredit to credit is already daunting for students. This proposal would add yet another obstacle.
DAMAGING TO STUDENT PROGRESS - Students are now eligible for numerous certificates that include courses that, under this proposal, would be in two separate departments. Noncredit students are already not sufficiently aware of these certificates due to administration's failure to institute them since their inception in 2007. How would they earn certificates if they are split between two separate departments?
DISCRIMINATORY - The proposal to split ESL into "Community" and "Vocational and Academic" smacks of limiting the mission of City College to a degree and transfer mill. Relegating the largest part of noncredit to "Community" is a good way to make it easier to abandon these students in the near future. But the people who would be abandoned are the seniors, the recent immigrants, and those who have the least prior education - in other words, those who don't fit the current definition of "Student Success."
A whole and integrated ESL Department is
HIGH QUALITY - CCSF ESL is a central resource for San Francisco and its language minority inhabitants. If CCSF educates the workforce, ESL provides the support for non-native speakers to benefit from that training. Our minimum qualification for instructors, both credit and noncredit, is a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language.
ACCESSIBLE - Students come first, and our mission is to serve them in ways that will serve them best, at convenient locations and times. We see students as whole human beings and provide them with the instruction they need no matter what the label. We do not differentiate from an administrative point of view: credit or noncredit; vocational or academic.
FOCUSED ON STUDENT PATHWAYS - Versatile instructors who move easily between credit and noncredit are the best student advocates for transition from noncredit to credit and noncredit to vocational certificate programs. One department ensures that students move from entry to goal in one straight line.
INCLUSIVE - CCSF ESL is open to all. Our mission includes all of the above: community, vocational, academic and several important goals that have not even been mentioned: skills focus, citizenship, bridge-to-vocational courses, and bridge-to-academic courses.
Special Trustee with Extraordinary Powers Robert Agrella          (no phone listed at
Chancellor Arthur Tyler                415 239 3303


Sunday, November 2, 2014

From the "Things That Are Disturbing" File: David Perdue and Adult Education

Robert Reich, on his Facebook page, shares:
“I spent most of my career” outsourcing jobs, said David Perdue, a business executive who’s running for Senate from Georgia in one of the closest-watched and tightest races in the nation. "This is a part of American business, part of any business. Outsourcing is the procurement of products and services to help your business run. People do that all day." He blames America’s jobs losses instead on “bad government policies: tax policy, regulation, even compliance requirements. It puts us at a competitive disadvantage with the rest of the world.”

David Perdue is a Commissioner on the National Commission on Adult Literacy.   He is also CEO of the Dollar GeneralAnd as of November 5, he's a U.S. Senator from Georgia.

There are two big organizations that help shape Adult Ed policy on the national level, NCAL (the National Commission on Adult Literacy), and NCL (the National Coalition for Literacy).

They aren't only the shapers, of course.  Grassroots groups, Teachers Unions, Legislators, Think Tanks, Academics, there are many.  But these two groups definitely have an impact and they work on the national level, which is important. 

More and more, things are flowing in a top down and federal sort of way - Common Core, College & Career Readiness, these are changes flowing from DC.  California is and isn't embracing these changes.  We are a big state with an economy stronger than most of the world's countries.  California doesn't say yes to everything.  It sometimes does things its own way and until the Crash of 2009, it had much stronger and better Adult Education than most states which it funded with its own money - unlike many states.  All that in mind, it is still 1 of 50 states united under a Federal Government which has been changing public education in a number of significant ways.   And where California isn't saying "yes" to changes suggested by the Federal Government, it's making its own changes.  All in all, in California and everywhere else in these United States, public education is changing.

None of that, in and of itself, is good or bad.  It is change.  As always, we need to be awake to what is changing, look it over closely in light of the big picture, and then consider how the changes do or don't benefit our people.  If and where we think the changes are beneficial, we need to nurture and encourage those changes.  If and where we consider them harmful, we need to take steps to arrest the bad and begin the good.

Back to our story, the similarity of the names and acronyms - NCL and NCAL - makes it hard to remember which is which but it's important to try.  They are different in some important ways.  I won't try to detail the differences here.  I'll doing so to my "List of One Hundred Posts I Need to Write."

I will note that NCL and NCAL are similar in an important way.  Both have received big funds from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.  History of NCL here.  History of NCAL here.

From the "Adult Ed Reform" post on the Alliance for California Adult Schools Blog:

National Commission on Adult Literacy - The Council grew out of two background assessment and planning projects carried out in early 2001. Funding for that work came from Harold W. McGraw, Jr., The Ford Foundation, and The Carnegie Corporation. One project assessed the status and lingering problems of adult literacy, following the work of the Business Council for Effective Literacy (BCEL); the other explored the feasibility of establishing a blue-ribbon commission on adult literacy. Both projects developed lengthy research and action agendas, and the rationale for them. CAAL was formed to build on that foundation, including the work of BCEL, its predecessor organization.  Chairman of NCAL, David Perdue (Dollar General Literacy Foundation)

I created my own powerpoint on Adult Ed Reform for the Grassroots Summit last summer in June 2014 but have yet to post it on this blog.

One thing that is always strange and interesting to me is the involvement of Dollar Stores in Adult Education.  Both of the big Dollar stores have been involved in Adult Ed philanthropy/policy (Dollar General and Family Dollar).  Dollar General - David Perdue's company - is now in pursuit of Family Dollar so we may be down to just one horse in the race very soon. 

On the one hand, I can see that a Dollar Store corporation would understand the struggles of people who, because of poverty, are very likely to shop at Dollar Stores.  Poverty has a strong connection with lack of education.  And yet, the fact that David Perdue, CEO of Dollar General, considers outsourcing something to be proud of... Wow, how does this work?  How does outsourcing connect with a place to buy cheap stuff made by people working very hard jobs probably without a lot of work and safety rules connect with Adult Education?  If you are providing people with a place to buy cheap stuff and you are sending jobs overseas, what kind of education might you suggest would be best for the country?

Who benefits?  That was the question that drove my own powerpoint on Adult Ed Reform and I suppose at some point I should post it here.

In the meantime, I wanted to be sure you knew about Mr. Perdue.

You can put it in your "Things That Are Disturbing" file where it will hopefully compost into "Great Ideas For How to Increase Democracy and Public Engagement in Great Public Education."

Such things do happen.

From this... this... It happens!

CCAE November Communicator: The Countdown Begins

For the full November Communicator, click here.  Here is the Legislative Update:
The Countdown Begins
The countdown has begun - 11 weeks to the release of the January FY 15-16 budget proposal that will provide insight in to the future of adult education.  While we believe we have made significant headway with the Department of Finance (DOF) this fall, we are not likely to know the details until the proposal is released, January 9th. This is certainly unnerving for us all, without question.  Nevertheless, we put a strong strategic advocacy plan in place to help impact the outcome and are feeling very good about it. At the local level you have stepped up in a big way - garnering support from your superintendents, boards, community, elected officials, and more. At the state level, we have also been working hard to put together a strong coalition to support K12 adult education and fight for a budget plan that ensures stability for the K12 system ahead of the March 15th layoff notice deadline. We've held countless meetings with stakeholders, elected officials, legislative budget and policy staff, DOF, and more.
In terms of the key issues we've been focused on, they include:
  • Focused on a Dedicated, Stable Funding Structure for K-12 Adult Schools 
  • Transition Year - Maintain K12 Capacity
  • Utilizing Existing State Fiscal Infrastructures to Apportion Funding
  • AB 86 Plans Inform & Drive Funding
We believe these are critical components of a workable January budget proposal. As a matter of fact, we have prepared and put forth our own CCAE and CAEAA proposal that addresses these key issues in a manner that is consistent with the goals of the Administration and DOF - win / win! Our proposal would provide for FY 15-16 to be a transition year whereby roughly $350 million would be taken from the DOF-proposed $500 million pot to maintain capacity in the K12 system - first and foremost. This will help ensure stability for existing capacity in K12 adult schools by giving school districts a clear sense of what they can expect to include in their FY 15-16 budgets for adult education and avoid the need to issue layoff notices by the March 15th deadline. The $150 million leftover would go towards addressing the needs and gaps outlined in the AB 86 regional plans across the state. Certainly, $500 million is nowhere close to sufficient to meet the needs that exist today, but it is a start and we have the commitment from Finance to allocate at least that in January's proposal. At this point, the critical component is to ensure stability and avoid losing current capacity - we believe this approach helps achieve that in the transition year. Additionally, we are proposing that the FY 15-16 budget also allocate the FY 16-17 funding and set up a process to decide how best to distribute that funding to the regions and at the local level based on the AB 86 regional plans starting in the second year. Starting such planning early, with an idea of what school districts will have to budget with going in to the next budget cycle, will help provide greater clarity in budgeting year over year. 
And while we believe we have made considerable headway in working with DOF, we are not out of the woods yet. One key issue that remains a challenge is the flow of resources. DOF continues to be interested in an approach whereby funding would be provided to the Community College Chancellor's Office (CCCO) for distribution to the regional fiscal agents who would then distribute the funding to the consortium partners. We continue to have serious concerns with such a distribution approach. We believe strongly that such an approach would run the risk of distancing adult education programs from K12 districts. Regional plans build upon the unique identity of K12 adult schools and so it is imperative that they continue to be tied to CDE and their individual school districts. This connection is critically important in terms of access for the students the K12 system serves; the learning mechanisms associated with basic skills needs that builds upon the K12 model of teaching to ensure proper uptake of the education that is more closely aligned to K12 curriculum; staffing issues related to contracts, oversight, development, etc.; accreditation; federal oversight and matching; and more.  Should the direct fiscal connection to CDE and the individual school districts be lost, K12 adult schools will lose their identity and the undeniable benefit to the students we serve will be destroyed as school districts are distanced from support of their adult schools. This preventable wedge would potentially reduce the access so many of our students rely on.
It is for these reasons that CCAE and CAEAA have offered a proposal that would model the distribution of funds similar to the Perkins funding model whereby CDE is provided the allocation from the federal government and with an Interagency Agreement with the CCCO provides the CC allocation to the Chancellor's office to distribute to its community college districts. Similarly, our proposal would provide the funding, consistent with the Perkins model and DOF's interest in providing the funding to the CCCO's office, to the CCCO's office and require an Interagency Agreement with CDE to allow CDE to in turn distribute the funds directly to school districts using its existing fiscal infrastructures. We believe we are on solid ground with such a proposal that would avoid the bureaucracy and concerns with a local fiscal agent and utilize existing fiscal infrastructure through CDE and the CCCO - effective and efficient.
In terms of moving forward over the next 11 weeks, we urge you to continue your efforts at the local level to garner support for maintaining K12 adult schools and current capacity. And for those schools that have not yet finalized their Nascar or Superintendent letters, we ask you to wrap them up and send them in to the Governor within the week. Finance will be presenting their proposal to him very soon, and we want to be sure he is hearing from across the state. Additionally, continue to meet with your local legislators as we move towards January.  Of note, some districts will have new members elected as of November 4th - be sure to know who your members are and for those that are new we urge you to work quickly to bring them up to speed on our efforts and what lies ahead. In terms of specific talking points for your legislators, we recommend the following key points be made:
1) Maintain & Stabilize K-12 Capacity
2) Transition Year w/ Maintenance of Capacity Funding for K12 Out of FY 15-16 Allocation
3) Perkins Model Distribution - CDE Allocation to K12 Districts through Interagency Agreement w/ CCCO
Again, we feel like we are on very solid ground with our proposal, which we have shared with DOF and the Legislature. Keep up the great work at the local level, and rest assured we won't rest until K12 adult schools are stabilized. We have a strong, supportable plan that protects the critical access to our programs and services and will continue to push forward with advocacy to ensure its intent is included in the January proposal. Strength in numbers!
To access the funding proposal and related documents, as well as the list of cc emails for your Nascar and Superintendent letters, you can visit
"I'll take a stable budget for K12 Adult Schools, please,
for 300... "

Montebello Adult Ed Advocates October Newsletter

From the Adult Education Advocates in the Montebello Community, the October Newsletter:


A Newsletter on Adult Education in California
October 2014


With significant amendments, Senator Carol Liu’s SB 173 passed the legislature and was approved by Governor Brown. As amended, its provisions add to the factors applicable to the present AB 86 work, calling for the following:

• Requires the California Department of Education (CDE) and the state Chancellor’s Office (CO)
to issue assessment and policy guidelines to be used for purposes of student placement in adult

• Requires CDE and CO to issue policy recommendations to the legislature regarding a comprehensive accountability system for adult education.

• Requires CDE and CO to issue recommendations on adult education fees.

• Requires the CO, in conjunction with CDE, to annually report on courses and student
enrollments in adult education, and report on deficits in course offerings based on needs
identified by adult education consortia.

• Requires the Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the Academic Senate for California
Community Colleges to submit recommendations by July 1, 2016 on the reciprocity of adult
education instructors in K-12 districts and community colleges.

The good news is that with the enactment of SB 173, the legislature and Governor are affirming that the work of the adult education consortia is being taken seriously. SB 173 further affirms that a new adult education program will begin on July 1, 2015, and the continued work of the consortia will be needed to implement the AB 86 consortia plans. The added factor of the SB 173 accountability also will serve to inform state decision makers on the effectiveness of adult education!programs.

What to Do . . .


As 2015 approaches and the state legislature and governor begin their work, it becomes critical that all state legislators are aware of what is at stake for adult education and that they get information on your programs and your AB 86 consortium work. One approach to informing legislators will not be enough.

Versions of the following are needed: Visits to local offices; Invitations for legislators to see your
programs and participate in your events; and Letters from staffs and students.

The current reality in the state legislature is that an increasing percentage of members comes from families that are much like those of students in adult education. The new President Pro Tem of the State Senate, Kevin de Leon, in his inaugural speech, praised his mother for overcoming significant barriers in raising her family. The support is there in the legislature, but members need the information to become fellow advocates for adult education.

Developed by Adult Education Advocates in the Montebello Community