Sunday, February 25, 2018

Take the Survey on Gun Violence in Schools

Educators, please take this survey created by the BATs’ Quality of Life Team about Gun Violence in our schools. -  

Friday, February 23, 2018

Adult Ed Credential and Credentialing Programs: Keep, Change or Throw Away?

Recently the LAO recommended that K12 Adult Education - Adult Schools - no longer require a teaching credential.

Here's what they said:

"No Longer Require Adult School Instructors to Hold a Credential.
We recommend the Legislature amend statute so that individuals no longer need a teaching credential to serve as instructors at adult schools. By aligning qualifications for instructors, instructors could readily teach adult education courses at both community colleges and adult schools. Moreover, the change could help adult schools in hiring teachers. If the state has concerns about the quality of adult education instructors, it could encourage consortia to provide professional development as needed." - From the 2018 LAO Report on Adult Education…/2018-19-Adult-Education-Analysis-021518…

Adult School Credential - Require or Don't Require - Major Policy Change

If we are going to make a major policy change and no longer require a teaching credential for Adult School teachers, we need to have informed and meaningful conversations about credentials - what are they, how do you get one, what do they signify, how good are or aren't the programs that give them, what is their purpose, etc.

Here is some information to gets us started on that conversation.

State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Information

The official name for an Adult Ed credential is a Designated Subjects credential.

Here's the California CTC - Commission on Teacher Credentialing - webpage with the requirements for a Designated Subjects teaching credential.

Two Levels of Credential

There are two levels of credentials for teaching Adult Ed - preliminary and clear.  Preliminary gets you in the door so you can start teaching.  Clear says you have met all the initial requirements plus more requirements plus you have experience.  Now you are "clear" to teach as a solid, seasoned professional.  The credential must be renewed every five years.  This screens out issues which may come up which would bar a person from teaching.

From the website:  Period of Validity The preliminary credential is valid for three years. The clear credential is valid for five years and must be renewed online every five-year renewal cycle. Once issued, there are no additional academic requirements to renew the clear credential.

Introductory information on the CTC webpage

The Preliminary or Clear Designated Subjects Adult Education Teaching Credential authorizes the holder to teach the subjects named on the credential in courses organized primarily for adults. In addition, the holder may serve as a substitute in courses organized primarily for adults for not more than 30 days for any one teacher during the school year. Designated Subjects Adult Education Teaching Credentials are issued to individuals who meet the requirements listed below and are recommended by a Commission-approved program sponsor.

Requirements for the Preliminary Credential 

1. Three years of experience and/or education directly related to each subject to be named on the credential. (see Terms and Definitions for information regarding the experience requirement for general subjects or the section ACADEMIC SUBJECTS THAT MAY BE LISTED ON A CREDENTIAL for information regarding the education requirement for academic subjects)

2. High school diploma requirement by one of the following methods: a. High school diploma b. Diploma based on passage of the GED Test c. Foreign equivalent of a high school diploma

3. Satisfy the basic skills requirement. See Commission program leaflet CL-667, entitled Basic Skills Requirement for additional information. Applicants for the Adult Credential in general subjects (see chart later in this leaflet) are exempt from the basic skills requirement.

4. Verification, signed by the Commission-approved program sponsor, that the applicant has been apprised of the requirements for both the preliminary and clear credentials, including the requirements of the program of personalized preparation

5. Completed application (form 41-4)

6. Completed Live Scan receipt (41-LS), verifying fingerprints have been taken and fees have been paid, unless fingerprint clearance is already on file at the Commission

7. Application processing fee

8. Recommendation by a Commission-approved program sponsor

Requirements for the Clear Credential

Individuals must satisfy all of the following requirements:

1.  Possess a valid California Preliminary Designated Subjects Adult Education Teaching Credential (three year or five-year)

2.  Commission-approved program of personalized preparation 

3.  Two years of successful teaching on the basis of the Preliminary Designated Subjects Adult Education Teaching Credential in the subject(s) listed on the credential. This is defined as teaching of a minimum of one course in each of four terms within the three-year period of validity of the preliminary adult education teaching credential

4. U.S. Constitution requirement by one of the following methods: a. Complete a course (at least two semester units or three quarter units) in the provisions and principles of the U.S. Constitution. Submit a photocopy of the course description for evaluation purposes. b.   Pass an examination in the provisions and principles of the U.S. Constitution given by a regionally accredited college or university

5. Health education, including, but not limited to, the study of nutrition; the physiological and sociological effects of abuse of alcohol, narcotics, and drugs, and the use of tobacco. This requirement must also include training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) that covers infant, child, and adult CPR skills.

6. Computer-based technology, including the uses of technology in educational settings

7. Completed application (form 41-4)

8. Application processing fee 

9.  Recommendation by a Commission-approved program sponsor

NOTE:  Adult Ed covers a broad array of subjects and requirements for these teaching these subjects vary.

Requirements for Teaching ESL

English as a Second Language is one of the biggest programs in Adult Education.  Let's take a look at those requirements.

A bachelor’s degree or higher completed at a regionally-accredited college or university to include a degree major, certificate, or completion of 20 semester units or 10 upper division semester units in one or any combination of the following: Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Second Language Acquisition Language other than English Linguistics Bilingual/Bicultural studies.

Credential Programs

Credential programs vary - some are excellent and some not so good.

San Francisco State University

I got my credential at San Francisco State University.  It was an excellent program. During the years of cuts and closures, SFSU stopped offering the credential program.  Not surprising - Adult Ed barely survived the devastation of those years.  Over 70 Adult Schools closed and all were cut.  There were virtually no jobs available in Adult Ed.  And when it did emerge, in emerged in a new form - with a narrowed mission, a new focus (workforce), and with emphasis on "performance."

SFSU offers a Masters in Education with a Concentration in Adult Education - which looks to be a very good program.  Dr. Doris Flowers is one of the Graduate Advisors and I can attest to her excellence in both teaching and depth of knowledge in the field.  I studied with her at SFSU.

(Blog author writing this ---  who studied at SFSU --- Cynthia Eagleton)

No More Adult Ed Credential at SFSU So Let's Look at LA

But no more designated subjects credential at SFSU so let's look at Los Angeles - a region in huge need of Adult Ed and home of the biggest Adult School in the state.  Here is the coursework offered by the Los Angeles County Office of Education for a Designated Subjects Credential. 

On-Line versus In-Person Credential Programs

NOTE:  The coursework offered by LACOE appears to be somewhat similar in content to what I took at SFSU - but the courses are offered online in a partnership with the University of San Diego.  Having both taken and taught both online and in-person classes, I am of the opinion that when it comes to learning how to teach, at least some of the coursework should in-person.  Part of learning how to be a good teacher is being a student in a class about good teaching taught by a skillful teacher, talking about what works and what doesn't with real people in real time.  There's no substitute for it.   (Opinion mine - Cynthia Eagleton)

The LACOE Designated Subjects Adult Education (AE) Credential Program includes the following:

Early Orientation Modules 1-6 and Professional Development Modules 7 & 10 (complete within thirty days) Candidates begin the program by completing the free, self-paced, online Early Orientation training modules  1-6 as well as the free Professional Development modules 7 & 10. Applicants must complete the eight modules within thirty (30) days of receiving the email instructions from the DS Credentials Coordinator.

Required Coursework (after completion of the EO/PD modules):

Foundations of Classroom Management, 3 semester units ($600) 
Foundations of Curriculum, 3 semester units ($600) 
Foundations for Teaching Adult Learners, 3 semester units ($600) 
Teaching Portfolio, 2 semester units ($350) 
Health Education for Teachers, 2 semester units ($350)
Total Program Units and Fees: 11 semester units (Total $2425)*

LACOE provides the credentials coursework in partnership with the University of San Diego (USD). Courses are offered online. Course sequence and descriptions are as follows: 

FIRST COURSE: Foundations of Classroom Management Candidates will continue to build on effective instructional strategies learned in the EO/PD modules for getting started in the classroom.  The course will focus on developing classroom management strategies to achieve positive learning outcomes and address safety issues to ensure an effective learning environment. Other topics include an overview of CTE, lesson mastery, and education resources. Candidates will review the program requirements for the clear credential and learn strategies for obtaining teaching positions. 

SECOND COURSE: Foundations of Curriculum Candidates will explore key websites for curriculum planning and development of course outlines, syllabi, and lesson plans using the K-12 Content Standards and the CTE Standards.  Development and use of student assessments tied to standards-based instruction will be studied. Candidates will focus on the effective use of technology to support and enhance classroom instruction. 

THIRD COURSE: Foundations for Teaching Adult Learners This course provides candidates with an understanding of how to become an effective teacher of adults. Building upon the Adult Learning Theory module completed in the Early Orientation, candidates will study the andragogy and principles of teaching adults along with key concepts that inform teaching practices. Strategies for teaching to a diverse group of adult learners will be provided including differentiated instruction techniques. 

FOURTH COURSE: Teaching Portfolio This culminating course will enable candidates to provide evidence through an e-portfolio of their knowledge and skills as an effective CTE teacher. 

FIFTH COURSE:  Health Education for Teachers This course provides information on legal mandates for teachers and strategies for promoting healthy choices for students. The course may be taken concurrently with any other courses. 

*Subject to change. Please go to and then Credential Program for course schedules and fees.

Keep - Change - Throw Away

So that's some basic info - very basic info - about Adult Ed credentials.

There is much more to discuss:   The value of credentials.  What they signify.  How credentialing programs could or should be improved.  The reality of jobs - plentiful, scarce, good, bad - teaching in Adult Ed in California - in Adult Schools or at Community Colleges.  And much, much more.

What are you thoughts?  Keep, change or throw away the credential and/or these programs?

Please weigh in through the comment box or by writing a guest post for the blog.  If you are interested in writing a guest post, please contact me, Cynthia.

Perspective: Jean MacDonald on Credentials

The LAO - the Legislative Analyst Office - recently came out with a Report on Adult Education.  The report was posted on Adult Education Matters Facebook page.  Several readers responded.  With permission, here is Jean MacDonald's response (below the pertinent recommendations from the LAO Report.).

The LAO Report's Recommendations on Credentialing
"No Longer Require Adult School Instructors to Hold a Credential.
We recommend the Legislature amend statute so that individuals no longer need a teaching credential to serve as instructors at adult schools. By aligning qualifications for instructors, instructors could readily teach adult education courses at both community colleges and adult schools. Moreover, the change could help adult schools in hiring teachers. If the state has concerns about the quality of adult education instructors, it could encourage consortia to provide professional development as needed." - From the 2018 LAO Report on Adult Education…/2018-19-Adult-Education-Analysis-021518…

"Adult Education Instructors Held to Different Qualification Requirements.
Despite teaching similar content, instructors from community colleges and adult schools are subject to different minimum qualifications for employment. Whereas both community colleges and adult schools generally require instructors to have a bachelor’s degree or higher, statute places higher requirements on adult school instructors. Specifically, adult school instructors also must have a state-approved teaching credential. This inconsistency results in instructors who can teach at one segment but not the other. It also can make hiring instructors at adult schools more difficult than at community colleges."
From the 2018 LAO Report on Adult Education

Jean MacDonald responds:

This letter is in response to the latest attack on adult ed and its credentials, and the LAO proposals.

To my knowledge, in order to acquire a preliminary adult ed credential, the demands: paperwork, a CBEST, NO bachelor's degree and enrollmen
t in a State-approved program. UC Berkeley is on the list for example. Its program is 10 units total. Eight units are online, one is an orientation, and the other is student-teaching on-the-job. The whole program is 10 hours (One unit is 1 hour of coursework). This can be done in optional 3-5 years while teaching. Yes indeed, ten hours must be done within 3 to 5 years. Apparently, the report states this too burdensome. I disagree. ESL does require a BA. though.

Also, the report claims it is easier to get a job in a community college. Conversely, in my experience, if you want to work at Los Medanos, Diablo Valley, Las Positas.or Solano Community Colleges in ESL, you must have a minimum of a Master's in Applied Linguistics, TESOL, or the equivalent for part-time, and a PhD or equivalent for full-time tenure track.This is hardly easier than the adult ed credential requirements above. These two degrees are very time- and effort-consuming (expensive too) as opposed to NO degree required by the CTC for the adult ed credential. I think this should be looked at again. It is simply not factual.

Moreover, most teaching jobs in adult ed, although capped at around 19.5 hours, are more "stable", even as part time because they reoccur. Whereas, at a community college, the classes differ from one semester to the next. You find yourself more at-will. The report says the opposite.

Personally, I worked as an adjunct 4 years at Los Medanos College teaching different courses, classes, hours and was never called back again since. I have an MA in Ed, and have worked at my current positions in adult schools, part-time only, for 16+ years. I'm maxed out on the salary scale, at-will, no benefits, denied other open positions- dead-end/frustrated. I am told I won't be hired full-time for budget reasons. I want it known now so the situation can be improved.

From working in 4 different adult schools, I know they cap 90 % of their teachers, arbitrarily, at around 19.5 hours or so, regardless of the need, to save districts money (This info is easy to find in WASC reports). They claim they have none in the budget (not according to public websites). I have been told this for years. Dstricts have millions in reserves. So why are we still being short-changed a living-wage? The report does not address this. The sweat is on our backs as we do all the teaching.

Consequently, teacher-strapped administrators may then ask the same part-timers to refer friends to teach. They may leave flyers out daily for the incoming public to advertise the need for part-time teachers. Maybe the students know people. We would like more hours, but tough luck. Instead, classes are cancelled or doubled-up daily, no teacher or sub. signs on the door. We have to then run to 2 or 3 other districts, often the same day, part-time in each, no benefits anywhere- even though the money comes from the same originating sources, the AEBG, WIOA, the CDOE. And there seems to be plenty of it for everyone but us teachers: Secretaries, janitors, principals, non-teaching staff, TOSA's, consultants, even Board members may have comprehensive contracts and benefit packages. Adult Ed unfairly-made-to-be part-timers get none of it. We get all the hard work.

Morover, the adult ed teaching shortage is further aggravated when HRs don't advertise properly on EdJoin. They don't describe the working hours, or give adequate job descriptions (avoiding the facts- unpaid prep, extra unpaid administrative duties, no CA ED Code protections, at-will, etc.)The ads just say, "continued posting, ongoing opening, pool, no medical benefits, hourly, some mornings, hours vary." Who wants to apply for that uncertainty? Many don't. Many are not advertised at all. There are instances of backdoor-hiring. Since full-time jobs are so scarce, inside buddy-hiring has existed, which might not result in the best teachers for students. Actual result, you are left hopeless and look to leave the field. It happened to me. The proposed bill does not say anything to stop this.

As for letting the consortia handle professional development, that would be disastrous. A principal may cut your already-bargained-for PD Day to half for speaking up and being assertive in your union. The same principal may also be a consortium director-voter with other non-union adult ed school principals. Most adult schools do not enlist us in their unions- complaints about it ignored (another matter). The same consortia are headed by these types of principals from local adult ed schools.They may act like dictators fighting teachers tooth and nail at the bargaining table; They then have voting power of the AEBG and WIOA funding. Don't let the consortia be in charge of PD, please. Principals have wielded too much power against us.

Upper- mangement fights us too. An excuse I have heard is, "You want to work part-time. That is why we chose adult ed." It is like that all over the state." A "Wall of Shame." now exists for adult ed made-to-be part-timers. The same managers may make $160,000- $240,000+ minimums in salaries and benefits (Transparent The LAO may want to examine such stratifications in public personnel pay and benefits. I think it needs to be considered before any policy change is made. Otherwise, I fear the grant money will be wasted on lining executives' pockets. Their salaries and pensions are huger and huger public expenditures (Transparent We are broke, on food stamps, MediCal, homeless, etc. Various news articles have reported adjunct teachers' hardships. We must consider changing this.

There are many more pertinent and valid reasons why teachers have fled adult ed. They are not because of credentialing requirements. Eliminating credentials will dismantle, gut and further destroy quality teaching for good. Legal swindle complete. Sorry students. You don't matter because your teacher doesn't. Teaching-quality so obviously ill-considered, walk away, drop out, stay unskilled, be unemployed, don't speak English, go to prison, get public assistance. On the upside, principals, vice principals, superintendents, assistant superintendents and their school budgets will be richer.

Top-down systems need to change to more democratic ones. We the made-to-be-part-time adult ed teachers are more important. Spend the money on us. Change the Bill to prevent the above issues from continuing to happen to us and the students.

In all certainty, keep the measely 10-hour requirement, CBEST, fingerprinting-minimal professionalism of the field. Use at least some of the available money to make full-time adult ed instructors' jobs attractive to qualified people with the highest qualifications possible. We are completely left out all around. Teachers in adult ed have put the time in, got degrees, have student loans, families to support, bills to pay, like janitors, secretaries, principals, etc. They can't do it on a part-time basis. Sharing is caring. We care. Won't you?

I hope to see you on April 9 in Sacramento. I will be telling my story to legislators on committees.

Jean MacDonald, thank you for sharing your knowledge, wisdom and invitation to action. 

AEM welcomes Perspective pieces.  If you would like to share yours, contact Cynthia.

For more information about the April 9th rally hosted by CCAE, go here.

Adult Education RallyMonday, April 9, 2018
1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Capitol Building, West Side
Sacramento, California

Students are welcome to join.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

2018 LAO Report on Adult Ed

The LAO Report is out - with a clear and easy read chart comparing Adult Ed in Adult Schools and Community Colleges as well as recommendations on those differences.  You can read it here.

And here it is without the chart because copying and pasting doesn't work for the chart.  The chart is CLEAR and EASY TO READ so I highly recommend clicking on the link above and scrolling to page 3 and reading it.

Here's the rest of the report starting with the summary:

Summary Recommend Revamping Funding for Adult Education and Aligning Certain Policies.

The state restructured its adult education system in 2013-14 with the intent of fostering greater coordination among providers—primarily community colleges and adult schools. After five years, several key fiscal and policy inconsistencies remain across the two sets of providers. Most notably, adult programs offered by community colleges and adult schools have different funding rules, different fee policies, different instructor qualifications, and different student identifiers. The Governor’s budget provides $5 million ongoing to improve data alignment between community colleges and adult schools. The administration, however, does not address the other areas of misalignment. To address these areas, we recommend the Legislature set a uniform per-student funding rate for adult education providers, establish a consistent fee policy (having all providers charge no fee or a nominal fee), and eliminate certain qualifications for adult education instructors. We recommend approving the Governor’s proposed $5 million augmentation for data alignment but modifying the proposal to require each segment to assign and share student identifiers. This would allow the state and providers to see how students move between the K-12 system, adult schools, and community colleges.

In this report, we first provide background on adult education and review the restructuring of adult education that the state embarked on in 2013-14. We then describe the Governor’s two 2018-19 adult education proposals. Next, we assess those proposals and examine various unresolved issues relating to the alignment of adult education policies among community colleges and adult schools. Lastly, we make recommendations relating to the Governor’s proposals and policy alignment.

Background Adult Education Has Multiple Purposes. The primary purpose of adult education is to provide adults with the precollegiate knowledge and skills they need to participate in civic life and the workforce. Toward this end, most adult education course offerings are in three instructional areas: basic math and English, English as a second language (ESL), and career technical education (CTE). For CTE, adult education providers tend to offer programs that are one year or less in length. State Embarked on Major Adult Education Restructuring in 2013-14. Community colleges and school districts (through their adult schools) are the primary providers of adult education. In addition, various other entities provide adult education, including community-based organizations, libraries, and jails. Due to longstanding concerns with a lack of coordination among providers, the 2013-14 budget package mapped out a new state strategy for funding and operating adult education. Specifically, the budget provided limited-term grants to adult education providers to form consortia and develop regional delivery plans. The 2015-16 budget created the Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG), which provided $500 million in ongoing funding to the consortia to serve adults according to their plans. The amount of AEBG funding that a consortium receives is based primarily on its 2012-13 adult education spending level, with a smaller portion distributed based on a calculation of regional need. Consortia have received the same funding amounts annually since 2015-16. In addition to AEBG funding, the state continues to provide about $300 million annually in noncredit apportionment funding for community college adult education programs. (We estimate that community colleges spend another $2 billion on CTE programs that are longer than one year in length. These programs generally are not included as part of consortia planning activities.)

State Left Some Alignment Areas Unaddressed, Tasked Agencies With Addressing Them.

While the 2013-14 legislation creating the AEBG aimed to have adult education providers in each region of the state coordinate their program offerings, it did not address inconsistencies in certain fiscal and policy areas. Separate legislation enacted that year tasked the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Community Colleges (CCC) Chancellor’s Office with submitting recommendations pertaining to (1) a consistent fee policy, (2) common assessment policies for adult education students, and (3) a comprehensive accountability system (including the use of a single student identifier). It also required the Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the CCC Academic Senate to make recommendations pertaining to qualifications for adult education instructors in both segments. The agencies ultimately were unable in most cases to agree on recommendations for alignment between the two systems. As a result, our office was tasked with providing recommendations on these issues as part of our 2018-19 budget analysis.

Governor’s Proposals

Provides AEBG 4.1 Percent Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA). Since the first $500 million AEBG appropriation in 2015-16, the state has not provided a COLA to the program. The Governor proposes a $20.6 million (4.1 percent) increase in 2018-19. This increase is higher than the increase the Governor proposes for certain other community college programs. The higher rate is in recognition that the program did not receive a COLA the past few years. (Specifically, the 4.1 percent increase equates to a 2.5 percent COLA associated with 2018-19 and a 1.6 percent COLA associated with 2017-18.) The administration proposes to distribute the augmentation to consortia based on their current allocations. Provides $5 Million Ongoing to Support Data Projects. The budget proposes $5 million for the CCC Chancellor’s Office to undertake several data-related projects. Specifically, the $5 million would be used to (1) continue support of a data sharing platform that tracks student outcomes across providers and into the workforce by linking student information between adult schools, CCC, and the Employment Development Department (EDD); (2) provide training and technical assistance to local providers on data submission and using data to inform local programming; and (3) collect survey data on the outcomes of AEBG participants whose employment outcomes currently cannot be tracked because they do not have a Social Security Number (SSN). These efforts build upon the $25 million one-time funding the state provided in 2015-16 to initiate development of the data sharing platform.

Assessment Below, we first assess the Governor’s adult education COLA proposal, along with unresolved funding and fee alignment issues. We then assess the Governor’s data alignment proposal. Next, we assess unresolved alignment issues relating to student placement policies, faculty qualifications, and the delineation between noncredit and credit instruction. The first four columns of Figure 1 summarize all of these unresolved alignment issues. Providing the AEBG Program a COLA Would Treat It Similarly to Several Other Education Programs. The Governor’s budget funds a COLA for many K-12 and community college programs in 2018-19. This is consistent with state action the past few years to fund COLAs for many Proposition 98 programs. For some major education programs, including the Local Control Funding Formula and community college apportionments, recent state budgets have provided augmentations notably in excess of inflation. The AEBG, however, has not received these COLAs. (Since 2015-16, the only AEBG augmentation has been $5 million one time in 2016-17 for technical assistance and professional development.) State Lacks Data to Help It Set Overall AEBG Funding Level. Currently, the state lacks much key data that could help it determine how much to provide annually for adult education in California. Most notably, the state currently does not know the extent of the current unmet need in the state, how much providers are spending on services, and the quality of those services. Without this basic information, the Legislature cannot have confidence it knows what it is getting for any particular state appropriation level (with or without a COLA).

Existing State Funding Rules Are Inconsistent and Exacerbate Differences in Access and Quality.

In addition to being concerned that the state lacks the basic data required to help it set the annual adult education appropriation level, we have serious concerns about the overall way adult education is funded. Most notably, the state has one set of rules for community colleges and a different set of rules for adult schools. The result of having different sets of funding rules means some providers likely are receiving and spending substantially more on adult education services than other providers. These funding and spending differences, in turn, likely are contributing to widening differences in levels of access and quality for adults across the state. Below, we describe funding rules for community colleges, then describe the rules for adult schools.

One Set of Funding Rules for Community Colleges . . .

Currently, community colleges annually receive about $60 million in AEBG funding and about $300 million in noncredit apportionment funding to provide adult education. (The amount of apportionment funding going for adult education is likely higher than $300 million because the lines between noncredit and credit instruction are blurred at the community colleges, an issue we discuss later in this section.) The apportionment funding community colleges receive equates to $5,310 per full-time equivalent student for most noncredit courses (including basic math and English, ESL, and CTE) and $3,300 for remaining noncredit courses (including citizenship and parenting). Whereas community colleges use their apportionment funding for direct adult education instruction, they typically use their AEBG funding to provide additional support for adult students and for consortia coordination activities.

. . . And Another Set of Funding Rules for Adult Schools.

By comparison, adult schools do not receive apportionment funding, with their sole source of state funding being AEBG. Currently, adult schools receive about $440 million in AEBG funding annually. As with community colleges, adult schools use a part of their AEBG funding for planning and coordination activities. They use the bulk of their AEBG funding for direct instruction. The state, however, has no set per-student funding rate, so each adult school determines for itself how much to spend per student. The state currently does not have data on per-student spending by adult school, but providers indicate that spending varies across the state. (AEBG administrators indicate that they are beginning to collect this data in 2017-18.) Without a set per-student funding rate, some adult schools may be offering much richer programs to a much smaller group of students.

Differences in Fee Policies Make Matters Worse.

Inconsistencies exist not only in state funding but also in state fee policies. Statute prohibits community colleges from charging any fees for adult education (or any noncredit instruction), whereas statute prohibits adult schools from charging fees for basic math and English courses as well as ESL courses but permits them to charge fees for CTE courses (which typically are more expensive). CTE fees vary among adult schools and type of CTE program, with fees reaching the thousands of dollars for some programs. Based on self-reported school district accounting data, we estimate that adult schools collected about $40 million statewide in fee revenue in 2015-16. The rationale for different CTE fee policies appears to be that community colleges can claim apportionment funds to cover their costs, but adult schools only have their AEBG allocations, which might be insufficient to cover their costs. By allowing adult schools to collect fees for CTE courses, they therefore could maintain courses they might otherwise have to cancel due to a lack of state funding.

Limited Incentives to Improve Student Outcomes.

Though the state continues to lack some basic adult education data, statute authorizing AEBG requires regional consortia to report outcomes on several performance measures and specifies that some funding is to be based on consortia’s performance on these measures. To date, however, the state has not distributed any AEBG or noncredit apportionment funding based on performance. While data collection still is being refined, we have concerns that without performance-based funding or some other form of state accountability for student outcomes, consortia will have weak incentives to improve their programs.

Adult Education Providers Receiving Other Funds Are Not Required to Coordinate With Consortia.

In addition to community colleges and adult schools, several other entities—including libraries and community-based organizations—receive various pots of state and federal funding for adult education. These other fund sources include federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title II funds, state funding for jail education, and California State Library literacy funds. State law encourages but does not require providers receiving these pots of funds to coordinate their adult education course offerings with their regional consortia. Not requiring such coordination weakens the primary goal of the adult education restructuring— better coordination. Without coordinating funds and program offerings, providers could continue offering courses that are not aligned to regional workforce needs, are duplicative, or are of lower priority.

Funding Data Alignment Efforts Could Improve Quality and Value of Data.

Helping providers submit consistent and accurate data would benefit all users of the data platform—both providers themselves and policymakers. Improving providers’ understanding of how data can benefit them also could result in the data being used more frequently to inform program decisions, particularly around program redesigns and improvements. Moreover, continuing to develop AEBG’s data linking platform would allow for more seamless sharing and dissemination of data. Many of these improvements could help policymakers adopt more informed adult education policies.

Governor’s Data Proposal Tries to Deal With One Major Existing Data Issue.

The current data linking platform has great potential in that it is intended to be able to follow students throughout their educational programs and into the workforce. A major data hurdle, however, is that many adult students do not have an SSN—the primary method state agencies have of tracking adult students’ educational and EDD workforce outcomes. The Governor’s proposal seeks to address this shortcoming by funding surveys of students without an SSN to ask them about their employment outcomes. Such surveys might help address the issue of missing employment data for these students. Proposal Does Not Address Even More Fundamental Issue. When students attending community college adult programs do not have an SSN, CCC assigns them a CCC identifier. When students attending adult schools do not have an SSN, CDE will sometimes assign them a Statewide Student Identifier, or SSID. (Every K-12 student in the state’s public schools is assigned an SSID when they enroll.) Currently, the state does not require CCC to share its student identifiers with CDE or vice versa. As a result, the state is not able to systematically analyze how adult students move from the K-12 system into adult schools and community colleges or between adult schools and community colleges. This is a particularly notable shortcoming given one of the key points of having a regional approach to adult education is better coordination.

No Consistent Way to Assess Students’ Skill Level.

Both community colleges and adult schools may use scores on skill assessments as one consideration when they place students into adult education courses. (In addition, providers consider other factors, like a student’s educational goals and high school grade point average.) The assessments and cut scores, however, are set locally and differ from provider to provider. As a result, different providers may place students with similar skill levels into different courses. For students who need to change providers within or outside of their consortium—for example to take a more advanced class—these differences in placement policies can result in confusion and potentially duplication in course taking. The differences in placement policies also mean that some students may take longer to complete their program, as their providers require them to take additional classes.

Adult Education Instructors Held to Different Qualification Requirements.

Despite teaching similar content, instructors from community colleges and adult schools are subject to different minimum qualifications for employment. Whereas both community colleges and adult schools generally require instructors to have a bachelor’s degree or higher, statute places higher requirements on adult school instructors. Specifically, adult school instructors also must have a state-approved teaching credential. This inconsistency results in instructors who can teach at one segment but not the other. It also can make hiring instructors at adult schools more difficult than at community colleges.

Definition of Credit Versus Noncredit Coursework Is Unclear and Inconsistent Across Community Colleges.

Though many of the state’s current problems with adult education stem from inconsistent policies across community colleges and adult schools, some problems stem from inconsistent policies within the community colleges themselves. Generally, CCC noncredit courses are considered adult education (precollegiate) while credit courses generally are considered college level. The state, however, has no standard definition of noncredit and credit coursework, with colleges making such determinations themselves. For example, some colleges offer certified nursing assistant courses for credit, whereas others offer the same courses on a noncredit basis. Three major problems result from lack of clear delineations: (1) the state does not know how much funding community colleges are providing for adult education; (2) students may or may not receive credit for the same or similar course depending upon the college they attend; and (3) community colleges may or may not include similar courses as part of their adult education regional consortia planning. That is, some colleges coordinate certain courses with other adult education providers, whereas other colleges do not coordinate those course offerings.

Recommendations Below, we discuss our recommendations relating to the Governor’s two adult education proposals and adult education alignment. The last column of Figure 1 summarizes our alignment recommendations.

Timely Opportunity to Revamp Adult Education Funding Rules.

While the Governor’s proposal to provide AEBG with a COLA treats AEBG similarly to some other education programs, we believe the state’s overall approach to funding adult education is fundamentally flawed and in need of revamping. The coming year could be a particularly good opportunity to undertake such restructuring, as the Governor simultaneously is proposing major changes to community college apportionment funding rules. (We discuss this proposal in our report, The 2018-19 Budget: Higher Education Analysis.) Under our recommended approach, all of adult/noncredit education would have a funding and accountability system separate from community college credit instruction. If the Legislature reviewed both the noncredit and credit funding rules in 2018-19, it would have greater assurance that the new rules were coherent, coordinated, and had fewer, if any, unintended consequences.

Begin by Setting Uniform Adult Education Per-Student Funding Rate.

We think the most important first step in any restructuring of adult education funding rules is to set a uniform rate per full-time equivalent student. That is, we recommend the state provide the same base per-student funding rate for adult schools and community college noncredit courses. Providing a uniform base per-student funding rate would result in more consistent services across California and enhance the state’s ability to monitor the adult education system. It also would allow the state to establish a corresponding fee policy that was rationale and consistent (as discussed below), treating providers and students the same across the state. In doing so, the state would no longer allow some providers to charge hefty fees for the same courses that other providers offer free of charge. Depending upon the distributional effects of the base per-student rate, the state might wish to phase in the new rate over a few years. Consider Building Performance Component Into New Funding System. As the Legislature considers developing new funding rules, it could build off of recommendations we have made in previous years as well as the administration’s 2018-19 community colleges apportionment proposal to include a performance component. By examining adult/noncredit rules separately from credit rules, the Legislature could ensure that the performance measures built into the funding system were appropriate for adult education. It also could ensure that associated planning and accountability requirements were seamlessly integrated into the regional consortia system. By building a performance component into the funding system, the state could create a strong incentive for regional consortia to work together to identify strategies that improve student learning and workforce outcomes.

Make Fees Consistent Using One of Two Approaches.

We recommend the Legislature make fee policies consistent by either eliminating adult school fees entirely or charging students a nominal fee at both community colleges and adult schools. Under our recommendation to provide a uniform state funding rate per student, most, if not all, adult schools likely could eliminate their CTE fees and still operate their programs. This is because the state funding rate would cover all, or almost all, of their program costs. Even if state funding were to cover virtually the full cost, the state nonetheless might want to institute a nominal enrollment fee that would apply to all students enrolled in adult education courses regardless of provider. Requiring all students to pay a small fee could foster positive behavioral tendencies—such as making students more deliberate in their selection of courses and more purposeful about holding campuses accountable for providing high-quality services. That is, rather than being a barrier, the fee would be intended to ensure students are serious about their studies and campuses are serious about offering quality programs aligned with students’ interests. If the Legislature were to institute a fee, we recommend setting the fee amount low given the vast majority of adult students are low income.

Require All Providers to Coordinate With Regional Consortia.

We recommend that as a condition of receiving state or federal funds, adult education providers document that they participate in their regional planning consortia. Participation would include reporting of adult education services and funding. By requiring all providers of adult education to participate in their consortia’s regional efforts, the state could ensure that consortia get a full picture of the services and funding available to adult learners in their region.

Approve Funding to Support Data Projects, With Additional Requirement.

We believe that having accurate program outcome data is essential if the Legislature is to monitor adult education in California in meaningful ways. Such data can help the Legislature make informed and strategic decisions about how much to spend for adult education, how to allocate such funding among providers, and how to change programmatic requirements to help ensure providers offer effective and efficient programs. We also believe providing local providers access to data can allow them to better tailor their course offerings. We think the Governor’s data alignment proposal helps foster accurate and meaningful data. For these reasons, we recommend the Legislature approve it. We recommend, however, that the Legislature also require the CCC Chancellor’s Office and CDE to use a portion of the $5 million augmentation to collect or assign an SSID to adult students without an SSN and for CCC to use and maintain these SSIDs in the adult education data platform. This would allow the state and providers to assess how students move between the K-12 system, adult schools, and community colleges.

Wait for Segments to Finish Work Aligning Assessment and Placement Policies.

The CDE and CCC Chancellor’s Office are in the midst of working to crosswalk between currently used adult education assessments, scoring, and placement policies. The segments indicate that providers will be able to start using the new crosswalk policies in 2018-19. We recommend waiting for the segments to complete this work in 2018-19. Were the Legislature still to have concerns with inconsistencies in assessment and placement policies after this work has been completed, it could revisit the issues in 2019-20.

No Longer Require Adult School Instructors to Hold a Credential.

We recommend the Legislature amend statute so that individuals no longer need a teaching credential to serve as instructors at adult schools. By aligning qualifications for instructors, instructors could readily teach adult education courses at both community colleges and adult schools. Moreover, the change could help adult schools in hiring teachers. If the state has concerns about the quality of adult education instructors, it could encourage consortia to provide professional development as needed.

Establish Clear Definition of CCC Noncredit Instruction.

We recommend the Legislature create consistent rules that clearly distinguish adult education coursework in math, English, ESL, and CTE from collegiate coursework. The delineation between precollegiate and collegiate coursework already is much clearer for other subjects, such as history and science. Similar to the delineations made for these other subjects, we recommend the Legislature restrict credit instruction in math, English, ESL, and CTE to college-level coursework. Though the state does not collect data on how many precollegiate courses in these areas are now being offered for credit, the impact of this recommendation could be significant, with colleges needing to reclassify many courses.


•  Revamp adult education funding rules. Begin by setting a uniform per-student funding rate and consider building a performance component into the new funding system.

•  Establish a consistent fee policy using one of two approaches—either eliminating fees or charging a nominal fee for all adult education courses.

•  Require all adult education providers to coordinate with their adult education regional consortia.

•  Approve Governor’s proposal to support data projects, but additionally require school districts to assign student identifiers and community colleges to use and maintain the identifiers.

•  Wait for the California Department of Education and California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to complete planned 2018-19 work on aligning assessment and placement policies. If inconsistencies remain, revisit assessment and placement polices in 2019-20.

•  Amend statute so that adult education instructors at adult schools no longer need a teaching credential. If the Legislature has concerns with instructor quality, encourage consortia to provide professional development as needed.

•  Create clear definitions that distinguish credit and noncredit instruction at community colleges