Torlakson Sends Letter Supporting Adult Education
Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, has sent a letter [pdf] to all county and district superintendents cautioning them to think carefully about the importance and benefits of adult education before sweeping adult education funds and dismantling programs. Torlakson notes that the new mission statement of the California Department of Education says:
California will provide a world-class education for all students, from early childhood to adulthood. The Department of Education serves our state by innovating and collaborating with educators, schools, parents, and community partners. Together, as a team, we prepare students to live, work, and thrive in a highly connected world.
He also notes that "with minimal fiscal resources, adult education still produces long term and far reaching benefits." These include educating parents so that they can better support the education of their children, along with helping adults gain employment skills and advance their careers.
In conclusion, he states what all adult educators have been saying since adult education was put into the flexible funding category, "(o)nce a program such as this is dismantled, the extensive infrastructure and work that has gone into building this program cannot be readily recovered."
CCAE Leg Day to be Held on March 5-6
On March 5th, representatives from the adult education community statewide will meet in Sacramento to press for maintaining adult education in California. Categorical flexibility has been a blow to adult education, and now the California Council for Adult Education (CCAE) will take up opposition to the Governor's categorical consolidation budget proposal which is moving forward without setting adult education apart. The Governor proposes to fund all school districts based on a weighted formula that provides a higher rate for students with free and reduced lunch, and for Limited English Proficient students. It does not designate any specific funding for adult education. CCAE views this proposal as disastrous for the future of adult education.
During legislative visits participants will be speaking with members and staff regarding the field's opposition to the Governor's budget proposal and support for the California Adult Education Administrators Association (CAEAA) and CCAE's jointly sponsored bill being authored by adult education champion, Assemblyman Mike Eng.
For more information, please see http://www.ccaestate.org/calendar.html [www].
Obama Requests Level Funding for Adult Education
Photo: C-Span [www]
President Obama announced his 2013 budget request [www] on Monday, Feb. 13. The budget for the Department of Education represents an overall proposed increase of $1.7 billion, for a 2.5 percent increase above the enacted FY 2012 budget. The budget includes $606.3 million to support activities under the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act of 1998, which represents level funding.
Of the total, $594,993,000 is available for Adult Education State Grants. Of this latter amount, 1.72 percent is reserved for incentive grants, $15,000,000 is available to the secretary for the Workforce Innovation Fund, and $74,709,000 is available for English literacy and civics education. An additional $11,323,000 is provided for national activities. Although level funding is proposed, the $15,000,000 for the Workforce Innovation Fund is proposed to come from the state adult education grants.
Read more in Federal Budget Updates.
Update on the Strategic Plan
Gordon Jackson, Director of the Coordinated Student Support and Adult Education Division at the California Department of Education (CDE), and Patricia Terry, Administrator of the Adult Education Office at CDE, have held two meetings with adult educators to discuss moving forward with the strategic plan, Linking Adults to Opportunity: Transformation of the California Department of Education Adult Education Program. A working meeting in the south was held at the California Adult Education Administrators Association (CAEAA) conference in Long Beach on February 3. A subsequent meeting was held at the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) offices in Sacramento on February 14 for educators who were unable to attend CAEAA. A conference call line provided additional participation at that meeting. In both meetings, participants were invited to discuss each of the 7 areas of the plan with respect to implementation, specifically achievability, needs and challenges. Mr. Jackson, Dr. Terry and staff will now review and synthesize the input from these meetings and put forward suggested next steps.
The entire plan can be viewed at http://www.otan.us/strategicplanning
Funding Challenges to Adult Education Nationally
CLASP [www], a research agency that provides data and studies to support "policy solutions that work for low-income people," has posted a new fact sheet [pdf] on adult education federal funding and enrollment trends from 1998 to 2012. It shows that federal funding for adult education has declined steadily from 2003 to 2009, and held steady in 2010-12, with an overall decline of 17 percent. Enrollment figures follow the funding decrease, with a 27 percent decrease in enrollment. The study notes that many states have long waiting lists for adult education classes.
Many states, including California and New York, have made significant cuts to adult education or eliminated it from state funding entirely. Florida has implemented tuition for adult education and ESL courses, which has resulted in at 38 percent decline in enrollment.
New OVAE Reports on Postsecondary Bridging and Alignment
The February 9, 2012 issue of OVAE Connections [www], the newsletter of the federal Office of Vocational and Adult Education, announced the publication of several reports of relevance to practitioners in Adult Education. They include:
- Promoting College and Career Readiness: Bridge Programs for Low-Skill Adults [pdf]: describes recent approaches to bridge programs and explores promising practices that contextualize and integrate instruction, and strengthen student support and transition services to improve postsecondary transition and completion.
- Aligning Secondary and Postsecondary Education: Experiences from Career and Technical Education [pdf]: follows the evolution of efforts to align secondary and postsecondary CTE, and outlines several promising CTE practices that may be effective in achieving better alignment for all students.
- Integrating Industry-Driven Competencies in Education and Training Through Employer Engagement [pdf]: describes partnership efforts between community colleges and employers, exploring models promoting curricular change and innovation.
The papers are part of a 2011 Regional Community College Summit [www] and the Community College Virtual Symposium, "Scaling the Community College Summit: Challenges, Solutions and Commitment." The focus of these efforts includes creating bridging programs for low-skilled adults and developing accessible career programs to foster adult student success. The reports are a result of the White House Regional Community College Summit, which was convened in October 2010 by President Obama and Dr. Jill Biden.
From the OVAE Connections, February 9, 2012 [www] newsletter of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U. S. Department of Education.
In this issue
OTAN offers free online and face-to-face workshops to adult educators and staff throughout California. Workshops are planned to fit a wide variety of skill levels! Find out more at www.otan.us/training.
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