Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekly Update 4/28/13

The CCAE conference facilitated making new connections and collaborating with other activists.  We’re able to communicate and gather online to share our stories and resources.  Cynthia's Adult Education Matters blog provided valuable information and insightful commentary for those who were unable to attend.   The letters posted from San Mateo adult school students to Assemblyman Ting shed light on the impact and value of adult ed in California.  In addition, they illustrate that adult schools already have programs, such as ALLIES, working in coordination with community colleges (one of the recommendations in the LAO Report on Restructuring Adult Education).

Also this week, Governor Brown announced that his school funding reform was “a matter of civil rights”.  This prompted a response from Senator Kevin DeLeon (D-Los Angeles) who “made a point to ‘welcome the governor to the table’ on the education discussion but noted ‘none of us has a monopoly on talking about civil rights,’ a direct response to Brown’s characterization of his plan as a matter of social justice."

Cynthia Eagleton wrote an open letter to Governor Brown, asking him to “recognize that Adult Education as delivered through the K12 system is the only branch of public education that meets people exactly as they are, wherever they are, throughout this state.  In deserts, in mountains, on the coast, in the valleys... Adult Education provides accessible programs which empower people to communicate in English, work, parent, vote, and share the best of themselves with their families, their communities, and this state.”

And... two new A4CAS videos this week:

The granola quote from Governor Brown provided a revealing glimpse of what we’re up against.  There’s been a constant flow of articles about Jerry Brown recently that depict him as a hero (“The Second Coming”). The articles about adult education are few and far between and rarely connect us to the larger story of public education reform.  We need to assert ourselves to be viewed as an integral part of the California public education system.  We were certainly viewed as such when we stood side by side with ALL public education teachers to ensure the passage of Proposition 30.

How do we gain the support of K-12 teachers?  The unions should be able to provide us access by highlighting our activism in their publications.  CFT is my union and I’ve asked for more coverage of the various grassroots efforts to raise awareness of the threat posed by Governor Brown’s proposal for adult ed.  DESIGNATED FUNDING is what we need.  More signatures on the Rebuild Adult Ed petition will make our collective voice heard loudly and clearly. One great option is to print out the petition to obtain more signatures.  Our unions should support our efforts.  Please contact your local union representatives and ask for coverage in newsletters to get the word to K-12 teachers.  It’s surprising how many people are unaware of the adult school closures.

Tomorrow Azusa Adult School will present their petition to their school board.  Please sign and share their petition to show that we stand united -- we won’t allow adult schools to fall like dominoes all over the state.  West Contra Costa Adult Education spoke up at their school board meeting last Wednesday, showing that activism makes all the difference.

Please email any photos you would like to share (knowing that they may end up in a video). Let us know if you're interested in helping A4CAS (making phone calls, etc.). We can use all the help we can get! Our email address is

Have a great week!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weekly Update 4/21/13

The CCAE Conference this week was the place to be.  I was unable to attend, but those who were there have shared some of the highlights:

Students are speaking up and actively leading the effort to rebuild adult education in our state.   “We want a dedicated funding stream for adult education and we want to be a part of the negotiations.” (Juan Noguera, ESL teacher at Evans Adult School in L.A.)

Our voices are being heard.  Collectively, we can work to regain what has been lost over the past five years and ensure our future.

Have a great week!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekly Update 4/14/13


from Marty Lish:

Montgomery Adult School will be closed next school year when our SUHSD will use $4.3 Million of the $12.4 that is received for Adult Education on other "district priorities." We appealed to the board of Education not to make these cuts, but they voted 3 to 5 [with one abstention interpreted as a yes vote] to support the Superintendent's recommendations. We will lose an adult school; about 100 temporary and part-time teachers will lose their jobs; and about 7500 students will lose classes. Also, SUHSD will begin charging over 100% more for the registration fees, and all of the parenting and senior activity classes will be on charged the cost of providing them. All of this, to save less than 1% of our district's budget.

The plan according to sources [because very little is presented publicly by SUHSD] is to 
tear down all of the buildings to build a charter elementary school. SUHSD just invested $1.1 million in bond money to make infrastructure improvements in 2007. I think that this is not the best use of our districts' funds, but those that agree with me are a minority on our local school board. 3 of the 5 SUHSD Board Members have been indicted on charges of corruption, but they won't go to court until February of next year. I believe that there is a good chance we will be looking for new board members that will better represent the minority population we serve, but it will probably be too late to save our adult school.

THERE IS SOME HOPE!! We are hoping that Dr. Brand and the SUHSD board will reconsider this decision to close our adult school if we can secure additional funding from the state. However, we may be considered optimistic. We hope to appeal to the SUHSD board one more time to promise to keep us open if we get additional funding. However, UNLESS WE DESIGNATE ALL FUNDING FOR ADULT EDUCATION, THE DISTRICTS LIKE OURS WILL JUST TAKE MORE OF THE UNDESIGNATED FUNDING LEAVING US WITH LESS THAN WE STARTED WITH THIS YEAR.

We really need to get all of our adult school funding designated or at least 1/2 of our efforts to rebuild adult education will never be accomplished. I think that you can see how any and all undesignated funding will be absorbed by the school and/or community college districts. We are not the most popular program. We teach the adults that dropped out and can't go to college for one reason or another. The residency requirement at our local community college is 2 years minimum. Many of our students haven't been in the country that long, and they are a transient population at best. The local school boards are not afraid of losing their votes, they have shown us as much by ignoring our appeals. The board members want to do what's popular and building charter schools for children is more popular than educating adults in their experience. THUS, Adult schools will be lost to the tyranny of majority opinion if Governor Brown's plan to give more control to local school boards becomes law. THAT IS MY MAJOR CONCERN WITH THE CURRENT DIRECTION OF GOVERNOR BROWN'S EDUCATION BUDGET PLAN.


We will lose 1 of our 4 adult schools, but Vista Unified will eliminate all adult education for next year, and lay-off 80 permanent teachers. We will see more adult school closures as a result of the 'shift' of funding and responsibility for adult education proposed by Governor Brown.

Three of the five SUHSD board member are facing 200-400 counts of fraud, corruption and lying to authorities.  They will need $3 million for their criminal defense, which the district is legally obligated to pay.  One of the current board members has already been re-elected while being indicted.


“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”   - Elie Wiesel

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Rising Sea (update on the Rebuild K12 Adult Ed petition by Cynthia Eagleton)``

Here’s the latest:

First, over 3000 people have signed the petition. 

3000 people have stood up said Adult Education Matters! Keep the K12 adult schools open!  Give Adult Ed a Designated Funding Stream!  Rebuild and renew Adult Ed!

Adult Ed – having it or not having it – affects the whole state.  It’s not about how many people take an Adult School class. It’s about the entire state being held up and supported by everyone – by immigrants, job hunters, seniors, parents, young adults, and the disabled.  You know people like that, right?  You might even be one of those people!  Or more than one!

When one part of our group suffers, we all suffer.   It’s a nice fantasy that sending a small part of our group to the University of California will fix everything but guess what?  That doesn’t work.  If it did then things would be really great in places where just a small percentage of the people have a lot of education and everyone else doesn’t.  Actually, what happens then is usually pretty awful.  Sometimes the people with a lot of education use their skills to keep the other people in bad situations, often while serving the needs of the people with a lot of education.  I think they call that oppression.  

What works is raising the level of water in the tub. Everybody’s boat floats.  Some of us build new boats or invent amazing ways to manage water flow or write songs about sailing at sunset.   Those people are celebrated and we pay them extra for doing such cool things.  And life is pretty much okay.

So what am I saying here?

I’m saying we’re all in this together.  This is an issue that affects millions.  I hope that at least thousands more people will sign and share the petition and here’s why:

Some folks at Sweetwater, south of San Diego, made this cool video, and then guess what?
Their school closed.  That’s right.  All in the same week!

You remember the good news from the last update:  The Assembly Subcommittee voted No on Gov. Brown’s plan.

Yesterday the Senate Subcommittee met.  They decided to wait and not vote yes or no for now.  They will wait for Gov. Brown’s May Revise .  You can read more about that in this Edsource article.

 (The May Revise is when the Governor tweaks his Budget Plan.  It works this way:  The Governor announces a budget plan.  The Legislature looks it over.   People – you and me and everybody - can give their opinions.  The Governor tweaks it and presents version two – the May Revise.  Then the Legislature votes on it.  The deadline is July but sometimes they don’t make their deadline.  The fiscal year – the money New Year’s – starts in July.  Usually there is a lot of arguing. And then a vote.  Things change.  And repeat.)

I think you can read that a couple of different ways.  It’s good the Senate Subcommittee didn’t vote yes on his plan.  It’s bad they didn’t vote no.

More and more people are saying Governor Brown's proposal for adult ed is not good.

But meanwhile, schools are still closing.

Not good.

But, as I wrote on the AEM blog (, we’re still inside the chrysalis.

We’re in process.  We’re not done.

There is time – and we must use this time – to tell Governor Brown and the Legislature what we think, what we want, what matters to us, the people of California.

I thought long and hard this week about what to write in this update.

Some part of me is deeply sad about the continued closings. Some part of me is angry that Seniors and Parents and the Disabled are not even mentioned in the Governor’s plan.  What is he thinking?!

(Can I just stop and tell you a story?  Can I tell you how I know what my mom’s sugar and cholesterol numbers are?  It’s not by asking her for them.  I know what her numbers are by this question, “Mom, have you been going to your exercise class?”  When my mom goes to class, her numbers go down. When she doesn’t, her numbers go up.  And who do you think pays for my mom’s diabetes and cholesterol and other medications?  More or less, us.  Because my mom, like millions of Californians, is a senior.  As more and more and more of us will be.  That’s right, I’m waiting for that big investigative piece on the connection between cutting and ending the Older Adults programs and rising costs in health care.   Gov. Brown is a senior.  I’m pretty sure he exercises. But I don’t think he exercises through an Older Adults class. However, for many seniors, that is their way and their motivation and their support on so many levels.  It breaks my heart that Gov. Brown can’t see himself in people like my mom.  They’re only four years apart in age.  But a million miles apart in perspective.)

Back to that water in the tub…

Here’s the thing.

Really, this is not about supporting some “other” people who need help.  Some “poor immigrants” or “poor old person” or “poor high school drop-out” or “poor single mom" or "poor" anything. 

Framing it that way, it becomes all about whether we – I think that has to become the royal we – can afford to share some of our precious gold with the poor folks.

That’s not how it really is.

We are California.

We are the water.

We are the gold.

We are makes this state so great and so golden.  So rich and so valuable. 

We are its greatest natural resource.

And not taking care of ourselves.  Not making sure we are healthy and educated and thriving is kind of like poisoning ourselves.  

It doesn’t make any sense.

The money that the Governor and the Legislature must decide how to spend (that’s their job, by the way, no complaint there) – that’s our money. 

That we earned.

That we voted to spend on education.

We're not poor!    

There are limits to that money.  Sure.  Absoulutely.  I’m down with the fiscal conservatism.  That’s why I home doctor my cat’s bullet holes.  (Please read the blog post before you judge me!)

But we have to think about what really makes the level of our sea rise.

The one that floats our boats.

And I say it’s us.

It’s our own power, beauty, smarts, experience, hard work, and essential value as mysterious, creative, ever-changing and full of new ideas and solutions human beings.

We are the rising sea.

And we make that sea rise by knowing our value, speaking up about it, and taking care of ourselves.

In this case, by making sure we have a strong and high functioning Adult Education system.

Please, please, please tell more folks about this petition.

I do believe it is making a difference.

The Governor and the State Legislature are in office to hear and serve us.

If we don’t speak… if we don’t do our job… they can’t listen and do theirs.

How well they do or don’t do their job, that’s another story. Feel free to argue amongst yourselves.

But if we don’t do our job, we have no right to complain about theirs.

I know, I’m preaching to the converted.  I do that a lot.

Just ask my cat.

Thanks so, so much for speaking up and signing this petition.

Please tell others about it and ask them to sign and share it, too.

I don’t have an ending date as yet.  I’m waiting on a better understanding of right timing.

The caterpillar isn’t a butterfly yet.  I think we still have and need time.

But if we want to save Adult Ed and to rebuild it, we must act.

To that end, and especially those of you who work or take classes in Adult Ed, I urge you to check out A4CAS - the Alliance for California Adult Schools.   

In appreciation of the deep value of who and what we are, I close with a sincere


This is how amazing we are:   

Rise from the Ashes


Not for Sissies  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Thank you San Mateo Adult School for great PPT to share!

Click the link to view PPT presentation:

PowerPoint Presentation to explain the need for designated funding & encourage people to sign the Rebuild K-12 Adult Ed Petition

Three articles this morning on public education in California

How does adult ed fit into the big picture?

Call Senator Block on Wednesday

Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance (3/19)
Numerous concerns were laid out in the committee's staff analysis of the issue, including:
  • The amount of funding may not be appropriate and does not address the adult education needs
  • It is unclear if community colleges could or would offer the same type of adult education programs currently offered in the K-12 system
  • The proposal lacks clarity on how community colleges would contract with K-12 adult schools
  • The proposal does not include any reporting or data requirements
In addition to these concerns, education stakeholders testified that if adult education is shifted to community colleges, access would become both a physical and psychological barrier to adults who would transition from classes at a K-12 school site to a college campus. Concerns were also raised that the demand for citizenship classes will boom with immigration reform and that community colleges would not be prepared. Members of the public encouraged the Assembly Budget Subcommittee to build upon the existing bifurcated system and strengthen the collaboration between K-12 and community college districts. 


Tell him to keep K-12 adult ed where it is and provide designated funding for adult keep districts from cutting adult ed


Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 4090
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4039
San Diego District Office
701 B Street, Suite 1840
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 645-3133

K-12 Adult Education is

Keeping the cost down
12 months a year
All across the state
Doing good for over 150 years
Under local control
Lifting parents, seniors, job seekers, immigrants, youth
Telling us, showing us:
               You matter.  You count.

Adult Education Matters.

Maintain and rebuild the K-12 Adult Schools.

Provide Designated Funding for all Adult Education programs - both K-12 and Community College.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Weekly Update 4/8/13

This past week has been one of discovery.  More people are finding A4CAS online and we’ve become aware of more groups advocating on behalf of adult schools all over the state.  A student named Florecita Bogan at Vista Adult School obtained six hundred signatures on their petition.  It’s always a relief to find one another and realize that our movement to save our adult schools is the same regardless of our geographic location.  Adult school teachers know the value of what we do.  If you ask community members, they also appreciate what we do.  We know that what happens in our classrooms must be preserved.  One has only to read CDE’s Linking Adults to Opportunity, especially the section titled, “The Return on Investment in Adult Education” (page 8) to have ample research-based proof that adult education matters to all Californians.  It impacts every segment of our society.

One group that hasn't received much attention is senior citizens.  The adult school classes for seniors were some of the first to be cut when funds started being swept by our K-12 districts.  When we talk about rebuilding, it’s important to include older adults in the conversation.  One teacher who illustrates the dedication of adult school teachers is Mike Lepore of Claremont Adult School.  On April 7, 2011, he sent a letter to the board members of his district, the second time they considered terminating the classes:

For the past fourteen months, the evening Circuit and Resistance Training, (Exercise & Fitness), classes of the Claremont Adult Education, have engaged in a range of activities in an attempt to support the continuation of these classes. These actions have included:

• The payment of fluctuating fees, (classes were state-supported prior to this time).
• Holding a fundraising yard sale,
• Soliciting tax-deductible sponsorship donations,
• Facilitating the acquisition and utilization of  cardiovascular equipment donated by The Claremont Club
• Voluntarily welding, repairing and replacing equipment
• Working with the Claremont H.S. Video Production class on an informational video
• Attending and speaking at a school board meeting

The classes are composed primarily of senior citizens and baby boomers, many of whom live on fixed incomes or have recently been downsized. The instructor for the classes is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist, along with holding NSCA and NASM-CPTs, and certification in Functional Movement Assessment, and has over 30 years of experience in the field.  Programs are individualized to meet the diverse needs of the student population, addressing a wide range issues such as obesity, type II diabetes, joint replacement, sarcopenia, osteopenia, and osteoporosis, fitness and conditioning and sport - specific training. Approximately fifteen years ago, the state of California recognized these classes as applied public health classes, and funded them relative to class attendance.  In the wake of multiple budget cuts over the last several years, California has reduced its funding, and now sends it under a discretionary umbrella.

Mike Lepore has worked tirelessly to provide seniors in his community with the classes that are vital to their health.

  • InterValley has supported the classes for the last three years. The total amount they have contributed to date has been $3,500.00. A student in Mike’s Circuit Training class named Mark Levine works with CEOs of non-profits, (Habitat for Humanity,among others), on designing fundraising projects. Mark contacted Marcia Lerner at IVHP, and invited her to come observe the class. She observed the class, liked what she saw, and convinced the IVHP board to support them.
  • The local Kiwanis club made a one time donation of $1,000.00 three years ago
  • Class members have organized and held two yard sales, raising a little over $3,000.00.
  • Twice several of class members wrote the school board, and spoke at board meetings, when termination was being considered.
  • Mike met with Steve Boyd at the district office and they settled on $5.00 a week as a reasonable fee for the class.. The money is in an account titled Resistance Training Sponsorship Fund. To date some of the funds have been used on several occasions to pay for additional weeks of class. Consistency is an important variable enhancing the benefits of exercise, and the revised schedule sometimes includes 6 or 7 week breaks, so funds have been used to expand the availability of the classes. Any ongoing student for whom the $5.00 weekly fee poses a hardship is covered with Sponsorship Fund money.
  • Mark and Mike have sought a meeting with their Congresswoman Judy Chu in order to inform her of their circumstances.

Randomized clinical trials have demonstrated that increased exercise participation and improved lifestyle behavior in areas such as dietary intake are more effective at managing diabetes risk and clinical depression than standard pharmacotherapy.
Appropriately designed exercise programs addressing chronic diseases and disabilities have the potential to impact a large segment of the population. “An estimated 90 million Americans are currently living with a chronic health condition and this figure is projected to rise sharply in the years to come as a result of the rapidly expanding older population subgroup.”

“… the direct medical costs of caring for individuals with chronic diseases accounted for more than 75% of the nation’s $2 trillion medical budget in 2005.”
“ Until such time that physicians, practitioners, and employers more readily embrace the idea that physical inactivity is a key antecedent to most chronic diseases and disablements and thus should be a cornerstone of targeted intervention, there will be little impact on controlling or reducing medical costs associated with chronic disease.”
“ Higher levels of muscular fitness are associated with significantly better risk factor profiles, lower risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events, improvements in bone density and articular tissue strength, and lower risk of developing functional limitations and non-fatal disease.”
The level of muscular fitness seems to have additional relevance for seniors. “ In one study, greater muscular strength was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality risk, even after overall exercise levels and comorbid conditions were accounted for.”

The final assertion drawn from the ACSM pertains specifically to the issues frequently associated with frailty in elderly individuals.”Physical activity appears to be of critical importance for delaying the metabolic and inflammatory disorders associated with aging, such as sarcopenia and osteoarthritis. In older populations, physical activity improves muscle strength, endurance, and maximal aerobic power. Flexibility, balance, motor control, and coordination are also improved, resulting in decreased risk of falling while enhancing mobility. Exercise has also been shown to prevent or delay cognitive impairment while increasing socialization and self-esteem. These benefits improve functional limitations and have important implications for maintaining or promoting independence in daily living activities.”

Numerous studies have shown that resistance training can increase muscle mass and strength in persons who are elderly. In addition, the training can result in significant improvements in muscle function and also general motor performance  such as walking and stair climbing.

In older adults (50 and above), resistance training has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and lower the probability of premature all-cause mortality.

  • Risk of cardiovascular disease is lowered through the reduction of body fat through regular exercise. This is also a major preventive factor for type II diabetes.
  • Resistance Training’s positive impact on resting metabolic rate, may have a greater effect on fat loss than aerobic activity.
  • Resistance training decreases resting blood pressure
  • Resistance training improves blood lipid profiles
  • Resistance training enhances vascular condition facilitating circulation and arterial blood flow.
  • Beneficial cardiovascular adaptations from resistance exercise provide risk reduction for metabolic syndrome.
  • Resistance training speeds up gastrointestinal transit, slow transit is associated with increased risk of colon cancer.

Remember all that we’ve lost since the onset of flexibility.  We are making a difference by speaking up and insisting that our concerns be heard.  As James Gulli wrote, the human element  "always seems to be thrown from the bus during budget cuts" (3.14.13 letter to Rebecca Kimitch, SGV Tribune City Editor).  It’s our job to remind everyone of the importance of the human element.  To forget it is to be penny wise and pound foolish.  If we truly want California to make a comeback, we need to look at the long term and be careful not to let short-sightedness and a misguided proposal dictate reform that will have devastating long term effects on our state.

On Thursday we will find out if the Senate subcommittee agrees with the Assembly subcommittee on the issue of adult ed.  Take the time to contact these subcommittee members and tell them what you think of Governor Brown’s plan to shift the responsibility of all adult education to community colleges: (Senator Roderick D. Wright) (Senator Mark Wyland)

Please keep promoting the petitions and getting as many signatures as possible:

    Leg Day is almost here!  We are in the final days of the time period where input from citizens can make an impact on the decision makers.  It's important to note that these people work for us.  When we work together, we are powerful!

    Have a great week,