Friday, August 4, 2017

CCAE ~ Legislative Update (August 2017)


What's Next? Renewed Advocacy More Critical than Ever!
Heading into year three of the Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG), adult schools and community colleges continue to make strides in collaborating and serving adult students in need for basic skills, ESL, citizenship, short term career training, and more.  Unfortunately, however, that great work and the vital role adult schools play in the dual delivery system that is AEBG is not being sufficiently conveyed to the Legislature at the local level.  As such, it would seem that adult education is again slowly sinking back in to the background to be the best kept secret again in education.  This is problematic on many levels - particularly at a time when funding for adult schools is almost exclusively coming via AEBG and the resources aren't matching the needs in regions across the state.  The policy-makers need to know about K-12 adult education and the unique population we serve.
Further, as a result of the disconnected data and accountability systems between adult schools and our community college partners, three years in to AEBG we are having difficulty proving our successes.  The inability to document our success and account for the over $1.5 billion over the last few years is resulting in mounting tension in the Capitol at a time when the Legislature should be scrambling to further invest in the adult education system under AEBG.  Despite statewide adult education advocacy efforts this budget cycle, adult education was the only system that did not receive some semblance of a funding increase or COLA.  This is highly concerning, particularly as we see the needs increasing statewide, immigrant communities desperately in search of safe environments to access training, homelessness skyrocketing, and sectors like healthcare in desperate search of adults who have skill sets provided for as part of adult education's short-term career programming.  Support for adult education and AEBG should be a slam dunk and seen as a cost-effective, successful avenue by which to take advantage of pathways and opportunities to move adults in to postsecondary education and the workforce.  Instead, tensions are mounting and we're feeling like we are back on the brink of tough times.  
The good news - it's early and we're ramping up our advocacy efforts for the next year and budget cycle!  However, we cannot do it alone - we need you!
As we've discussed many times, success can be viewed in the context of a three legged stool - where grassroots advocacy, political engagement and lobbying come together is where success is found.  Over the past couple of months, the leadership of CCAE and CAEAA have put together an advocacy plan for FY 17-18 that will help promote adult education and specifically adult schools, paving the pathway for further investment in AEBG and better solidifying the critical dual delivery system that provides numerous on-ramps for adult students looking for pathways to postsecondary education and the workforce.  The plan (here) is comprehensive - utilizing strategies that touch each leg of the stool to help ensure success.  It will be a multi-faceted effort that will consist of state-based activities and those you will undertake at the local level.  While I can appreciate how much you all have on your plate already, but the lack of visibility is a problem which could mean disaster for adult education if left to fester unaddressed.  In this regard, your efforts at the local level will be a critical component of the success we all hope to achieve in the FY 18-19 budget cycle that will hopefully entail increased resources and a stronger AEBG dual delivery system.
So, what should you be doing now? 
First, all adult schools should revise/create a fact sheet (one-page, back and front is okay) that provides an overview of your adult school, programs offered, students served, career pathway information, partnerships, regional consortium identification, etc.  This needs to be completed by mid-September in preparation for state and local advocacy this fall.  Upon completion, each adult school should send a copy to CCAE and CAEAA and prepare to include it in future packets for local grassroots advocacy efforts.  See attached sample fact sheet, but feel free to develop something different that better suits your adult school.
Second, as we begin a new school year all adult schools should maintain some semblance of a list and/or headcount (can be informal) of students seeking services, but who were turned away due to capacity challenges as well as any information you may have about where/if they go somewhere else.  Certainly the Annual Plans to be turned in this month will contain these data about unmet need and it is critical this information be highlighted in our advocacy as well.  We've spoken at length the last couple of years about the fact that the current AEBG funding isn't sufficient to serve the needs; however, to date this has been merely anecdote.  Sure, we have population data and demographics that help speak to the needs not being served, but we need better information regarding who actually comes to the door but is turned away due to a lack of capacity.  If you are in an adult school that has spent your AEBG allocation and is turning away students because you cannot expand your capacity, your rough data on students turned away is critically important to receive. 
Additionally as you know, this year we attempted to obtain a COLA to provide some meager funding cushion for adult schools whose costs have increased but AEBG allocation has not.  We fully understand the rising costs will ultimately impact access and capacity at adult schools who may have - and some who already have - to ultimately cut classes in order to remain within budget.  Unfortunately, we've been chastised for asking for more resources when not all consortia have spent the allocation they've received.  In this regard, we ask that you provide insight to CCAE and CAEAA about whether you've spent all of your AEBG allocation to date and why you've not if that is the case.  Additionally, we need to know if you and those in your consortia have not spent the allocated AEBG resources, do you have a plan to spend it down in this budget year?  Although each consortium reports what they have not spent, we need to know more specifically about what K-12 adult schools are doing and what they might need.  Without being able to better understand what is really happening in the field and why some consortia and/or members are not spending their allocation, we cannot adequately respond to the criticism so as to help those who are spending their allocations to maximize access and programming for as many students as possible. 
Finally, in the next two months, we ask that you do the following simple things:
-       All students, classified staff, teachers and administrators sign up for their local elected Senator's and Assemblymember's electronic newsletter.  You merely go to the following site, enter your home address, click on the members' links and sign up for their newsletters on their websites.  These newsletters will provide information about what is going on in the district, including office and sidewalk hours when anyone from their district is welcome to drop in to say hello and get to know the member.
-       Identify and collect logos and names of your key partners (i.e. Board of Supervisors, school board members, community based organizations, workforce development boards, etc.).  Include the list in an attachment to your adult school fact sheet and have them handy to use in upcoming letters, grassroots advocacy, etc.
-       If you meet with your elected officials, please let CCAE and CAEAA know by including the meeting and conversation information in the CCAE app under that legislator's tab. 
If all adult schools tackled these few items in the next two months, we would be well on our way to the next steps in our advocacy plan.  Your engagement and support is critical to paving the path forward for adult education to be a key component in the FY 18-19 budget next budget cycle. 
We hope you are up to the task of being a critical partner in this effort.  Ultimately, this is all focused on placing additional pressure to further support adult education in the Governor's January 2018 roll-out of the FY 18-19 budget package.  Later this fall, we'll be coming back to you with talking points, specific member meet-and-greet details, PR activities, letter writing campaigns, and much more.  Thank you in advance for your engagement - strength in numbers!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Call to Action for Public Education Advocates: Oppose House Bill 610

Betsy Devos has begun her catastrophic destruction of public schools.
Please call your US House Representative now and ask them to vote NO on House Bill 610 the Choices in Education Act. This bill will effectively start the defunding process of public schools, in hand with eliminating student rights and programs that address poverty, etc. It also takes away nutritional standards for school lunches.
The bill will eliminate the Elementary and Education Act of 1965, which is the nation's educational law and provides equal opportunity in education. ESSA is a big comprehensive program that covers programs for struggling learners, AP classes, ESL programs, programs for students of color including Native Americans; as well as Rural Education, Education for Students who are Homeless, School Safety (Gun-Free schools), Monitoring and Compliance and Federal Accountability for these and other Programs. The bill also abolishes the Nutritional Act of 2012 (No Hungry Kids Act) which provides nutritional standards and funding to states for in-school breakfast and lunch.
Some things ESSA does for Children with Disabilities:
-Ensures access to the general education curriculum
-Ensures access to needed accommodations ( e.g. larger print, additional time) on assessments
-Ensures use of principles of "Universal Design for Learning" in materials and instruction so that all have curriculum access and ability to learn
-Includes provisions that require school districts to use research-based instruction and curriculum in schools, especially with students who represent groups that have been consistently “underperforming" or underachieving.
-ESSA also requires that states write Title I (ESSA granted federal funds to assist students and schools in poverty) plans to address how they will improve conditions for learning including: reducing incidents of bullying and harassment in schools, reducing overuse of punitive discipline practices and reducing the use of aversive behavioral interventions (such as restraints and seclusion).
All of this goes away if ESSA does.
The bill also repeals the nutritional standards for school breakfast and lunches that include providing fruit, low fat milk, less fats, more whole grains, etc.
If you want to make calls but are nervous or unsure about what to say on the phone (for this or for any other issue,) you can always keep it simple and just state your name, your zip code, and then say "I am calling to oppose/support _________." In this case: "I'm calling to oppose House Bill 610, The Choices in Education Act, introduced in the house."

Click HERE for your U.S. REPRESENTATIVE's phone number.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

CALL TO ACTION! Request more funding for Adult Ed!

The governor is now in the process of constructing the budget for 2017-2018, and he needs to hear from Californians that adult schools must be more adequately funded.  Please write to Governor Brown and ask him to increase consortia funding  to at least  the 2008 level of $750 million.  It won’t be enough, but it will be a start.  Please contact your state legislators too, and let them know this is important to you.  They will need to approve the governor’s budget by June.

The governor’s budget comes out in mid-January.  It will be revised in May, and the legislature has to approve it in June.

Here is Governor Brown’s address:
Mailing address:
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

You can also email him from here:
Thank you for all that you’ve done and continue to do to support adult education in California.  Your effort to secure adequate funding, in combination with the effort of others, has tremendous weight.  This is how positive change happens --
when we speak up together for something of value to all.             

Links providing more information:

    Friday, November 11, 2016

    A Message from Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León and California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon


    SACRAMENTO – California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) released the following statement on the results of the President election:

    Today, we woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land, because yesterday Americans expressed their views on a pluralistic and democratic society that are clearly inconsistent with the values of the people of California.

    We have never been more proud to be Californians.

    By a margin in the millions, Californians overwhelmingly rejected politics fueled by resentment, bigotry, and misogyny.

    The largest state of the union and the strongest driver of our nation’s economy has shown it has its surest conscience as well.

    California is – and must always be – a refuge of justice and opportunity for people of all walks, talks, ages and aspirations – regardless of how you look, where you live, what language you speak, or who you love.

    California has long set an example for other states to follow. And California will defend its people and our progress. We are not going to allow one election to reverse generations of progress at the height of our historic diversity, scientific advancement, economic output, and sense of global responsibility.

    We will be reaching out to federal, state and local officials to evaluate how a Trump Presidency will potentially impact federal funding of ongoing state programs, job-creating investments reliant on foreign trade, and federal enforcement of laws affecting the rights of people living in our state. We will maximize the time during the presidential transition to defend our accomplishments using every tool at our disposal.

    While Donald Trump may have won the presidency, he hasn’t changed our values. America is greater than any one man or party. We will not be dragged back into the past. We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our Constitution.

    California was not a part of this nation when its history began, but we are clearly now the keeper of its future.

    Statement from California Legislative Leaders Pro Tem Senator De Leon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon:

    Hoy despertamos sintiéndonos extranjeros en tierra extraña, porque ayer los estadounidenses expresaron sus opiniones sobre una sociedad pluralista y democrática que es claramente inconsistente con los valores de la gente de California.

    Nunca nos hemos sentido más orgullosos de ser Californianos.

    Por un margen de millones de votos, los californianos rechazaron abrumadoramente la política alimentada por el resentimiento, la intolerancia y la misoginia.

    El estado más grande de la unión y la locomotora de la economía de nuestra nación ha demostrado que también tiene su conciencia más tranquila.

    California es - y debe ser siempre - un refugio de justicia y oportunidades para las personas de todos los orígenes, lenguas, edades, y aspiraciones - independientemente de su apariencia, dónde vivan, qué idioma hablen, o a quiénes amen.

    California, por mucho tiempo, ha sido un ejemplo a seguir para otros estados. Y California defenderá a su gente y nuestro progreso. No vamos a permitir que una elección sea un revés para el progreso de generaciones en la cima de nuestra histórica diversidad, el avance científico, la generación económica y un sentido de responsabilidad global.

    Estaremos comunicándonos con los funcionarios federales, estatales y locales para evaluar cómo una Presidencia Trump podría afectar potencialmente los fondos de programas estatales en curso, las inversiones creadoras de empleos que dependen del comercio exterior y la aplicación de las leyes federales que afectan los derechos de las personas que viven en nuestro estado.

    Estaremos utilizando al máximo el tiempo durante la transición presidencial para defender nuestros logros, usando cada herramienta a nuestra disposición.

    Aunque Donald Trump haya ganado la presidencia, no ha cambiado nuestros valores. Estados Unidos es más grande que cualquier hombre o partido. No seremos arrastrados de vuelta al pasado. Lideraremos la resistencia a cualquier esfuerzo que destruya nuestro tejido social o nuestra Constitución.

    California no era una parte de esta nación cuando comenzó su historia, pero ahora somos claramente los encargados de mantener su futuro.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2016

    State Assembly Education Committee

    The email contact links for Assembly Members won't work if you live outside the district they represent.  You can use the following format to contact a legislator outside your district:

    Here is the contact information for the Education Committee:

    Patrick O'Donnell (Chair)Dem - 70 Contact Assembly Member Patrick O'Donnell

    Capitol Office

    P.O. Box 942849, Room 4166, Sacramento, CA 94249-0070; (916) 319-2070
    Kristin Olsen (Vice Chair)Rep - 12

    Capitol Office

    P.O. Box 942849, Room 4144, Sacramento, CA 94249-0012; (916) 319-2012
    Young O. KimRep - 65 Contact Assembly Member Young O. Kim

    Capitol Office

    P.O. Box 942849, Room 4177, Sacramento, CA 94249-0065; (916) 319-2065
    Kevin McCartyDem - 7 Contact Assembly Member Kevin McCarty

    Capitol Office

    P.O. Box 942849, Room 2160, Sacramento, CA 94249-0007; (916) 319-2007
    Miguel SantiagoDem - 53 Contact Assembly Member Miguel Santiago

    Capitol Office

    P.O. Box 942849, Room 5119, Sacramento, CA 94249-0053; (916) 319-2053
    Tony ThurmondDem - 15 Contact Assembly Member Tony Thurmond

    Capitol Office

    P.O. Box 942849, Room 5150, Sacramento, CA 94249-0015; (916) 319-2015
    Shirley N. WeberDem - 79 Contact Assembly Member Shirley N. Weber

    Capitol Office

    P.O. Box 942849, Room 3123, Sacramento, CA 94249-0079; (916) 319-2079

    Thursday, December 17, 2015

    AEBG Regional Consortia 15-16 Allocations

    AB104 Adult Education Block Grant Regional Consortia 15-16 Allocations
    Regional Consortia  Total Allocation 
    ALLAN HANCOCK  $                                   1,061,700
    ANTELOPE VALLEY  $                                   1,506,388
    BARSTOW  $                                       750,000
    BUTTE-GLENN  $                                       906,520
    CABRILLO  $                                   1,011,251
    CERRITOS  $                                   1,707,599
    CHABOT-LAS POSITAS  $                                   2,148,821
    CHAFFEY  $                                   3,265,921
    CITRUS  $                                       750,000
    COAST  $                                   2,283,398
    COMPTON  $                                   1,539,365
    CONTRA COSTA  $                                   3,180,894
    COPPER MOUNTAIN  $                                       750,000
    DESERT  $                                   2,065,982
    EL CAMINO  $                                   2,215,272
    FEATHER RIVER  $                                       750,000
    FOOTHILL-DEANZA  $                                       996,060
    GAVILAN  $                                       750,000
    GLENDALE  $                                       985,475
    GROSSMONT-CUYAMACA  $                                   1,528,975
    HARTNELL  $                                   1,703,899
    IMPERIAL  $                                   1,028,678
    KERN  $                                   4,492,132
    LAKE TAHOE  $                                       750,000
    LASSEN  $                                       750,000
    LONG BEACH  $                                   2,152,527
    LOS ANGELES  $                                 28,377,759
    LOS RIOS  $                                   5,496,881
    MARIN  $                                       750,000
    MENDOCINO-LAKE  $                                       750,000
    MERCED  $                                   1,432,326
    MIRA COSTA  $                                   1,001,300
    MONTEREY  $                                       750,000
    MT. SAN ANTONIO  $                                   3,303,542
    MT. SAN JACINTO  $                                   2,796,294
    NAPA VALLEY  $                                       750,000
    NORTH ORANGE  $                                   3,545,110
    OHLONE  $                                       750,000
    PALO VERDE  $                                       750,000
    PALOMAR  $                                   2,502,639
    PASADENA  $                                   1,530,994
    PERALTA  $                                   2,612,493
    RANCHO SANTIAGO  $                                   3,079,153
    REDWOODS  $                                       750,000
    RIO HONDO  $                                   2,029,191
    RIVERSIDE  $                                   3,845,793
    SAN BERNARDINO  $                                   2,996,771
    SAN DIEGO  $                                   3,652,360
    SAN FRANCISCO  $                                   3,555,935
    SAN JOAQUIN DELTA  $                                   3,171,131
    SAN JOSE-EVERGREEN  $                                   3,432,027
    SAN LUIS OBISPO  $                                       790,322
    SAN MATEO  $                                   2,243,980
    SANTA BARBARA  $                                       750,000
    SANTA CLARITA  $                                       750,000
    SANTA MONICA  $                                       750,000
    SEQUOIAS  $                                   1,880,340
    SHASTA-TEHAMA-TRINITY  $                                       826,330
    SIERRA  $                                   1,142,567
    SISKIYOUS  $                                       750,000
    SOLANO  $                                   1,269,623
    SONOMA  $                                   1,589,949
    SOUTH ORANGE  $                                   2,147,410
    SOUTHWESTERN  $                                   1,910,648
    STATE CENTER  $                                   4,839,117
    VENTURA  $                                   2,941,356
    VICTOR VALLEY  $                                   1,420,428
    WEST HILLS  $                                       750,000
    WEST KERN  $                                       750,000
    WEST VALLEY-MISSION  $                                   1,143,815
    YOSEMITE  $                                   2,677,536
    YUBA  $                                   1,284,024
    Counties Outside Consortia  $                                       750,000
    Totals  $                              158,000,000


    Saturday, August 22, 2015

    Perspective: George Porter on Acalanes Adult School's "Older Adults Program"

    reposted from the Adult Education Matters Blog

    Saturday, August 22, 2015

    George Porter, a fourteen year veteran teacher of Older Adults classes at Berkeley Adult School, two term chair of the City of Berkeley's Aging Commission, and member of CCAE (California Council of Adult Education) and CFT (California Federation of Teachers), wrote this perspective piece in response to the news about Acalanes Adult School's survival and their Older Adult program.  (You can read the news report here.)


    Congrats to Acalanes Older Adult Ed. for surviving, but at what cost and should they be viewed as a model?

    First off, please bear in mind that Acalanes Adult Ed. is immediately adjacent to Rossmoor, a close to 10,000 strong, gated, 55+, "active senior" community. This is a highly regarded, award winning development that in years past provided an affordable option for middle-class retirees to relocate. That, though (to my understanding), has been changing rapidly. The City of Walnut Creek - where Rossmoor is located - has gentrified considerably since the development was first built and more recently well heeled baby-boomers looking for a "pied a terre" through the wanderings of early retirement have opted to settle in Rossmoor. This is raising prices to the point where the middle-class is now hard pressed to buy in. Add to this the fact that successful, upper-middle class children are looking for a "safe and comfortable place" to move their aging parents into and that the development fits that bill, it's clear the demographic of such places around California will steadily shift up the economic ladder.

    That's not to say that everyone who attends Acalanes Adult Ed. is from Rossmoor but it makes little difference in this case. Close to 27% of Walnut Creek's population is over 65 and, though not all are well off by a long shot, many are and can afford to take classes with fees at the "self-supporting" level. Though estimates vary, it's reasonable to assume the municipalities average home price is pushing $800k and the median household income around $120k - quite high for a community with over 1/4 of the population 65+ and the majority of that group presumably aged out of the workforce. Walnut Creek is also very "white" with only roughly 10% of the population identifying themselves as Hispanic of African-American.

    Put simply, if a self-supporting Older Adult program can make it anywhere in California, Acalanes Adult School is the place and I wish them well, just NOT as a model and even in that community I worry about those elders who have and will continue to fall through the cracks. Ms. Sownowski states in the Contra Costa Times article:

    "(when) We began the very difficult task of transitioning our lifelong education classes from being state-supported to fee-based... we had a lot of resistance from students because they were used to paying very low fees. We lost students and teachers, but we're happy that now we have a sustainable program."

    Her implication is that Acalanes Adult School lost students because they had the nasty expectation of paying low fees and couldn't break this. Doesn't it cross her mind that some might actually have decided they couldn't afford the higher cost? Does she have no understanding about what it means to be elderly and living on a fixed income? Does she have no idea how many seniors, though they put on a good show otherwise, are really only a major expenses or two away from having the modest, comfortable life they are trying to sustain crumble sending them spiraling downward? No idea that they aren't being cheap and stubborn, but cautious and frugal? Apparently not.

    As far as the teaching staff goes, I'm sure it wasn't just those who couldn't "make the cut" into the brave new self-supporting world that were lost, but those who saw that their teaching credentials and experience were in danger of becoming meaningless, that their position in the educational system was being "de-professionalized" and that their status as public school teacher would be reduced to that of an independent contractor taking his or her cut of what the market would bear. Older Adult programs lost some of their best teachers, teachers who understandably just couldn't economically or emotionally stay the course - if the Adult Education system as a whole has suffered through a terrible cold these last few years, the Older Adult programs have had pneumonia and this was not relieved but instead exacerbated by those further up the Administrative food-chain constantly sneaking into their sick room with the suffocating pillow in hand. A disheartening time for those involved which had the secondary effect of scaring off the younger instructors needed to take their place in the field.

    Again, despite all this, I wish Acalanes Adult Ed. well, but as a model...? If you want to ensure that the relatively healthy (the "active-senior") and wealthy remain that way as they age, it's very fine indeed and few of the wiser, better educated middle class and lower will benefit as well. But for the aging middle class in general that is struggling to get by now, whose numbers and tenuousness of position will increase dramatically over the years ahead and for those less well off it provides nothing. We need to do better if only for the fact that medical costs will rise proportionately to this neglect.

    Again, we must do better. The question is how. Subsidization? A sliding scale? Free classes but located at sites or in communities where those not so well off tend the congregate? The list goes on, but problem is too many in the Legislature as well as the Governor simply don't want to engage the issue, have put on blinders and are walking in lock-step towards the self-supporting model. Others in the Legislature aren't even aware there is an issue. Some have been duped into believing that these classes continue to be funded as they always have - there are many statements and articles in the press that fail to mention that this support now needs to come through the school districts' general fund. An unlikely event, especially in the poorer communities where the need is often the greatest!

    What to do? First off, make darned sure your representatives in the Legislature are aware of the issue and the FACTS surrounding it. From there, I'd like to know if any of you have ideas about how to solve the problem of making sure the needed educational resources provided by Older Adults programs is fairly distributed and don't eat up a disproportionate amount of the budget. Anybody got a plan?

    Let's work together for the common good,

    George Porter, 14 year faculty, Berkeley Adult School

    - Member of:

       COSAS (Communities Organized to Support Adult School)
       CCAE (California Council of Adult Education)
       Berkeley Federation of Teachers (affiliated with CFT, California Federation of Teachers)

    - 2-term chair, City of Berkeley's Commission on Aging