Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Update on Berkeley Adult School

The long term fate of Berkeley Adult School, whether or not it will remain in place, share space with a new Elementary School or REALM Charter School, move to a new location, or be decentralized into several different locations, remains uncertain.   For back story on this situation, go here.

At the Feb 24th, Wednesday meeting of the BUSD School Board, there are two agenda items that may relate to this situation:

Enrollment/Capacity Update and Potential Action (Action Item #1)

Facilities Plan Update (Information Item #1).

Public input is welcome, wanted, and needed at this meeting.

Remember:  While we in the United States have created a system where public education is to tied to property taxes, public education belongs to the public - because all of us depend on its outcome - not just those who own property.  That is why Governor Brown asked the public to vote for Prop 30, a special tax just for education, and why all of us are paying that tax, whether or not we own property, have children, attend school, or plan to attend school in the future.

The children or adults who could one day discover solutions to economic, medical and Climate Change challenges, may or may not be property owners or the children of property owners.  We need everyone to be educated, able to contribute their gifts to the greatest degree possible, able to communicate with others in English, and healthy, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

More than ever, our future depends on the wellness of the whole.

More info on the BUSD Board Meeting:

All Regular Business Meetings convene at approximately 7:30 PM, unless otherwise noted.
All Study Sessions convene at 6:30 PM.
Location: All Regular Business Meetings and Study Sessions of the School Board are held in the Board Room at 1231 Addison St., unless otherwise noted on the meeting agenda.
Parking: Ample parking is available in the large lot on Browning St. just beyond where Addison and Browning Streets intersect.
Berkeley School Board Meetings are televised on local cable channel 33!
You can view them live on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. on meeting nights, or when the meeting is rebroadcast the following Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m. All televised board meetings are available on Vimeo.com by Board Item, and can be easily accessed in the Board Updates posted on the far right column below.
Meetings agendas are available on the Friday before the meeting. Just bookmark this page so that you can keep informed about items to be discussed as well as special School Board presentations and discussions.

Board Meeting Information

Upcoming Meetings:
  • February 25 (includes additional spec mtg)

Spring 2015 Legislative Events Addressing Adult Education

Your participation is the needed piece
This Spring, there are several important committee meetings in Sacramento affecting Adult Education and Adult Schools.  The public is welcome at all these meetings and there is always a time for public comment at the end.  You do not need to make a reservation to attend.  Simply show up.  Getting there early assures you a seat.  You can also often listen to the hearings live and/or listen - or even watch - them later as most of them are recorded
This provides quite a bit of transparency, accountability, and opportunity for input - if we, the people, make use of it.
Here  are the dates and times of the hearings - along with a few notes:
March 11:  Joint Hearing by Assembly Higher Education and Senate Education.  The AB86 group will present their report at this hearing.  AM Jose Medina, Chair of the Assembly Higher Ed Committee, is a former Adult Ed ESL teacher.  Senator Carol Liu is the Chair of Senate Education Committee. and the author of SB173.   (To read about the Oversight Hearing on Adult Education by these same committees, go here.)
March 24th:  The Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education will meet about Adult Education and Career Technical Education.   9:00 AM in Room 444.   This is the same day as CCAE Leg Day.  Committee Member AM Rocky Chavez, at the January 29th Oversight Hearing on Adult Education, spoke insightfully about the need to move carefully and not ask Public Ed to make too many changes too fast in too many areas.
April 7th:  The Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education will meet at 9:30 AM in room 3191.  Chair Marty Block has a background in education and law.

Be sure to check this post to see what else is happening in the world of Adult Ed this Spring.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Adult Ed Spring Events 2015

It's Spring - and that means conferences and conventions and legislative hearings and meetings and lots of talk about budget leading up to July 1st, 2015, the start of a new fiscal year and a new era for Adult Education in California.

Each event has its own focus. 

Every event is a chance to connect with and learn from others. 

Here's what's happening in the world of Adult Ed Spring 2015 along with my notes about how the event connects with advocacy for Adult Ed.

1.  CCAE Bay Section Conference February 28 in Berkeley, Northern California.   State Senator Loni Hancock and Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates will speak.  There will be a variety of valuable workshops, including a SMAS presentation on The Power of Student Leadership.  The Conference will be held at Berkeley Adult School which  recently faced the possibility of being uprooted or decentralized.  This brings home the truth we are still in the process of stabilizing Adult Schools and Adult Education.  Until the new funding model is decided, secure, and in place, the back door to every Adult School is open to trouble.  A large group of SMASrs, including myself, will be attending this conference.

2. San Diego Regional CATESOL Conference March 7   The primary focus of CATESOL is teaching English as a Second Language.    "Kate Kinsella, EdD, a teacher educator at San Francisco State University, will be the featured speaker. Dr. Kinsella is a national leader in the field of academic language and literacy whose 25-year teaching career focus has been equipping youths from diverse backgrounds with the communication, reading, and writing skills to be career and college ready."  We can guess that the keynote speaker was chosen at least in part because CCR - college and career ready - are the new watch words in Public Education, including Adult Education.

3.   March 11:  Joint Hearing by Assembly Higher Education and Senate Education Committees.  The AB86 Group will present their report about Adult Education and the new Regional Consortia system at this hearing.

4. OTAN Technology and Distance Learning Symposium March 13-14 in San Leandro, Northern California.  Many of the tech skills I use for advocacy I learned through OTAN.  It's important that every Adult Ed teacher know tech skills - and how to teach them - because tech skills are a big key to success for Adult Learners.  Tech skills are also a powerful means to advocate for Adult Ed and to empower others to do so.

5.  CFT Convention March 20-22 in Manhattan Beach, Southern California.  CFT - California Federation of Teachers - represents a variety of teachers (University, Community College, K12, Adult School, Pre-school, Charter, etc.) along with classified staff and school nurses. Several resolutions regarding Adult Education will go to the floor for a vote at the Convention.

6.  Adult Education Week March 23 - 27  Need ideas for what your school can do for Adult Ed Week?  Check out these and these and these and these.

7.  CCAE Leg Day March 24  Not only administrators and teachers but students will visit Legislators and their staffers on this day.  CCAE is the only organization which includes admin, teachers, students, and community members.  Here is Former SMAS ESL Student Council President Marco's report on Leg Day 2014.  Student participation in Leg Day creates a ripple effect of positivity in Sacramento and in your local school community.

8.  The Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education will meet about Adult Education and Career Technical Education on March 24th at 9:00 AM in Room 444.

9.  The Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education will meet on April 7th at 9:30 AM in room 3191.

10.  CFT Lobby Days April 20 - 21   CFT provides good education and support at their Lobby Days event.  Members visit legislators in diverse groups to talk to legislators or their staffers about various concerns.  I attended this event last year and it was very worthwhile.

11.  Network for Public Education Conference April 25 - April 26 in Chicago, Illinois

This is the 2nd National Conference put on by NPE.  The theme this year is "Public Education:  Our Kids, Our Schools, Our Communities."  Speakers will include
* Jitu Brown, National Director – Journey for Justice, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Network for Public Education Board of Directors
* Tanaisa Brown, High School Senior, with the Newark Student Union
* Yong Zhao, Author, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon?
* Diane Ravitch in conversation with Lily Eskelsen Garcia, NEA President and Randi Weingarten, AFT President
* Karen Lewis, President, Chicago Teachers Union
NPE has connected advocates for Public Education nationally and catalyzed an examination of Public Ed Reform and where it's leading us. It has yet to address the missing puzzle piece of Adult Education.  Possibly, it may this year.  I attended the NPE Conference in Austin, Texas last year.  It was sobering, inspiring, and educational.  I hope that more Adult Ed folks will attend this year.

12.   Los Angeles Regional CATESOL Conference April 25

13.  CCAE State Conference  April 30 - May 2 in Universal City, Southern California.  "Mission Possible:  Adult Education, Agent for Change" is the theme of this year's conference.  There will be many workshops on topics of all kinds. As the organization most focused on saving and stabilizing K12 Adult Schools, this conference will definitely address the challenges Adult Schools and Adult Education still face as we move into the new Regional Consortia system and a new funding structure.  Governor Brown's May Revise of the Budget will be coming out not long after this conference.  I attended and presented at the State CCAE Conference in 2013.  That conference was hugely helpful on many levels, including the fact it connected me with other advocates around the state.  I will attend this year's conference and recommend others do, too.

14.  Northern Regional CATESOL May 9 in Stockton, California.

15.  UTLA's Movement for the Schools LA Students Deserve.  UTLA is a hybrid union representing LAUSD teachers, including Adult School teachers.  UTLA members can belong to either or both CFT or CTA.  The UTLA Adult Education Committee is specifically focused on Adult Ed.  You can see UTLA and UTLA Adult Ed has a variety of events planned this spring.

16.  Mid-May:  Governor Brown's May Revise of the Budget.

If there is one thing we have learned these past six years, it is that there is great value in coming together.

And as great as technology is, there is nothing like face to face connection, including the unplanned, unanticipated connections made in a workshop, standing in line waiting for a name tag, or over dinner.

All these events are the chance for engaging in, contributing to, and benefiting from just that.

I encourage you to choose at least one and attend.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Perspective: Down by the Riverside, Repairing My Wheels

(This is a Perspective Piece.  In this case, mine... my personal perspective on current affairs.)

Monterey Coast 2009
This weekend, I've been thinking back on another Presidents Day Valentine's Day Combo Platter Weekend.

What's that on the horizon?
Way back in 2009.

I remember it like it was yesterday, not just because I had a great time in Monterey with my daughter and my folks...  but because I drove down there right after my boss called us together to tell us that in order to deal with the economic recession and keep K-12 schools going, Governor Schwartzenegger was "flexing" Adult Ed money.


The flexibility provided by the budget package is unprecedented. Local educational agencies (LEAs) will be able to redirect funding from 40 programs to “any educational purpose.” They will also be able to use restricted account balances from 2007–08 for any educational purpose.  Read more here.

I remember driving out to the motel to meet my parents.  Distracted by this news, I had spaced out. Now I found myself lost, in a marsh.  My daughter was asleep in the back seat.  Hmmm, I thought, this flex feels like bad news.  Real, real bad news.  Serious like cancer bad news.  Also, where the heck am I?

But when to my surprise, I accidentally found the motel, and greeted my parents and settled in, when I opened up my lap top and emailed my co-workers from the motel room, many didn't seem as upset as was.  It will all be okay, many said.  Things will be fine.  Really?, I thought, Am I crazy?  I don't feel like it will  I feel like we are in seriously deep, stinky and steep, deep, deep doo-doo - up to our eyeballs.

Hit the link to read more.