Friday, May 31, 2013

California Adult Schools & Social Media

Thank you, California Adult Education Insider for including us in your current issue!
please visit California Adult Schools for more info

Fight to Save Adult Ed Hits Social Media

Social media is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal. A new group has formed a presence on Facebook to help spread the message about saving Adult Education. This is just the beginning of a movement that could revolutionize our fight to keep these programs alive.

Social media has changed the way our world interacts and thinks about issues. It is time to engage these powerful tools in the fight to save California Adult Education.

A new Facebook group, the Alliance For California Adult Schools, was formed just this February and already has over 200 followers and a strong discussion going. The intention is to raise awareness among people who may not even know that this battle is happening at this very moment. Traditional media may only reach a certain number of people in a target range, but social media opens space for global connection and awareness.

Facebook and Twitter are no longer simply social networks, but powerful and influential avenues for change. Trending topics on Twitter continue to pique the radars of major news outlets that pick up the stories, and Adult Education can certainly be one of them.

So get out there, start talking, start liking, start sharing, start using those hashtags, and don’t underestimate the potential of these resources.

A video in support of Adult Ed was recently posted to YouTube. Watch the video here.


A4CAS Count on Me video (this video was made before accurate stats on school closures were known)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A letter in support of Older Adult Programs - provided by George Porter of Berkeley Adult School

TO: Senator Carol Liu - Chair, Education Committee 
FROM: Your Name Here
RE: May revise + SB173 - Rescinding funding from Adult Ed.'s Older Adults programs - NO!


We who are sending you this letter firmly believe that the proposal, as contained in the Governor's May-revise, that beginning in 2015-16 the Older Adults programs will no longer be allowed to claim support from the Adult Education apportionment is a policy change harmful to the interests of the State.

Clearly the ongoing health, independence, socioeconomic contributions and civic engagement of the older population will have a increasingly critical part to play in California's economic and civic weal. Clearly, too, the educational opportunities provided through the Older Adults programs have for six decades both helped to reduce stresses on our health and public welfare systems and encouraged positive participation to all our benefit. The view that older Californians are simply a burden to be compensated for is narrow minded and not only misses the opportunity to develop what may prove to be one of our greatest assets, but runs contrary to both the spirit and, arguably, the letter of the Older American's Act. We shouldn't be eliminating these programs, but looking for ways to wisely grow them.

The issue at hand is now and will continue to be the effective distribution of limited funds. The funding formula for the Older Adults programs presented here takes into account California's current fiscal and demographic circumstances as well as the pressing need for workforce development. It will not result in the sudden growth of these now small programs but instead will preserve the existing infrastructure and courses and allow for moderate expansion as the demand for the curricular offerings increases with the size of the demographic served. It's intention is to keep these offerings affordable for middle-class, older citizens who are living on a fixed income as well as to provide additional support to those who are living below the poverty line and the disabled. This formula should not be set in stone by the legislature, but should be reconsidered at regular intervals and adjusted to better serve the evolving needs of the State. This formula will suffice for the time being.


Local Adult Schools are limited to claiming from the Adult Education apportionment 50% of the costs to provide courses contained in the Older Adults programs. A student fee may be raised to cover the additional cost. These fees may be off-set by community contribution and/or support from the overseeing School District's general fund with approval of it's governing board. All cost savings resulting from providing offsite classroom space (at Senior and Community Centers, etc.) will be considered as contribution and may be used to offset student fees. The Adult Schools may also claim additional funds from the Adult Education apportionment to provide fee reductions for seniors living below the poverty line and disabled students. In no case may an Adult School claim more than its net cost of providing the aggregate of courses within this program with the exception of maintaining a specifically designated reserve not to exceed 20% of the program's estimated annual budget. 

Your Name
Street Address
City, CA  Zip Code


Send to:

Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Senator Carol Liu
State Capitol, Room 5097
Sacramento,  CA  95814
Senator Loni Hancock
State Capitol, Room 2082
Sacramento,  CA  95814

Tom Torlakson, Superintendent of Public Instruction  
California Department of Education
1430 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson
State Capitol, Room 5080
Sacramento, CA 95814

Assemblymember Mariko Yamada
Capitol Office:
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0004
Tel: (916) 319-2004
Fax: (916) 319-2104
District Office:
725 Main Street Suite 206
Woodland, CA 95695
Tel: (800) 965-6765
Fax: (530) 662-6370

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Weekly Update 5/19/13

This week we stood up and made our presence known with “Wear Red for Adult Ed” on Tuesday.  We also got the word from Governor Brown regarding the revisions made to his budget proposal.  The adult ed community has responded with mixed reviews.  The governor has rescinded his idea of shifting all adult ed to community colleges.  Gov. Jerry Brown is instead proposing that regional consortia, made up of community colleges and school districts, determine adult ed’s future.” (Edsource, 5/14/13).  Our efforts have paid off, but we need to keep pushing for dedicated funding.  It isn’t scheduled to take effect until 2015, as part of the new plan.  We have already sustained deep losses, and without immediate stabilization provided by a dedicated funding stream, we remain at risk.
The governor has provided an incentive (funds available) for districts to keep their adult schools open, but it doesn’t go far enough to prevent closures, as is evident in the case of Azusa Adult School:
Posted on A4CAS FB page by Azusa Aec:
Sadly our school board closed the book and the school will be closed on June 5th, a day after graduation.... there is not much we can say and do to have them change their minds. They only see the $$$$ signs they can keep for K12.... after closing the school the school board voted to give indirect raises to ALL K12 personnel, using ADULT EDUCATION FUNDS to pay for it.... Sweet isn't it? It is time to change the markup of our school board. We need community friendly school board members who are dedicated to educate the entire community not just K-12. One of them just announced her intention to run for Citrus College trustee. With her not running again, another one retiring, and a third running for her seat, there will be three open seats in November's election, we are having already two strong minded and educated individuals who decided to run...we are still looking for a third person who is willing to dedicate her free time to make education accessible for ALL community members. After a win... the goal is to resurrect the Azusa Adult School from the death! That's the goal we aim for in the long and in the sort....

Bob Harper’s comment on the EdSource article sums up the situation:
The incentives to have greater collaboration between the delivery systems – articulated pathways, common assessments, referral procedures, integrated basic skills training – and bringing in additional community partners (the Workforce Investment Boards, community based-organizations, private sector) is welcome. It is exactly what the CDE’s strategic plan for adult education recommended. It is what was proposed by the LAO’s report last December. It is in alignment to the targeted outcomes for 2014-2015 of the Workforce Investment Act and the National Reporting System. It is already pursued in many places in the state, including the Silicon Valley ALLIES Initiative in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. It is hugely significant that the Governor and the DOF have been responsive to all the advocacy and dialogue on the last four months. It is also true that unless dedicated funding assures that K-12 adult schools continue to deliver services the “consortia” planned for 2015-2016 will be greatly diminished in capacity and expertise. Having 30 million to prepare partnerships, like ALLIES, is a great step. Unless K-12 has standalone funding as LCFF moves forward it is likely that the “unintended destructive consequences” will continue unabated and increase in pace. I surely hope it really is unintended. I must also point out that the $634 million “before the recession” is incorrect. In 2008 there was almost $750 million that supported adult learners in adult schools, and another $200 million that supported non-credit adult education programs in community colleges. What was $950 million in 2008 (which was insufficient to the demand then) becomes $500 million in 2015, with the possibility that the expertise, focus, and outcomes of the K-12 systems have eroded away by then. The legislature and the Governor will continue to work on this; I am confident they will understand that having collaboration between the two systems, adequately resourced, will mean that the critical capacity will be in place to provide low skilled adults with literacy, job skills, and immigrant integration.

Some good news for Vista Adult School from their superintendent:
Vista Adult School
Esteemed Community Members--

I am pleased to share that the Governor’s “May Revise” of the proposed budget for the state of California reflects favorable changes related to Adult Education. As you may recall, the original budget proposal in January shifted all funding for Adult Education to the community colleges as of July 1, 2013. The “May Revise” budget now suggests that K-12 School Districts will continue to be funded for Adult Education programs for the next two years with an option to apply for funding through a consortium model beginning in 2015-16. As a result, layoff notices that have been distributed to Vista Adult School teachers will be rescinded. Furthermore, potential layoff notices to the classified staff will not be necessary.

I am grateful that we will be able to continue to offer the essential Adult Education programs and services that this community has valued and appreciated for many years. I am also optimistic that our continued success in meeting the needs of adult learners will put us in a leadership position as we develop the consortium plans for the future.

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation for the resilience, flexibility, and empathy of our community as we have gone through the turbulence of the budget process. Our mission statement places a priority on perseverance and I am privileged to serve as a leader in a community where our adults serve as models for our children.
With gratitude,
Devin Vodicka, EdD
Superintendent of Schools
Posted by: Devin Vodicka Published:5/15/13

United Adult Students in Los Angeles continue to speak up and fight cuts to their programs.
from their website:
Why are Adult Schools slashing their Fall 2013 course offerings?  Here are just a few examples:
  • Evans CAS is cutting its whole Saturday program; its Certified Medical Assistant program is completely cut and 26 teachers have lost all or part of their hours.
  • Harbor Occupational is cutting its entire evening program.
  • West Valley OC is cutting 1 out of every 4 teachers;
  • East L.A. Occupational has been told they're cutting 30%; many CTE teachers, if they aren't being laid off, are having their hours reduced.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Elected officials come and go.  We’re part of an educational system that, given the current economic climate, as well as demographic changes, can no longer afford to be marginalized or seen as anything but a vital part of California’s public education system.  The collective mentality, in regards to adult ed in California, is evolving to meet 21st Century demands.  Legislators need to be educated on how best to create the framework that will accelerate positive changes as a result of the new consortium model.  They need to know the problematic aspects of the proposed budget that will impede progress.  It’s our job to get the necessary points across.  We need to emphasize that we aren’t advocating on behalf of teachers, students or staff, but rather on behalf of all Californians.  It’s a crucial time to be able to look ahead and envision a better future for adult education.  
Another quote from the EdSource article:
During the past few months, more districts have given preliminary layoff notices to adult school staff based on the governor’s earlier proposal to shift responsibility to community colleges starting in 2013-14. The governor’s change of heart is due to these “unintended consequences,” according to Ana Matosantos, California’s director of finance.
Governor Brown and Ana Matosantos need to realize that there will be more “unintended consequences” until we secure designated funding.  We remain vulnerable to the whims of our local school districts under the current plan.  Ms. Matosanto’s phone number is (916) 445-4141.  Her email address is
We are still in the midst of the budget process.  We need to show that California Adult Schools have GRIT and we’re going to fight for what’s right.
As always, if you have photos to share or would like to submit a post for the A4CAS FB page, please send an email to:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Adult Education Portion of Governor Brown's Revised Budget

  • Proposes to restructure and delay the Adult Education proposal included in the Governor's budget. This pause will reduce the level of uncertainty for existing K12 education providers, while providing additional time to program governance and program delivery changes.
  • Maintains status quo for existing K12 and Community College programs for two years. Maintains the existing apportionment structure and funding remains in place for existing Community College programs.
  • School Districts retain their authority to independently continue their existing adult education programs. Over time, it is expected they will join a region adult education consortium, described below, to gain access to additional dedicated adult education funding and to ensure coordination with other local adult education providers.
  • Transitions to a new Adult Education partnership program comprised of regional adult education providers, who jointly determine what programs to offer their communities and how best to allocate additional state resources for this purpose.
  • Includes $30 million Prop 98 General Fund in 2013-14 for two-year planning and implementation grants and $500 million Prop 98 General Fund in 2014-15 to fund Adult Education schools jointly operated by regional consortia of community colleges and school districts.
  • The districts making up each consortium must maintain their current level of spending for Adult Education in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and into the future to receive the new funding. 
  • Available funding will be prioritized to critical areas of instruction. As a result, only instruction in ESL, citizenship, HS diploma, GED, and workplace education will be eligible for funding through the new program. Instruction in parenting, home economics and instruction for older adults will not be eligible for funding. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekly Update 5/12/13

The hearing is tomorrow for Carol Liu's bill SB 173.  For more information regarding the portions of the bill that we seek to have amended, read Kristen Pursley's recent blog post.

Tuesday is the day we'll hear Governor Brown's May revise.  It's the perfect day to participate in 

Please make sure everyone at your school knows that Tuesday, May 14th is Unity in Red Day for California Adult Ed.

If you didn't attend the CCAE Conference in Sacramento, you can check out Dawn Koepke's speech here

There are more great videos to watch on CCAE's website.

Please send photos of students, faculty and staff wearing red on Tuesday to

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Weekly Update 5/5/13

This week, newspaper headlines promoted the idea of Governor Brown as Robin Hood and it became the hook to engage readers in the ongoing education reform debate.  We are caught in the middle of it.  Senator Carol Liu’s (D-La Canada Flintridge) bill, SB 69, would provide us with the protection we need -- designated funding (by taking AE out of the LCFF pool of money).  It also contains changes to LCFF, which creates more difficulty in passage of the bill, given Governor Brown’s crusade to fight for his plan as a “civil rights issue”.  The irony of his comment, given the current adult education crisis, is highlighted in Cynthia Eagleton’s “Open Letter to Governor Brown”.  The political rhetoric will undoubtedly give way to the give and take of the necessary negotiations.

Please keep promoting the petition online, as well as printing it out to give to students so they can participate and obtain signatures.  Contact your legislator and speak up for adult education. It is a critical time to raise our collective voice to Governor Brown as he works on the May revise.

The report that is cited as the basis for Governor Brown's budget proposal is:

Alan Bersin, Michael W. Kirst, and Goodwin Liu

On February 15th, the day I started the Alliance for California Adult Schools’ Facebook page, I wrote an email to Michael Kirst.  I wrote that, while researching the origin of Governor Brown's current education proposal, I came across a Sacramento Bee article (12/26/12), "Jerry Brown pushes new funding system for California schools"  that stated he “co-wrote a 2008 paper that became the model for Brown's proposal.”  I have since seen the reference many times.

I told him that I find it hard to believe that, given his views about equal access to education, he supports the budget proposal.  What about adult education?  I wrote:

Speaking English at home will improve a child’s vocabulary at a young age, setting the stage for success in the public school system and beyond.  

His response was:
Thank you for your letter. Brown proposes having community colleges more involved in the adult ed programs you mention.

In the report:
“California’s current budget woes do not preclude implementation of our proposal. To the contrary, now is an especially good time to pursue a fundamental overhaul of the present system."

This is part of what is stirring the controversy regarding Brown’s budget proposal.  People are upset that Brown wasn’t honest with the public when he campaigned for the passage of Proposition 30.  He knew what he wanted to do.  He also knew that Proposition 30 wouldn’t pass if he were honest about what he planned to do with the funds derived from it.

Another part of the report that warrants a look:

"We have not examined what mix of incentives, supports, and accountability mechanisms will ensure that dollars allocated equitably from the state to local districts are in turn spent wisely by local districts to boost performance especially among the neediest students and schools."

One aspect of LCFF that has people worried is whether the extra money given to districts with larger populations of low-income students, foster youth, and English learners will actually reach the students in a meaningful way.

It’s important that we understand how we fit into the larger picture of public education in California.  In the past few months, I’ve contacted many people who endorsed the proposal in major newspapers and completely overlooked the adult education portion of it.  Sometimes they are apologetic, indicating that it was merely an oversight on their part.  We need to assert ourselves.  We have been doing a great job, but we need to push harder this week.

If you have any photos or would like to send an item to post, please send to: