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  

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