Saturday, October 21, 2017

What If Everyone Who Could Became A Citizen?

Thanks to the work of the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, we have this map:

Via this map, we can see, in counties or regions, how many immigrants are eligible to become naturalized citizens - and their native country - and how their naturalization would increase the number of eligible voters in their district.

Providing citizenship classes is part of the mission of Adult Education in California.

Given what's happened to Adult Ed since the Big Crash of 2009 and how underfunded it remains, how available are citizenship classes in any given area?  How about in the areas of greatest need?  Or the areas where their citizenship would have the greatest impact in terms of civic engagement and voting?

Inadequate funding for Adult Ed = Inadequate access for citizenship classes.

If eligible immigrants could find a class and became citizens, how would that affect voting patterns - wins and losses - where they lived?

This map divides up the state primarily by county - partial, single or multiple.  The new California Adult Education Regional Consortium system in Adult Ed was set up by county.

So this map is a great way to see the potential impact of Adult Ed funding - adequate or inadequate - on voting.  And voting, not voting, and voter suppression - hopefully, we all know the impact of that!

For those who are just beginning to understand what's happening in Adult Ed, Adult Ed in California is funded primarily by the state.  Only a small portion of funding is federal.

How much does an awareness of that impact affect decisions of state legislators to fund or not fund or inadequately fund Adult Ed?

Who votes to adequately fund Adult Ed?  Who doesn't vote to adequately fund for Adult Ed?

Where do they live and who lives in their district? 

For example, if all eligible immigrants in Northeast Monterey County - the Salinas area - became naturalized citizens, that would be an 21.5 percent increase in number of voters in the area.  Big impact!

Who benefits from adequate funding of Adult Ed?  Who benefits from inadequate funding for Adult Ed?

Important questions.  Important map.

Check it out.

Network for Public Education Conference 2017

On October 15th and 16th, I attended the 4th Network for Public Education Conference, held this year in Oakland, CA, along with two Adult Learners, Critina Munoz-Ulrich and Denise Carrasco, an Adult School teachers, Kristen Pursley, and an Adult Education supporter (and retired community college instructor), George Pursley.  This was my third NPE Conference, having attended the first one in Austin, Texas in 2014 and presented along with Kristen Pursley and Bruce Neuburger at the second one in 2015 in Chicago.

George, Cristina, Denise, Kristen, Cynthia (myself)

As always, there is much to learn from, share, and digest from the conference.  I plan to slowly share some of what I learned in this blog and to post some writings from others who attended.  Videos from some of the conferences will be posted on the NPE website soon.

Adult Education is part of Public Education - but sometimes it feels as if we are seated at the "kid's table."   In truth, we are not only at the table, we are part of the table, holding up and stabilizing the other members with our contributions.

It is important that we attend conferences and belong to organizations that are not specific to Adult Education for two reasons:

1.  To bring our voices, knowledge and concerns to these usually larger discussions

2.  To learn from them and to bring back what we learn to the Adult Ed community

That takes time and effort we in Adult Ed sometimes don't have - given our struggles with funding and stability, new rules and regulations.  But we need to find the time and to support each other in participating in these conferences and organizations, including fundraising the attendance of teachers and students.  Students, in particular, need to be supported in attending these events.