Saturday, December 3, 2016

Kristen Pursley: "Adult Schools Could Still Wither Away"

From Kristen Pursley's blog, "Save Your Adult School"

Posted on by kpursley
Since last year, adult schools  finally have their own dedicated funding through the consortia. Adult schools have stable funding at last, and should be able to get on with the job of providing education for California’s adults. Unfortunately, adult schools are still in jeopardy because their funding is inadequate and the state apparently has no intention of increasing it.

Adult school funding has not so much stabilized as fossilized, and the fossilization took place when adult school funding had been reduced by half during a chaotic period of unrestricted cuts.  In 2008, the Great Recession precipitated a budget crisis in California, and the state legislature, as an emergency measure, removed restrictions on how schools could spend most of their categorical funds, including adult school funds. From 2008 to 2013, adult school funding was in free fall as school districts took their money to save other programs. Some adult schools closed altogether, and the number of adult schools in the state fell 11%.  State spending on adult schools fell from $750 million a year to $350 million, a more than 50% drop.

In 2013, the financial crisis was finally beginning to pass, but the state chose to make the emergency permanent for adult schools.  In that year, the state finally stopped the bleeding for adult schools by instituting a Maintenance of Effort provision for districts that still had adult schools.  Districts had to keep funding their adult schools at the 2012 level, but this was, of course, whatever low level of funding the adult school was receiving after four years of unrestricted cuts. The Maintenance of Effort persisted for two years, after which it was replaced by the consortia in 2015.

Even when the consortia came into being, the state did not raise adult school funding at all.  Only $350 million of consortia funds was dedicated for adult schools, and adult schools were only guaranteed the amount of funding they had under the Maintenance of Effort.  That is how the consortium funds were distributed; according to what schools got the year before. There was no provision for the fact that some adult schools were hit much worse than others.  The fortunate remained fortunate, and the unfortunate (who were often situated in areas of higher need) were left to struggle and scrape by as they had been doing for six years. There was another 1.5 million in consortium funding divided between all the 71 consortia in the state, and this funding could be spent at the discretion of the individual consortia. It could go to adult schools, but there was no requirement that it be spent on them.

Eight years is a very long time to go without any increase in funding at all, especially when an institution is trying to recover from severe cuts and the resulting disastrous losses of instructional time, personnel, and money for resources.  Adult schools are trying to hold the line, but even if they implement the most exacting austerity measures and leverage their resources with every possible lever they can pull, they are eventually going to fall behind. Here’s why:

Adult schools have three basic kinds of staff: teachers, classified staff (clerks, janitors, etc.) and administrators.  Adult school teachers are strictly adult school employees, but classified staff and administrators are district employees.  They can be  transferred or promoted into the adult school from  other positions in K-12, and they may transfer or be promoted out again to other K-12 positions.  Classified union members often  have bumping rights for all positions within the district, including the adult school. Classified  district staff are almost always unionized, and their union contracts are negotiated relative to the school district’s budget, not the adult school’s (much smaller) budget. Yet some of them will be working at the adult school, and the adult school must pay the negotiated wage. That is only fair, but since adult school funding is frozen, the adult school has to cut services in order to pay for every wage increase classified staff win.

School administrators,too, often belong to associations and negotiate their salaries as a group. Again, their salaries are negotiated relative to the budget of the district as a whole, not of the adult school, but some of them will work for the adult school, and, again, every raise or even cost of living increase will impact the adult school’s ability to provide services.

Many adult school teachers belong to unions also, but their wages are not bargained for relative to the budget of the district as a whole; their wages are bargained for relative to the adult school budget.  So their are likely to have to struggle harder for even the smallest raise while their  district argues that the money just isn’t there. Meanwhile, classified staff and administrators at the adult school will see regular raises that have been negotiated relative to the district budget, and their higher salaries will cut into the adult school’s budget and ability to provide services. Indeed, in severe cases, instructional hours may be cut and teachers may lose hours and income to pay for the salary increases of classified staff and administrators.  And, of course, students will lose out too, in the form of less classes, less instructional hours, and less supplies.

When I talk about adult school teachers’ wages, by the way, I do mean wages.  Most adult school teachers are part-time, hourly employees.  Most do not receive health care benefits or paid vacations and holidays, while classified staff and administrators who work at the adult school have the full benefits associated with full-time positions.

Of course, school classified staff and administrators need and deserve their raises. The problem is that the state does not take their raises  into account when they steadfastly refuse to provide adult schools with any more funding.  Legislators and policy makers in Sacramento don’t seem to know much detail about  how adult schools work, so their decisions frequently have unintended consequences.   In this case, the unintended consequence may be that adult schools will eventually sink beneath the burden of salaries negotiated with reference to school district budgets.

Add to this the fact that the cost of materials keeps going up, and that even the most carefully maintained old equipment eventually breaks down completely and needs to be replaced, and you can see that disaster is looming for adult schools sooner rather than later.  It is hard to understand why policymakers in Sacramento don’t see this too.  You simply can’t freeze the funding of an institution permanently and expect that it will not fall further and further behind.

Yet this is apparently what the state plans to do.  According to information that is beginning to come out about the 2017-2018 budget, the governor is planning, for the third year in a row, not to give adult schools any more money that he gave them last year and the year before that.

The excuse legislators give for not giving the consortia more money is that they need to see how the consortia work out.  If they see success, then they will consider more money.  But they are extremely fuzzy about how they define success. There are no timelines and no benchmarks, just a vague indication that the consortia haven’t met their expectations yet, whatever they are.  But the state has asked the consortia to effect sweeping changes that will take time to implement and even more time to show results.  If policymakers really intend to freeze consortium funding until that distant day when they see all the results they want, adult schools simply aren’t going to make it to the finish line.
Sacramento is ignoring the fact that success costs money.  The legislation that created the consortia imposed a lot of new costs, some of which must be born by adult schools. There are demands for additional services and data that have to be paid for somehow.  Governor Brown is famous for keeping a stone in his office for his contemplation. Next time he looks at it, he should remember that you can’t get blood out of one.

And Sacramento should remember that failure costs money, too.  Failure can be expensive, but it is a waste of money, not an investment.  If the state fails to fund the consortia adequately, they will be paying for a disappointment year after year until the whole thing finally runs into the ground. The consortia are trying hard to succeed.  If they fail for lack of adequate support from the state, government officials should blame themselves.

Only the citizens of California can turn this around.  The governor is now in the process of constructing the budget for 2017-2018, and he needs to hear from Californians that adult schools must be more adequately funded.  Please write to Governor Brown and ask him to increase consortium funding  to at least  the 2008 level of $750 million.  It won’t be enough, but it will be a start.  Please contact your state legislators too, and let them know this is important to you.  They will need to approve the governor’s budget by June.

The governor’s budget comes out in mid-January.  It will be revised in May, and the legislature has to approve it in June.

My thanks to Ken Ryan, an adult school teacher whose insight was the inspiration for this post.

Here is Governor Brown’s address:

Mailing address:
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160

You can also email him from here:

All power to the people!
Governor Brown, please remember that more than any other branch of Public Education,
Adult Education serves those with the least resources and the greatest needs.
Adult Education also serves those at most at risk of danger and disaster from
anti-immigrant and anti-poverty sentiment and policies.
And it is the only branch of Public Education bound by law not to ask about immigrant status.
Adult Education needs adequate and realistic funding! Now!  Not later! 
And especially before changes in federal policies bring further difficulty!  --- Cynthia Eagleton


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

CCAE Thanksgiving and Forward Update

Adult Education Update
Important Dates & Deadlines
11/30                Adjournment of the 2015-16 Legislative Session sine die
12/5                  2017-2018 Session Begins
12/6 - 1/2        Legislative Winter Recess
1/10                  Governor's 2017-2018 Budget Proposal Deadline

Thankful & Looking Dawn Koepke, CCAE Legislative Advocate 
The last four years together have been an amazing journey with you all in the K12 adult education community.  In this regard and during this week of thankfulness, I can't help but ponder the great strides we have made together to bring K12 based adult education back from the brink.  While still much remains to be done, we are better situated than we have been in a long time and it is in no small way thanks to all of you for your unending hope, passion, support, trust and leg work at the local level.  We would not be where we are today if it weren't for your passionate engagement for K12 based adult education overall and those students you serve.  My thanks to you all...
As we look forward to another budget cycle, we've been extremely busy behind the scenes.  While we certainly remain grateful for all we've been able to accomplish with the Administration, Department of Finance and Legislature, we know that we have more work to do to refine the Adult Education Block Grant and continue to strengthen K12 based adult education.  In this regard, we've put together the attached 2017 Adult Education Framework and Executive Summary describing the current state of adult education, ongoing challenges, issues yet to be resolved, and solutions for resolving them in the next year.  As you consider the solutions, you'll note they are not big, splashy changes.  Instead, they seek to build on what we believe is a solid foundation in need of some additional refinements.  At the core of these proposed refinements is our ongoing concern for access to K-12 based adult education.  As you well know, K-12 adult schools' primary (and often only) funding comes from the AEBG.  And while the AEBG provisions that provided funding to maintain capacity and access the last two years have been a good starting point, we are beginning to see erosion of that access as costs to run programs continue to increase and the number of adult students who need access to these programs also continues to increase.  The capacity in place in K-12 adult schools needs to be protected and expanded to come even close to meeting the demand for services to help adults achieve literacy, basic skills, and secondary completion in order to successfully transition to higher education and/or careers with family-sustaining wages. 
Unfortunately, however, with the beginning of a new economic downturn underway, projected to peak in 2018 (per DOF), we do not feel that it is achievable to obtain an additional, significant infusion of revenue into the AEBG - particularly with many consortia not having spent all they were allocated in the last fiscal year.  That said, we have been clear that without some level of additional resources the capacity that we've fought so hard to maintain will continue to erode.  In this regard, we are pushing strongly in the New Year for the establishment of a COLA for adult education.  While we understand this will not address the needs in full, we do believe this is a reasonable and timely request.  And based on feedback from DOF and the Legislature over the last year, we believe it may indeed be achievable this budget cycle.  We would also note that establishment of a COLA this early in the AEBG process will help provide an added measure of stability in out years - something we all should consider very positive. 
Other key issues we're planning to tackle in the next budget cycle include:
-       Revision of "Grant" in "Adult Education Block Grant;" 
-       Encouragement of greater transparency in funding;
-       SB 173 parameter recommendations for accountability, placement, other student outcomes, performance based funding, reciprocity, student identifiers, fees and more;
-       Increased CDE responsibility for adult education in line with management of WIOA; and
-       Creation of an AEBG Stakeholder Advisory Committee.
In addition to working on the Framework, we've been meeting with DOF and Legislative Budget and Policy Committee staff in preparation for the next Budget and Policy cycle that begins with the swearing-in of the 2017-2018 Legislature on December 5th.  Our meetings have been very positive and fruitful, with our proposed refinements being viewed quite positively. 
We are also pleased to report that last week we had the opportunity to meet with State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) Tom Torlakson at the CDE.  The SPI was joined by our own Adult Education office Director Chris Nelson; Career & College Transition Division Director Donna Wyatt; and Government Affairs Director Debra Brown and her colleague Alejandro Espinoza.  The A-Team representing the field included CCAE President Sue Gilmore; CAEAA Past President and Hacienda La Puente Superintendent Cyndi Parulan-Colfer; CAEAA Leg Chair and CCAE Board Member Bob Harper; CTA Representative Wendy Dillingham; and yours truly, Dawn Koepke your CCAE and CAEAA Legislative and Budget Advocate.  SPI Torlakson was very engaged and up to speed on the happenings with adult education.  Nevertheless, we reminded him of the long road we've traveled over the last few years; the successes we've had to date; the challenges we continue to have; pushed him to take a stronger leadership role within the AEBG and with the Chancellor's office; and more.  He was receptive to all we had to share and discuss.  He also indicates that he is meeting with the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges and is prepared to help us in our push to address some of the key remaining challenges we've highlighted in our attached Framework.  All very positive!
In terms of what we can expect from the 2017-2018 Legislature....much remains to be seen.  While the activity at the federal level has many concerned for adult education and the students we serve, we are committed to continuing our fight to protect K12 based adult education and have no indication whatsoever that California under the new Legislature will do anything less than provide its full support. 
Of note, Assembly Democrats were successful in gaining a super majority with three seats changing hands.  Assemblyman David Hadley (R) lost to former Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D)(K12 adult education supporter), Assemblyman Eric Linder (R) lost to Sabrina Cervantez (D) and Assemblywoman Young Kim (R) lost to former Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D).  Relative to inter-party fights, former Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D) regained his seat from ardent K12 adult education supporter Assemblywoman Patty Lopez (D); and moderate Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown (D) was unseated by the more progressive Eloise Reyes (D).
In the Senate, Democrats are also on the verge of a two-thirds supermajority with ballots in the Orange County Senate District 29 race between Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang (R) and Democrat Josh Newman continuing to be counted and the race too close to call even two weeks after the General Election. 
On the initiative front, California will see many policy shifts in the New Year as well as the continuation of the Proposition 30 tax on wealthy Californians through 2030 to help fund education via voter approval of Proposition 55.  And as the dust continues to settle and the close races await confirmation of final vote counts, we now look to December 5th when the 2017-2018 Legislature will be sworn in to office.  While some reports suggest a host of new moderate members will infuse the Assembly, the proof is in the pudding as we move into what is already shaping up to be a big year ahead on a number of policy fronts.  A big unknown is how the two-thirds in the Assembly, and possibly the Senate, will play out - will moderates feel empowered to stand together or will members fall in line with leadership and more progressive ideals?  Time will tell....and we're waiting with baited breath....
In the meantime and even after December 5th, we encourage you to get to know your local elected officials - especially new members. This is a great time of the year to visit them during their coffee hours and holiday open houses.  To learn more about those types of events, we encourage you to visit their webpages after December 5th and sign up for their weekly or monthly district newsletters.  These are a great way to learn more about what your legislators are doing for you and your community, to learn about district events, and more.  And remember, as you meet with members in the district be sure to let CCAE and CAEAA know.  Meetings and meet-and-greets do not need to be focused on a specific agenda and talking points at this point in the year, just get to know them and develop a rapport and ensure they know about your adult school and the benefit you provide to their community.  That said, if you would like to or are asked about our agenda for the new session, feel free to share the attached Framework. 
Once the Governor releases his 2017-2018 budget proposal, we'll be quickly evaluating the details, reporting out on them and developing talking points for the field in anticipation of Leg Day at the Capitol on April 4th.  Be sure to mark your calendars and make arrangements to attend!
In the meantime, I wish you a happy, joyful and peaceful holiday season.  I am thankful for you and look forward to another great year together!  Cheers!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Post-Election Resources for Adult Educators

Here are some resources to help you when thinking about the impact of the Trump presidency and recent election results in Congress on Adult Ed and specifically on our immigrant students, both documented and undocumented.

Advice from Cynthia is at the bottom.

Statement by California Legislative Leaders De Leon and Rendon.  Very good, articulate statement -- available in both English and Spanish.  Note:  both de Leon and Rendon were educators, de Leon taught ESL, was first in family to graduate high school.  De Leon authored driver’s license bill.  
“The largest state of the union and the strongest driver of our nation’s economy has shown it has its surest conscience as well.  California is – and must always be – a refuge of justice and opportunity for people of all walks, talks, ages and aspirations – regardless of how you look, where you live, what language you speak, or who you love.”

Statement by Governor Jerry Brown. “We’ll need to build a wall around California.”

“In California, diversity is strength. Our students come from all kinds of backgrounds, cultures, languages, and religions, and they all come together to learn on their way to success in 21st century careers and college. California already has, and will always maintain, strong legal and state constitutional protections against any and all kinds of discrimination, regardless of a student’s race, ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Edublogger Mercedes Schneider’s info about impact of Trump policy on education.   Schneider is amazing fact finder.  K12 probs always bleed over into Adult Ed probs.  It’s important to know how K12 will be affected by this. Basically, Trump will probably try to push the voucher route. He has appointed Ben Carson as his education advisor.

On November 9, 2016, Donald Trump was elected as the forthcoming president of the United States. During his campaign, Trump has made a series of anti-immigrant remarks. He has stated that he would heighten immigration enforcement, end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and increase the number of deportations. Undocumented students and their families all across the country are increasingly becoming anxious and fearful over what the Trump presidency will do in terms of immigration policies and amplifying the anti-immigrant sentiment that Trump’s campaign has fostered. Now, more than ever, undocumented students and their families need support from educators, counselors, and administrators.
At My Undocumented Life blog, we have identified steps that schools and universities can take to support undocumented students.

Advice from Teaching Tolerance about talking to kids after the election - can be adapted to talking to adults - some of whom are just 18.

Half-sheet about how to report a hate crime.  Adapt for your school or program.

Possible changes to DACA under a Trump Administration - from Educators for Fair Consideration"President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) when he becomes President. However, he will not become President until he is inaugurated on January 20, 2017, so meanwhile DACA will remain in place and USCIS will continue processing both initial and renewal DACA requests.

We do not know when or how the Trump administration will end the DACA program. It could end the program effective immediately and instantly revoke work permits, or it could allow current DACA recipients to keep their work permits until they expire but not renew them."

Know your rights cards - in English and in Spanish - you can order them for free.

From the San Mateo County Office of Immigration Resources:
Human Services Agency Public Benefits

Many clients and service providers may have questions or concerns regarding the status of a clients’ health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act or possible impacts to other services given the presidential election results.  While we can’t predict the future, HSA would like to share some information that they have at this time.

Covered California's enrollment for 2017 coverage should still be encouraged.  Coverage will remain intact for 2017.  For Medi-Cal, HSA is continuing to promote and process new enrollments and renewals as always.

While there’s some uncertainty, and concern, about potential changes to these important public programs, HSA will focus on the present and ensure their clients have the health insurance coverage that they are eligible for today and through next year. If these programs change in the future, they will respond to those changes at that time.

For further information regarding eligibility and programs HSA offers, refer clients to the benefits line at 1-800-223-8383

San Mateo County (and beyond) Resources for Immigrants - please read through to see what might be relevant for your community.

Legal Help for Low-Income Immigrants in San Mateo County Area

Bruce Neuburger's stand-up statement at San Mateo City Council Meeting.

Letter from Heads of California's three college systems - Community, CSU, UC - about DACA.

Resources for Teachers and Educators:

Info from COABE about impact of elections - Congress AND Trump - on Adult Ed:

We Need YOUR Help to Ensure Adult Education is Funded

Congress will shortly reconvene in a "lame duck session" to determine spending levels for FY 2017. We need to do whatever we can to ensure that, at a minimum, Adult Education funding is not cut, in the best of possible worlds, gets the increase Congress assumed when it passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

The next years are going to be challenging - pressure to cut federal funding will grow, while demand for Adult Education services is likely to increase. We need to work together to protect and grow funding for Adult Education so that more under educated and/or disadvantaged adults are able function effectively and get family supporting jobs or access post-secondary education.

In March, the new Administration will unveil its first budget. We need to make sure that it adequately funds Adult Education. Then, in April the Congress will begin the annual Appropriations process. Congress also needs to gets the message that Adult Education is a key component to any growth agenda.

We are asking you to weigh in now with Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees who will be making these decisions in the weeks and months to come. Please click HERE for a letter that you can use to send to your Senators and Representatives.

We are convinced that if we continue to work together, we can make good on COABE's mission of advocating for more services, more funding, and less waiting.
If you are interested in helping out with this, please notify us by clicking HERE.

Election Aftermath:
Official Washington is reeling after the election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States. This was an election that most of the pundits, media, and political class got wrong. Not only is Washington coming to grips with a Trump victory, it is also pondering the effects of Republican victories in Senate races that supposedly favored Democrats, and a still substantial( majority in the House for Republicans.

Today, and for the next several months, Washington will be trying to figure out what it all means. In the short term, we can get some insight into what might happen by looking at changes in Congressional committee leadership and what happens during the lame duck session.

Election Day brings with it the obvious change in Administration, but it also means changes in Congress. Every Congress lasts for two years, and bills introduced but not passed when Congress adjourns at the end of two years must be reintroduced and go through the process again. House and Senate leadership positions, Committee chairpersonships, and even Committee memberships change.

Here are some of the major changes affecting Adult Education. The Republicans are expected to keep control of the House. There are two important positions on Committees: The Chair and the Ranking Member. The Chair is from the party in control (in this case the Republicans) and the Ranking member is the member with the most seniority from the party not in control (i.e., Democrats today).

In the House:

  • Hal Rogers (R-KY), Chair of the Appropriations Committee is term-limited, creating a vacancy at the top of this extremely important Committee. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) is expected to seek the Chairmanship. Frelinghuysen has emphasized defense and homeland security during his tenure on the Appropriations Committee. In 2012, he described himself as a moderate Republican.

  • Rep. John Kline (R-MN) is retiring at the end of this Congress and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) is expected to become Chair of the Education and Workforce Committee. Foxx is currently Chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training. It is possible that Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) a staunch supporter of Adult Education will replace Rep. Foxx as Chair of the Subcommittee. With the retirement of Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, the Subcommittee will get a new Ranking Member as well.

In the Senate:
  • Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the Ranking Member on the Senate Appropriations Committee, is retiring. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) would be among the top contenders to replace her. Murray and Durbin are also rumored to be contending for the Number 2 spot in the Democratic leadership.

  • Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is likely to remain Chair of the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) is likely to remain the senior Democrat. The loss of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) means that there will be a vacancy on both the HELP Committee and the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee.
The Lame Duck Session:
The lame duck session was supposed to be short, if not sweet. The Trump victory probably shuts the door on any chance that spending caps will be raised. It also adds a degree of uncertainty. Before the election, both sides seemed interested in completing work on a CR (Continuing Resolution to maintain funding levels) or Omnibus (lumping all the appropriation bills together) to clear the decks for the new Administration. Now, some Republicans are arguing for a short-term CR to give the new Republican Administration an opportunity to put its stamp on the final product.

The Trump campaign offered very little insight into its approach to non-defense discretionary spending beyond a proposal dubbed the "penny plan" which called for cutting one cent from every dollar appropriated. This one percent cut sounds relatively innocuous but, when combined with the impact of inflation, would have serious consequences.

One ominous development is that President-elect Trump and other Republicans have also suggested the elimination of the sequester on defense funding to enable more defense spending, which would be funded by deeper cuts in non-defense spending. The Obama Administration has opposed treating defense spending differently from non-defense spending.

We can expect that opposition to domestic discretionary spending will continue unabated.

Education Policy in the New Administration:
We have no indication of how the Administration views Adult Education. There has been some speculation that Vice President-elect Pence will be handed the Education portfolio. Pence supported Adult Ed as governor. It is worth noting that federal support for Adult Education in Indiana amounted to $9.5 million, while the state contributed $25.4 million.

There is very little to guide us in this area. The President-elect didn't talk much about education except to attack the Common Core and advocate for school choice.

Given his position on regulation, we can hypothesize that the Administration will roll back regulations intended to implement ESSA as advocated by Sen. Lamar Alexander, Chair of the Senate HELP Committee. Presumably, it will also look at other regulations affecting school discipline.

It is likely that Congress will restore, and possibly expand, the voucher program for students in Washington, DC, to use to attend private schools. I would expect it to continue to promote charter schools as part of its strategy to improve urban schools, which Trump attacked for being of poor quality.

In the Higher Ed area, some analysts expect that the Administration will try to reduce the debt burden on students, get the government out of the student loan business, and perhaps try to use the tax code to induce private universities to reduce tuition. Finally, we might expect the new Administration to be more kindly disposed toward for-profit institutions.

Advice from Cynthia:

* Create formal class and school policies about bullying and harassment.  Post them publically.

* Ask school administrators to provide facts to students and reassure them about their safety.

* Attend School Board and Regional Consortium meetings and ask them how they plan to respond to any changes in policies in education funding and immigration policy. 

* Reach out to other schools and agencies in your Regional Consortium. Share resources and information. 

* If your school has a union, make formal statements against bullying and harassment and against deportation of the undocumented.  Talk to advisory councils of the larger bodies of CFT and AFT and ask what they plan to do in response to any changes.  Get involved on local, state, and national levels.

* If cuts and challenge come to K-12, they will come in worse form for Adult Ed.  Adult Ed is still the stepchild of the Public Education system, last in funding and understanding.  Under the circumstances, that won't change.  In fact, if things are really difficult, it will be worse than what happened these past seven years.  So keep on messaging that Adult Education Matters.  And be prepared to use the skills we've gained these last seven years for a much bigger cause.  Education is key in moving forward in a positive direction.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sociodemographics for Adults in California

Check out the report from the Migration Policy Institute:

"Immigrants and WIOA Services:  Comparison of Sociodemographic Characteristics of Native- and Foreign-Born Adults in California."

This December 2015 report is chock full of facts useful to understanding the needs of Californians and Adult Education can meet them. 

For example, between 2009 and 13, 42% of the adult population between the ages of 25 and 44 were born outside of the US.

Check the report for more facts!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

VALUE USA - The "Voice of Adult Learners" - Seeking Sponsors for Adult Learner Attendance at National Leadership Institute


Dear Friends and Supporters:

Our organization will be hosting its major event April 3-5, 2017 in Washington D.C. where adult learners will get to learn, build relationships and continue to become leaders in the adult literacy field. As a non-profit organization built by adult learners, we hold our Leadership Institute in Capitol Hill every four years to give adult learners the opportunity in meeting directly with decision makers and legislators who can help our cause.
The Leadership Institute in Washington D.C. is the perfect place for adult learners to be in and we are determined to make the most in lowering the cost for them to participate. In this event they will get to learn critical thinking skills, organization structures and strategic planning through workshops and that knowledge can be used to better themselves, help their family, improve their program and community. Adult learners will also make contacts with other students from different states or even discover students from their own area thus creating a stronger network where they can share, learn and create friendships with those who are going through the same struggle.
Their participation is of great importance for us as the adult literacy field needs leaders and champions who can take the field to greater achievements in literacy and the workforce. These champions will also be the sources of inspiration for more learners taking on leadership roles and creating a stronger national prominence for the field overall.
We are working towards bringing around 125 adult learners from across the nation and are raising $40,000 to cover the base cost of the event by October 31st. Many adult learners don't hold high-paying jobs and have a hard time saving up for an event like this. If you were to ask them, they would gladly accept an invitation but probably not be able to afford it. Many of us don’t have the means but adult learners have the potential to become the next leaders for adult literacy and bringing them to the event would help accomplish such goal. We are asking you to support us to bring more adult learners that would’ve otherwise not been able to participate in this event. Your support will directly go towards lowering the cost of registration for adult learners. The Leadership Institute was created by adult learners for adult learners, and you can help them celebrate their event.
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your support.

Rev. David G. Hendricks


Simply click on the image below and purchase anything you want as you'd normally do on Amazon to support us. It's that easy!

Direct donations are still online and we've added an option here for PayPal users to donate.


You can now be a sponsor for the upcoming 10th National Adult Learner Leadership Institute!
We are trying to raise $40,000 through September and October to bring around 125 adult learners and you can help achieving this goal by becoming a sponsor for this event.
Click below to help get an adult learner to the event!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sequoia Adult School Scholars Program - Model for Success

        Helping adult learners succeed, one semester at a time

Sequoia Adult School Scholars (SASS) provides financial support, tutoring, and other assistance to adult students -- the vast majority of whom are immigrants working in minimum wage jobs -- so they can enroll in community college to continue their education, get jobs that pay family-sustaining wages, and serve as role models and advocates for their children.
Fall 2016
Meet Tania Ventura,  SASS's first coordinator
With close to 200 recipients,
40-plus tutors, a small but growing mentoring program, and a laptop donation program, SASS has a lot to keep track of. That's why, in early August, we hired our first coordinator, Tania Ventura, who is herself a SASS recipient. Tania has a full course load at Cañada and also works half-time for SASS, where she helps coordinate the SASS tutoring, Clipper Card, and laptop programs.
SASS Coordinator Tania Ventura
SASS expands laptop program
Thanks to contributions from two extremely generous donors, as well as a donation from Facebook, 40 SASS recipients are scheduled to receive laptops this academic year.  
In addition to enabling students to complete their assignments at home (as opposed to having to go to the library, often with children in tow), owning a laptop makes it possible for students to take online courses. For example, Lorenza Villanueva, who received a Microsoft Surface Tablet last year, is taking an online word processing class this semester.  

"Now that I have my own laptop, I have many more options," Lorenza says.

To learn more about the SASS laptop program, check out this article in Catalyst, a Microsoft publication that focuses on how Microsoft technology is used to foster social change.
SASS recipients Mauro Barrera and Lorenza Villanueva at the Microsoft Store in Palo Alto where they received Surface tablets. 
 Need a handyman?  Dog walker? Spanish tutor? SASS entrepreneurs are ready to help 
SASS entrepreneurs are SASS students and former students who have started their own businesses. To request a list of SASS entrepreneurs and their businesses, send an email to SASS coordinator Tania Ventura. All entrepreneurs can provide references. 
SASS recipients--and husband and wife-- Carlos Montes and Erendira Arcadia have started a handyman/remodeling business. 
Close to 200 SASS recipients head to college
This fall, SASS is supporting close to 200 students attending community colleges. About 95 percent of students are enrolled at Cañada College; the remainder attend other local community colleges including the College of San Mateo, Foothill College, and De Anza College. Students range in age from 19 to 66, with two thirds of students ages 25 - 44. About 85 percent are from Central America; the rest are from around the globe including Cambodia, Iran, Colombia, and Peru. Forty-six percent of recipients have children attending U.S. schools.   
Cañada College ESL students relax after class.
While most SASS recipients are ESL students, a growing number are High School Equivalency (HSE) students, adults who, due to challenges during high school, quit school, then returned to adult school to get a GED or high school diploma and, finally, enrolled in community college.  Stephanie Samson, featured below, is one of those students.
SASS recipient beats addiction and enrolls in college
SASS recipient Stephanie Samson quit high school when she was 17. The reasons she cites are "depression, panic disorder, substance abuse and addiction."

Five years and many hours of rehabilitation later, Stephanie enrolled in Sequoia Adult School to take the classes she needed to get her high school diploma. She received her diploma in June.  This semester she started classes at the College of San Mateo, with a goal of becoming a therapist specializing in addiction and alcoholism.
Stephanie Sampson 
"I've had to accomplish a lot to get to where I am today," Stephanie says. "First, I had to become sober. Second, I had to earn a high school diploma. And then I had to start college. Given where I was a few years ago, It's hard to believe I've made it this far."

Stephanie says that SASS has helped make college possible. "My funds are extremely limited," Stephanie says. "I'm not sure I would be in college if it weren't for the help I get from SASS."
In her own words... 
SASS recipient Silvia Gomez
A highlight of this year's annual fund-raiser, Sampling for Success,
Silvia Gomez 
was a speech by SASS recipient Silvia Gomez. In her speech she recounted her journey from Mexico to the US and explains the life-changing effects of learning English and continuing her education. Check out her moving five-minute speech here.   
Thank you, donors, for your past support! Everything you read here was made possible by your ongoing commitment and dedication to our students.

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Sequoia Adult School is part of the ACCEL Regional Consortia in San Mateo County
in the Peninsula part of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Sequoia Adult School Scholars, 3481 Janice Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303