Save Adult Education Summit 01/30/10

About 58 people attended the Save Adult Education Summit this past Saturday. Among the speakers were Mayor Gayle McLaughlin of Richmond, Mayor Janet Abelson of El Cerrito, Vice Mayor Genoveva Calloway of San Pablo, County Supervisor John Gioia and State Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner.  Attendees signed on to a letter to the Board of Education and committed to a variety of actions including being part of a team to meet with individual Board of Education members, contacting other people to talk about adult education, attending the community budget meetings that are scheduled for this week, and attending the February 10 Board of Education meeting.   Attendees also broke up into three groups and came up with next steps to take, as follows:

STUDENT CONCERNS GROUP

Students were concerned about the following effects of losing adult education:

  • Their children’s education would be adversely affected
  • They would lose opportunities to improve their job skills, find jobs, and move into better jobs
  • They were concerned about the loss of jobs to babysitters, aides and teachers
  • They would lose the opportunity to learn to write in English
  • They would lose the personal feeling of success they get from learning English
  • They would not be able to communicate with their doctors
  • They would lose the opportunity to prepare for the Citizenship interview
  • The direct connection between the education of parents and children would be lost

The Students came up with the following ideas for action:

  1. PROMISE to bring 5 people to the February 10 Board of Education meeting
  2. Go to the ESL classes to communicate the urgency of the situation and be positive, keeping in mind the pride students feel in the adult school
  3. Invite more people: pass out flyers, call people, go through the neighborhood house by house inviting people
  4. Organize in groups
  5. Provide transportation to the meeting to those who need it.

FUNDERS AND FUNDRAISING GROUP

The Funders and Fundraising group came up with the following ideas for action:

  1. Hire a grantwriter dedicated to adult education
  2. Hire a fiscal agent, such as Catholic Charities or the Ed Fund
  3. Seek 501c3 status for COSAS
  4. Invite key funders, including East Bay Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, Wells Fargo and Chevron  to a meeting regarding adult school funding

POLITICAL ACTION GROUP

The Political Action group came up with the following ideas for action:

  1. Invite as many people as possible to the community budget meetings
  2. Ask the Chamber of Commerce to support adult education, since business needs a trained workforce
  3. Get the media, such as Univision and public radio and tv,  to publicize our movement
  4. Negotiate with the district, demanding that they make cuts across the board
  5. Jointly meet with our state and federal representatives
  6. Join the March 4 rally in San Francisco as part of a Bay Area movement to support public education

Coverage on Univision

On the afternoon of January 30, Univision interviewed a group of students, aides and teachers from the West Contra Costa Adult Education English as a Second Language Department, and the story aired at 6:00 that evening as the lead story.  The story began with the reporter from Univision standing in front of the English Action Center site holding up a copy of the Winter 2010 adult school catalog, and saying, “This could be the last adult education catalog for West County”.  He summed up what students and aides had been saying, that excellent students need educated parents who can speak English, and pointed out that the February10th Board of Education meeting would be the turning point for adult education.

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One Response

  1. What a powerful and moving event—kudos to the organizers! I was especially impressed by the participation of students, organizers, and so many elected officials, pastors, and community leaders. I hope we can get a few pictures from the Summit up on the site.

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