Sunday, January 22, 2017

NPE, AFT, NEA All Say No to De Vos as Fed Head of Ed

By all rights this piece should be in the Perspective section. It's my opinion that Betsy DeVos would be bad for Adult Education and bad for Public Education, in general.  Many people and organizations agree with me.  Read on to hear why.  -- Cynthia Eagleton, ESL teacher at San Mateo Adult School

The Network for Public Education, the two large national teachers unions - the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, Bernie Sanders, and any number of other individuals and organizations  - all say no to the idea of approving Betsy De Vos as Education Secretary for the United States.

There is someone who does like DeVos - and that person is new President Trump.  She is his choice for the job. 

Relevance to Adult Education

While in California, Adult Education is largely funded by the state, in many states Adult Education is primarily funded by the federal government.  The tone, the direction, the policy at the federal level very much affects Adult Education across the USA.  

To learn more about how Adult Ed is funded across the country, click here.

To take part in a COABE webinar about Adult Ed under the new Trump admin, click here.

Further, Adult Education, as neglected as it is as a branch of Public Education, is nevertheless a part of that tree.  Of course, it matters who the head of the US Department of Education is. 

We in California also know that when that larger tree of Public Education - be that on a federal, state, or local level - is shaken or sick, Adult Education is the first branch to be neglected or cut. That is what happened in 2008.  The Global Financial Meltdown led to shortage in the state budget which led to Governor Schwartzenegger's decision to make Adult Education the fund donor to keep the K-12 system going.  Adult Ed funds were "flexed" - that meant that if K-12 districts needed money - and of course, at that time, they did - they could use Adult Ed funds.  This is what led to over 70 Adult Schools being closed and all Adult Schools being cut in size and scope of service. 

If the economy destabilizes in the next few years or if Public Ed destabilizes due to a shift into a "school choice" system, we know which branch will most affected and least likely to survive.  That's right, it will be Adult Education.

That's why it's crucial that we think hard about the potential appointment of DeVos as head of the US Department of Public Education.  DeVos is a big supporter of "school choice" and for-profit charter schools.  She has no training or experience in Public Education.  Neither she nor her children attended public schools.  She is a wealthy woman and a major donor to politicans and in her own words:

"In 1997, DeVos wrote the following in an essay for Roll Call: "I know a little something about soft money, as my family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican party. Occasionally a wayward reporter will try to make the charge that we are giving this money to get something in return, or that we must be purchasing influence in some way."

She continued:

I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect some things in return.

We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues. We expect a return on our investment; we expect a good and honest government. Furthermore, we expect the Republican party to use the money to promote these policies, and yes, to win elections.

People like us must surely be stopped.

Senate HELP Committee Vote on DeVos Delayed to January 31

The US Senate HELP - Health, Education, Labor & Pensions - committee vote to approve of her appointment has been delayed to January 31.

Between then and now, we have the opportunity to speak up and tell the members of the committee what we think about DeVos and how her appointment might affect Adult Education.

Click here for a better view of that list - HELP Committee members and their phone numbers.

What the Network for Public Education says:

For those who don't know:  "The Network for Public Education was founded in 2013 by Diane Ravitch and Anthony Cody. We are an advocacy group whose mission is to preserve, promote, improve and strengthen public schools for both current and future generations of students.The goal of NPE is to connect all those who are passionate about our schools – students, parents, teachers and citizens. We share information and research on vital issues that concern the future of public education at a time when it is under attack."

"When De Vos has to choose between quality schools and “the free market,” she chooses “the free market” of privatized choice every time. The best interests of children take a back seat.
And we know the DeVos endgame–shut down our neighborhood public schools, and replace them with a patchwork of charters, private schools and online learning.
We can’t let that happen and we need your help. Present and future generations of children are depending on us to act now.  We now know that some Senators have grave doubts. It is our job to make those doubts grow into active resistance to DeVos.  Here is their toolkit for stopping DeVos.

Professor Julian Vasquez Heilig is on the board of NPE. 
Here's a link to his blog, "Cloaking Inequality" with a short 7 minute film about DeVos, "Stop Betsy DeVos" by Brave New Films.

What the American Federation of Teachers says:

"DeVos lobbied for a school voucher law that voters in her home state of Michigan overwhelmingly rejected. But she was able to push through the vast expansion (link is external) of for-profit charter schools with little oversight (link is external). DeVos has written so many checks (link is external) (including to several senators (link is external) who will vote on her nomination) and strong-armed (link is external) so many lawmakers that, despite having no experience in public education, she has influenced nearly every aspect of education in Michigan. The result? Achievement has declined (link is external) across the state. In addition to media reports of rampant corruption (link is external), nearly half of Michigan’s charter schools rank in the bottom of America’s schools, and the state’s charter schools lag (link is external) 84 percent behind state averages in math and 80 percent in reading." 

Read more here.

What the National Education Association says:

1. Betsy DeVos has no training or experience in education.

She has never worked in a school in any capacity, and does not hold a degree in education (nor did she or her children ever attend a public school).

2. Like Donald Trump, DeVos is an ardent supporter of “school choice” privatization schemes, despite a complete lack of evidence that privatizing public schools produces better education.

In Michigan, Betsy and husband Dick DeVos have pushed for decades for so-called “choice” schemes and corporate charter schools, most of which have performed worse than the state average. They are long-time Republican party donors who support pro “school choice” candidates, and Betsy DeVos has served on the boards of two major groups leading the charge to privatize public schools.

3. DeVos has invested millions lobbying for laws that drain resources from public schools.

In 2000, Michigan voters rejected a massive effort led by Betsy and Dick DeVos to change the state’s constitution to allow private school voucher schemes that siphon money away from public schools. But Betsy DeVos has promoted these measures as chair of the American Federation for Children, and the DeVos family has spent millions to push for the expansion of vouchers in other states.

4. DeVos has fought against the regulation of charter schools.

The DeVos family gave nearly $1 million to GOP lawmakers in the Michigan legislature who gutted a bill that included accountability measures for charter schools in Detroit. Those charters will not be subject to the same oversight or regulation as public schools, even though they are funded with taxpayer money, thanks largely to the DeVos family.

5. Betsy DeVos is not a good fit for a position overseeing the civil rights of all students.

Donald Trump’s nomination of DeVos is deeply concerning to many civil rights groups, because school choice schemes promote racial segregation and undercut civil rights enforcement that is routine in public schools. Corporate charter schools have higher than average teacher turnover and closure rates, which disproportionately affect students of color and low-income families.
The DeVos family’s support for anti-LGBT causes is well-documented. Since 1998, the DeVos family has given more than $6.7 million to Focus on the Family, a group that supports “conversion therapy”—a debunked theory that purports to change the sexual orientation of gay and lesbian individuals that is strongly opposed by the American Psychiatric Association, the Human Rights Campaign, and scores of other medical and civil rights organizations.

Read more here.

What Edublogger Mercedes Schneider says:

Schneider is the author of the Deutsch29 edublog.  She is a phenomenal researcher.  She painstakingly fact-checks everything and provides links to facts, resources, statistics, etc.

Click here to read her posts about DeVos.

Here are folks to contact with your opinion about DeVos and how well she might or might not serve our country as Fed Head of Ed for the US of A:


Lamar Alexander (TN)Phone: (202) 224-4944
Michael B. Enzi (WY)Phone: (202) 224-3424Richard Burr (NC)(202) 224-3154
Johnny Isakson (GA)Tel: (202) 224-3643 Paul (KY)Phone: 202-224-4343
Susan Collins (ME)(202)224-2523
Bill Cassidy, M.D. (LA)(202) 224-5824
Todd Young (IN)?
Orrin Hatch (UT)(202) 224-5251
Pat Roberts (KS)Phone: (202) 224-4774
Lisa Murkowski (AK)Phone: (202)-224-6665
Tim Scott (SC)(202) 224-6121


Patty Murray (WA)(202) 224-2621
Bernie Sanders (VT) (202) 224-5141
Robert P. Casey, Jr (PA)(202) 224-6324
Al Franken (MN)(202) 224-5641
Michael F. Bennet (CO)202-224-5852
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)(202) 224-2921
Tammy Baldwin (WI)(202) 224-5653
Christopher S. Murphy (CT)(202) 224-4041
Elizabeth Warren (MA)(202) 224-4543
Tim Kaine (VA) (202) 224-4024
Maggie Hassan (NH)?

From ACSA: Guidance Sheet about Undocumented Students and Families: The Facts

View this email in your browser

Association of California School Administrators

Iván Carrillo
Legislative Advocate
Association of California
School Administrators

ACSA is committed to ensuring all students, family members, and employees have access to a safe, equitable, and supportive educational environment. To this end, ACSA developed a guidance sheet to give educational leaders answers to key legal questions related to undocumented students that may come up in light of potential changes at the federal level. ACSA will continue to be a leader in protecting the legal rights of all students to attend school, regardless of the immigration status of the child or their family members.

Click the title to download the guidance sheet:
Undocumented Students and Families: The Facts

----------- Here is the Guidance Sheet --------------------

Undocumented Students and Families: The Facts

Student Rights

What rights do undocumented students have?

Undocumented students between the ages of 6-18 not only have a right to attend school in California, but are mandated to attend school pursuant to the compulsory attendance laws. (Educ. Code § 48200.) The U.S. Supreme Court has held that no state may deny access to a basic public education to any child residing within the state, whether residing in the U.S. legally or not. (Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982).) Further, all students have a right to be in a public school learning environment free from discrimination, harassment, bullying, violence, and intimidation. (Educ. Code §§ 220, 234 et seq.)

What student information do schools currently collect, and would it provide insight into immigration status?

School districts are not required to collect information regarding a student’s immigration or legal status, aside from the statuses of nonimmigrant, international students enrolled in an educational program under an F-1 or M-1 visa. Schools are only required to collect information to satisfy certain admission requirements, such as proof of residency, none which require the provision of proof of legal immigration status, place of birth, or social security numbers. (Educ. Code § 48204.1.)

What student information do we collect on adult education students?

In particular cases, school districts are required to obtain information on their adult education students. For example, in counties where U.S. District Courts are located, the city or county superintendent of schools is required on a monthly basis to obtain the names of persons who have filed their intention to become citizens of the U.S. or their petitions for naturalization. (Educ. Code section § 52550.) The superintendent is then required to send notices to these individuals of the authorization the governing board has in providing classes in citizenship under particular circumstances. (Educ. Code § 52551 et seq.)

If we receive a PRA request for student data, what information are we obligated to share and protect?

FERPA supersedes the PRA and requires that the school district maintain the confidentiality of all personally identifiable information in education records related to students. (20 U.S.C. §1232g; 34 CFR § Part 99.) Any and all records, including emails, student files, and personnel information, are generally exempt from disclosure. All student records, including emails and cumulative student files, are generally exempt from disclosure or subject to redaction to prevent disclosure of personally identifiable information.

Staff Rights

Must we allow ICE and other government authorities on campus?

Depends. School districts have the right to limit the amount of disruption to the learning environment and to ensure the safety of their staff and students, which may include denying an individual from accessing a campus during school hours. (Educ. Code §§ 32212, 35160.) In the unlikely event that ICE or other government authorities decide to pursue immigration-related investigations on school campuses, school staff should follow appropriate district procedures applicable to any visitor on campus, which could include, but are not limited to: (1) requesting that the agent sign in at the front desk; (2) that the agent provide valid identification and statement of purpose; and (3) approval from the site administrator or Superintendent. Immediate access to the student should be given if the agent has a warrant or a court order.

School districts that allow nonimmigrant, international students (who are in the U.S. under an F-1 or M-1 visa) to enroll in their programs through ICE’s “Student and Exchange Visitor Program” (“SEVP”) are subject to onsite visits from SEVP officials at any time and must provide officials with certain records on such students. (8 CFR § 214.3(g) and (h)(3)(iv).) The SEVP, however, does not have the authorization to review the records of students suspected of being undocumented.

Are we required to allow ICE, police, or other government authorities to have access to student records?

Access to student records should only be allowed if the requesting agency has a valid court order or subpoena in compliance with FERPA or immigration laws or regulations. (8 U.S.C. § 1225; 34 CFR § 99.31(a) (9)(i); Educ. Code §§ 49076; 49077.) The school district, however, must make reasonable efforts to notify the parent or eligible student in advance of disclosing the documents so that the parent or eligible student may seek protective action, unless the court order or subpoena relates to a federal jury investigation or law enforcement purpose, or relating to domestic or international terrorism. (34 CFR § 99.31(a)(9)(ii); Educ. Code § 49077.)

In addition, the USA Patriot Act added an exception to FERPA to mandate the disclosure of educational records to a federal Attorney General or Assistant Attorney General through a judicial order based on an investigation of suspected terrorist activities. (20 U.S.C. § 1232g(j).)

Parent Rights

All parents, irrespective of their legal status, have a right to participate in their children’s education and are encouraged to do so. Proof of legal residency is not a prerequisite to the enrollment of their children in school.

Are undocumented parents required to undergo fingerprinting in order to volunteer at school?

School districts may vary in their fingerprinting policies for volunteers. Some require that all volunteers undergo fingerprinting, while others only require the fingerprinting of parent volunteers where the volunteer is not under the direct supervision of a District staff member. Parents should be reassured that the purpose of the fingerprinting requirement is confidential, solely for the use of the District to ensure the safety of students and staff (i.e. that the volunteer has not been convicted of a sex or drug offense with a minor).

If a parent is in custody as the result of an immigration enforcement, are districts required to release the student to ICE or other immigration officials?

No. School districts are not required to release students into the custody of ICE if their parent is in custody as the result of an immigration enforcement action. Parents with such concerns should make advance arrangements with relatives or friends to ensure that their children are released to an authorized caregiver or adult, and should ensure that school districts are aware of this arrangement in the emergency information card submitted to schools.

Sanctuary District

What legal protection does a “sanctuary district” offer students?

While establishing a school district as a “sanctuary” may set forth its policy to protect undocumented students by limiting the enforcement of—or declining to enforce—immigration laws, there is no further legal protection for residents/students as the result of this status. The school district, however, will be able to utilize the extent of its discretion authorized by law by establishing policies and procedures to ensure the security of its students, such as creating appropriate limits to immigration officials’ visits to school and disallowing staff to ask questions about a student’s or parent’s immigration status.

If a district passes a resolution to become a sanctuary district, is it at risk of losing federal funds?

It is unknown at this time whether sanctuary school districts are at risk of losing federal funds at the result of their status. President Trump has stated during his campaign that he would block federal funding to sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials, but it is currently unknown if he will indeed proceed with this policy—or any other similar policies relating to funding of public schools who also declare themselves sanctuary sites—or what priority this policy will be placed.


Special thanks from ACSA to Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, leaders in education law, for assisting our members by helping create this important resource.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2017-18 Brown Budget Proposal: Still No Increase for Adult Education

Information for funding Adult Education is now in the "Investing in California's Workforce" section of the budget.  In the past, there was information about Adult Education in the K12 and Higher Education sections. 
It seems Governor Brown is slowly but surely framing Adult Education as being less about education and more about work.  That's a nice way to avoid the truth Adult Education is and always has been - for over 150 years - part of the educational system of California.  And while Adult Education includes job skills training, just like people, Adult Education is about more than just work.

No matter what you call it or where you put it in the budget, Adult Education is not seen, treated and funded in the same way all other branches of Public Education are.

It is high time that Adult Education be given the Education Equality that Californians need and deserve.
#EducationEquality4AE now!
Here is the information from Governor Brown's ebudget about Adult Education:
In 2015‑16, community college vocational education programs served roughly 300,000

full‑time equivalent students, about 27 percent of all community college full‑time

equivalent students. Below are several other community college programs that

strengthen workforce development and foster job creation:

Strong Workforce Program — The Budget includes $248 million Proposition 98

General Fund for the Strong Workforce Program. This program builds upon federal

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) funds and provides

access to more regionally aligned, career technical education and workforce

development programs/courses. It will also strengthen programmatic collaboration

among workforce investment boards, CCCs, local education agencies, and county

human services agency employment and workforce development programs. These

efforts promote greater employment opportunities and earnings potential for

participating students.

Adult Education Block Grant Program — This program coordinates representatives

from local educational agencies, community colleges, and other regional education,

workforce, and industry partners to promote the educational opportunities offered

to students and adult learners. Through this program, students and adult learners

can access courses to complete their high school diplomas or general education

equivalent, English as a Second Language courses, and pathways courses that


lead to additional career opportunities. The Budget includes $500 million ongoing

Proposition 98 General Fund to support the Adult Education Block Grant Program.

Apprenticeship Programs — There are over 265 apprenticeship programs sponsored

by local educational agencies, community colleges, and the Labor and Workforce

Development Agency’s (Labor Agency) Employment Training Panel which support

training to approximately 74,000 apprentices. These programs offer interested

Californians a clear pathway to obtain classroom instruction and on‑the‑job training

skills leading to gainful employment, while also providing California businesses with

well‑trained employees. The Budget includes $54.9 million ongoing Proposition 98

General Fund and approximately $13 million Employment Training Fund for

apprenticeship programs.

Economic and Workforce Development Program — This program provides funding

for targeted investments in economic and workforce development, focusing on

priority and emergent industry sectors, providing short‑term grants to support

industry‑driven regional education and training. The Budget includes $22.9 million

ongoing Proposition 98 General Fund to support this program.