Assembly education leaders support dedicated funding for adult ed



Gov. Jerry Brown’s call to create regional consortia of school districts and community colleges to administer adult education programs starting in 2015-16 is meeting resistance from education leaders in the Assembly.

The plan unveiled in his May revise budget proposal would provide no dedicated funding for adult education until 2015-16, when $500 million would be allocated, including $350 million set aside for existing programs.

“I don’t believe the May Revise addresses the viability of adult education in California,” said Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, chair of the Assembly subcommittee on education. “We need to do that. We need to have dedicated funding for the next two years.” Bonilla added that while discussions between school districts and community colleges on the future of adult education should be encouraged, “there’s no reason to rush to prescribing action in this year’s budget.”

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-San Ramon, chair of the Assembly Education Committee, said what Brown “is really saying is that we will have the status quo for two more years while districts and community colleges figure out what to do.” However, this approach is better than Brown’s original budget proposal, which shifted responsibility for all adult ed to community colleges, she said. But neither school districts, which focus on K-12 students, nor community colleges, which teach higher-level skills, have adult education students as part of their mandate unless there is dedicated funding for the programs, she said. “I think adult education advocates should worried.”

Adult education programs offer English as a Second Language, basic reading and math, high school diploma and GED, and career-technical courses. Before 2009, the state provided dedicated funding for these programs. When state funding for schools was cut in 2009 because of the recession, districts were allowed to use adult ed funds for any educational purpose, eroding or ending adult schools throughout California.

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4 Responses to “Assembly education leaders support dedicated funding for adult ed”

  1. Cynthia Eagleton said

    on May 20, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Thanks for this article! Please include the fact that Adult Education also includes Parent Education and Older Adults classes. This is especially important now because Brown’s May Revise specifically excludes them from the new funding. AE also includes Family Literacy and Adults with Disabilities.

    Every time an article fails to mention these programs – and it happens about 90% of the time, it makes it that much easier for them to be silently – and tragically – eliminated. Brown’s May Revise does not cite how these programs would be replaced. And especially with Boomers aging over into retirement, that is odd. We will have many many many seniors who will need these classes. Healthy seniors save the State money and add to the state’s wealth, as well, financially and otherwise.

    COSAS just put out an excellent analysis of the May Revise: http://saveouradultschool.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/improving-governor-browns-may-revise-plans-for-adult-schools/

    Thank you again, for covering this important subject.

  2. Jorge said

    on May 22, 2013 at 6:35 am

    It’s very unfortunate that the article failed to mention that Community Colleges also offer Basic Skills courses such as ESL, HS, GED Prep, Parenting, Older Adults, and Adults with Disabilities. Mandating a partnership between AE & CC is long over due, in my opinion.

    • Cynthia Eagleton replied

      on May 22, 2013 at 9:23 am

      @ Jorge, many of us are trying to build connections between CC non-credit and K12 Adult Schools. Alliance for California Adult Schools a4cas.blogspot.com and myself, among them. Please see my “Unity in Red” post on the Adult Education Matters blog: http://adulteducationmatters.blogspot.com/2013/05/tuesday-may-14th-lets-show-who-we-are.html

      Many of us at San Mateo Adult School have been trying for months to forge connections. It helps that Bruce Neuberger works both at our K12 Adult School and at CCSF.

      Maxine Einhorn of KQED ESL Insights held a panel discussion at CATESOL a few weeks ago to encourage conversation and connection as well. A working group is going to come out of this. If you’re interested, you can give me a call at San Mateo Adult School and I will put you on the email list. I don’t want to publish my email here because of spambots.

      One thing that is important to note: K12 Adult Schools have taken hits in a way that CC non-credit haven’t. CC non-credit has not been specifically target, closed, put at risk through flexibility, and otherwise destroyed in the last 4 years. In many ways, CC noncredit was able to “take shelter” because they were and are part of the CC system. Now, especially at places like CCSF which faces other challenges (accreditation mess), that is changing.

      I think all AE programs are part of a family. And a family that should work together.

      But I also think it’s like a family where many of the children were put locked in the basement and abused for nearly 5 years. At last, the door to the basement has been unlocked and we, the survivors, are staggering upstairs, blinking in the sunlight. Many of us didn’t make it. Of those that did, all endured great loss.

      Please recognize that. I have yet to hear what could be termed “condolences” for our losses. More any other branch of public education, CC non-credit should “get” who we serve and what we do, because we serve the same people.

      Yet… I don’t see the solidarity. I don’t her the outrage. I don’t see the emails, FB posts. I don’t see or hear or feel the support.

      I stood up for CCSF on the AEM blog. I posted about their challenges. SMAS faculty came to their rallies.

      But I have yet to see a CC non-credit person at a rally for a K12 Adult School program.

      FYI, La Escuelita Family Literacy, one of the last remaining bits of Oakland Adult School, which once served over 20,000 people, all of whom still need those services, faces closure this evening. You can read more about La Escuelita, what they’re doing and what they face there: http://classroomstruggle.org/2013/05/13/adult-ed-students-fight-back-defending-current-classes-and-demanding-more/

      Please support them.

  3. Cynthia Eagleton said

    on May 22, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Here’s the AEM post on La Escuelita:

    http://adulteducationmatters.blogspot.com/2013/05/la-escuelita-little-engine-that-could.html

    Check out the data on English Learners in Oakland.

    Oakland needs a working Adult School!

    And FYI, Laney does not have a non-credit program. Right now, volunteer agencies are being flooded by people who once attended OAS. These volunteer agencies do not have the resources to help them.

    La Escuelita and a few other classes are the little acorn of a once mighty oak, felled by a banking and housing crisis not of its making,and poor and/or desperate choices by both local and state leaders.

    Designated Funding for Adult Education, in particular for the once large and still existent K12 Adult School system, could help it rebuild.

    On so, so many levels, that’s important to make happen.

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