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.