Regional Consortia: Questions and Concerns from Communities Organized to Support Adult School (COSAS

  1. Once the consortia are under way, will adult schools still be stand alone institutions, or will they be subsumed into the community colleges?
  2. What is the minimum unit that will comprise a consortium?  One adult school and one community college?  A K-12 district with an adult school and a community college district? Something else?
  3. Older Adult, Parent Education, Health and Safety and Home Economics classes truly serve adults and contribute to the health and vitality of our communities.  To rescind funding for these programs is to abandon the traditional mission of adult education.
  4. Adult education must serve all adults.  Adult education money must not be redirected to exclusively serve young adults eligible for credit recovery or to vocational training limited to young adults under 25 years of age. Adults of all ages must have the opportunity to complete their high school educations and train and retrain for careers.
  5. How will the consortia assure that public funds will not be directed to ventures whose primary function is to create private profit?
  6. How will the consortia assure that performance based funding and common assessments for adult schools and community colleges are carefully designed in such a way that hard-to-serve students will not be excluded from educational services?
  7. One suggestion regarding ESL is that adult schools stop teaching higher level ESL classes and community colleges drop lower level classes. But currently ESL students in the community college system eat up all their financial aid on ESL classes before they even begin working on courses in their major. Removing the option of attaining an advanced level in adult school would exacerbate this problem. How will the consortia address this issue?
  8. Undocumented immigrants in adult school programs are protected from inquiries about their immigration status by the same court ruling that protects children in K-12 programs.  There are no such protections in the community colleges currently. What will the consortia do to protect the rights of all immigrants to learn English?
  9. Will the consortia use Social Security numbers to track students?  If so, they will be excluding undocumented immigrants from any opportunity to learn English, trapping them in a permanent underclass. This will have devastating impacts for immigrants and the communities where they live.
  10. What will be the role of Family Literacy in the consortia?
  11. How will the consortia take into account the fact that immigrant women often begin learning English in order to help their children in school, but begin to form educational and career ambitions for themselves as their English improves and they gain confidence?  How will the consortia make room for students who may enter the system with goals that are not directly related to higher education or entering the workforce?
  12. Immigrants need to learn the basic English skills they need to succeed in jobs they already have. Most are working as they attend adult ESL classes. How will the consortia assure that students already in the workforce, as well as those who are seeking work or higher education, can learn the English they need?
  13. Funding tied to job placement could lead to excessive influence over curricula by private sector entities, allowing employers to externalize training costs at taxpayer expense.  How will the consortia prevent such situations?
  14. Will the credentialing requirement for adult school teaching change under the consortia?

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