Wednesday, April 29, 2020

SMAS Student Edy Vasquez Writes to Governor Newsom

Edy Vasquez is a student at San Mateo Adult School. You can read more of his story here.
In the midst of this pandemic, as we face economic uncertainty, he writes a letter to Governor Newsom:

Governor Gavin Newsom
1303 10th St., #1173
Sacramento, CA. 95814
April 23, 2020
Dear Governor Gavin Newsom,

I am Edy Vasquez,  from Guatemala. I’m  a student at  San Mateo Adult School in
California, United States of America.  

With all due respect, I am writing this letter to you. thanking you for the
effort made in the state of California, keeping everyone safe from COVID 19,
looking after our health and coming to town.  This was an excellent job done
as a governor.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for everything.  '

The reason for this letter is because I understand there may be possible budget
cutting for some public institutions and agencies. To continue to function properly,
we need balanced budgets. 

For this reason I took the liberty of writing this letter and to concentrate on adult
education in our county. I attend San Mateo Adult School. Education is very
important for both children and adults. By educating ourselves, we can better
serve the State of California and provide a better economy by producing work.  

On the other hand, if our school continues to be funded, teachers will not be
unemployed, they will be able to contribute to the state that which is valuable,
which is education. I hereby ask you to reconsider aid for all adult schools. As a student,
I see education as the key to success for the future of my family and to improve the
education of my children. On the other hand, I help my community from school
by participating in the programs that exist in the school, which are census,
green team, hot food service, student ambassador, and more.

Please don’t cut our budget. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


Edy Vasquez

Edy with the message:
Adult Education Matters!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Letter to Legislators: Keep Adult Ed Funding Strong and Stable!

My personal letter to legislators:

April 26, 2020

Re:  Stable Funding for Adult Education

Dear Legislator,                 

I’m a veteran ESL Teacher at San Mateo Adult School, former union officer in our local CFT 4681, and a representative on the CFT Adult Ed Committee.  I’m a member of CCAE - the California Council for Adult Education.  I author the Adult Education Matters blog. I work with other advocates around the state to reveal the secret that Adult Ed is the hidden gem of California.

I am writing to you about the possibility that Adult Education may once again see horrific cuts - and what a disaster that would be for California.

We know that the current pandemic is severely affecting the economy and will for a while.  We know the revised budget for California will need to be leaner and it necessarily be “meaner” in several difficult but necessary ways.  We know that the choices we make now will be long-lasting and will shape what comes after probably for decades - similar to decisions made during the Great Depression and World War II.  

That’s why I’m writing to ask you to ensure that funding for Adult Education remains STABLE. 

I am very concerned that where Adult Ed is concerned, there might be a repeat of what happened the last time we had a less severe economic downturn.  In 2008, when Wall Street crashed into Main Street, Governor Schwarzenneger flexed K12 Adult Ed funding so that K12 Districts could use it to survive their own cuts - forgetting that Adult Ed educates and supports the families and communities raising the kids the K12 districts serve.

This was disastrous on multiple levels.  Over 70 Adult Schools closed, all were cut, and Californians across the state lost access to ESL, Job Training, Citizenship, GED, High School Diploma Programs, Parent Education, Financial and Health Literacy, and Older Adults Programs.

When Governor Brown restructured Adult Education, he narrowed it to a more “workforce” focus, eliminating funding for Financial Literacy, Home Economics (Life Skills!), Parent Education, and Older Adults Programs, forgetting that ending free Financial LIteracy programs right after a housing meltdown in which thousands of Californians lost their homes was not a wise idea and that life skills are crucial to community health (See: Problems with Pandemics), and that Parent Education and Older Adults programs support healthy communities which raise healthy kids, lower medical costs, and boost community contributions.

What will happen now?  What rationalization might be used to eliminate Adult Ed funding or narrow the focus even more?
We know - already - that this pandemic is going to reshape our culture, state, and economy in deep and long-lasting ways.  We need to think carefully about what we fund and why as we work our way out of it and into a post-pandemic California. 

We need low-cost programs that encourage physical, mental, economic, family, community, and civic health ---- THAT’S ADULT EDUCATION!

Some industries - such as the restaurant and entertainment industries - will be deeply impacted for a while. Those Californians who were working in these jobs will need free or low-cost, short-term job training in new fields ---- THAT’S ADULT EDUCATION!

We need Californians to be able to support their kids in school - including understanding how to help them navigate a new world of remote learning, make community contributions, and engage in civic matters - THAT’S ADULT EDUCATION!

We need every California to have free or low-cost, easy access to the education they need to move out of this difficult crisis and into a recovery that serves and lifts everyone - THAT’S ADULT EDUCATION!

Adult Education is part of the COVID Recovery Team!

But if it’s defunded?  It can’t play its important role on that team - the community base, turn on a dime, low cost member who is always there in a crunch and a crisis to help the team win the game.

PLEASE do everything you can to ensure Adult Education remains funded at the amount it is now. 

Connect with other legislators.  Jose Medina and Kevein McCarthy in the Assembly are folks who know and understand - from lived experience - the value of Adult Ed.  


Cynthia Eagleton

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Adult Ed Week 2020: K12 Adult Ed is on the COVID Recovery Team and Needs Stable Funding to Do That Work!

April 20 to 24 is  Adult Ed Week 2020 - but not the way we thought it would be.

Many of us were revving up to attend CCAE Leg Day followed by the CCAE State Conference in Sacramento.  We were going to push again on the 110 million ask for Adult Ed Funding.  (Remember - Adult Ed has been under-funded for over ten years!)

SMAS Teacher Jessica
Wearing her Red for Adult Ed
and a facial covering
fto #BeatCOVID
Then COVID happened.

Does Adult Ed still matter?  Do K12 Adult Schools have a special role to play in the COVID Recovery process?

Will English language skills, job skills, health literacy, citizenship, GED and high school diplomas, make a positive difference as we navigate and recover from this crisis?

We know the answer is YES!   Adult Education Matters!  Now more than ever!  

Do crises sometimes mean disaster for K12 Adult Schools?

This is a critical point and one that needs to be remembered as we talk to our legislators about the importance of Adult Education, especially as we move through this crisis and into what we expect to be rough financial times ahead.  As communicated very clearly from the Governor and our Legislature, there are difficult financial decisions ahead. The last time we faced a similar situation Adult Education experienced the effect of local flexibility, and the Adult Education system statewide was almost dismantled in its entirety. The Department of Finance and legislators openly admitted after that this was a mistake in policy.

K12 Adult Ed as a means to COVID Recovery needs to be

in the public mind and discourse.
in Legislative mind and discourse
in Governor and Dept of Finance mind and discourse

Adult Ed Week is all about that - So how can we make that happen while we shelter at home?

Here's how:

1. Dialogue with your students
  • Ask your students how and why Adult Ed is especially important now as we cope with this crisis
  • Ask them how they plan to rely on it as we work to recover from the crisis
  • Provide your students with info about the situation
    • Adult ed underfunded
    • State budget needs to be rewritten because of COVID
    • We need make sure the Governor and Legislator knows Adult Ed Matters  
2.  Social Media
  • This week, take photos of yourself wearing #Red4AdultEd
  • Ask your students to do the same
  • If you're zooming, with student permission, grab a screen print of you and your students wearing Red for Adult Ed - maybe holding up signs saying Adult Education Matters
  • Share the photos on social media with hashtags and stats and stories about Adult Ed
  • Post stories old or new that showcase the value of Adult Ed - especially now when we are facing a Recession/Depression situation.
3.  Emails and letters - click here for help from CCAE
  • Write your State Senator, Assembly Member, and the Governor about Adult Ed Funding - and mention K12 Adult Ed specifically
  • Letters on paper have more impact than emails
  • Phone calls are super fantastic - call and ask to talk to the aide in charge of education
  • If you make a phone call, dialogue with the aide you speak with - ask them what their Member plans on pushing for in this new budget, what their priorities are, what their questions about the role of Adult Ed might be

4. Join CCAE   
  • CCAE is the only organization specifically devoted to K12 Adult Ed - and remember, K12 Adult Ed gets the worst cuts - much worse than CC Adult Ed
  • This week they are having a webinar - Legislative Advocacy Reimagined  - sign up for it!
  • If your register for the webinar, you can watch it later, at your convenience

5.  If you work at a school with a union, join the union if you're not a member, and get involved if you are!
  • San Mateo Adult School has done great things for Adult Ed through CFT Local 4681
  • Unions are doing a lot right now to to help educators, students, and families cope with this crisis
  • Be part of that good work and have a stronger voice in advocacy for K12 Adult Ed, by joining the union and being active in it

6.  Take action - take a photo, write a letter, reach out to your networks

* Celebrate and advocate through photos, stories, letters, emails, and calls. 

* Talk with your students
     * Ask them for feedback on how Adult Ed is helping them cope with this crisis 
     * Ask them how it can help them recover as the pandemic recedes 
     * Ask them what they need from Adult Ed now and in future to survive, take care of their families, and navigate the economic fallout from this crisis

* Join CCAE and/or your union and get involved in advocacy.

* Share why Adult Ed Matters with your network of friends and family.

Remember, failure to take action can lead to a crisis -- and wise action can help us recover. 

Take wise action!


Because #AdultEducationMatters!