Informational Hearing on Adult Education January 29

The Senate Education Committee and Assembly Higher Education Committee will hold a joint hearing on January 29th at 10 a.m. in Room 4203 of the Capitol to discuss adult education.   The meeting will have a series of panels, including presentations by the California Department of Education, Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), and stakeholders in both the K-12 and CCC adult education system.   There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the meeting.

This hearing will be an important opportunity to request that state funding for adult school and community college Parent Education and Older Adult programs be retained.  Current plans for reforming adult schools and community colleges eliminate state funding for these programs.

While the January 29 hearing will be informational only, with no vote taken, this is an important opportunity for Californians to voice their opinions about the future of adult education. The two committees need to hear from the public before the hearing in order to make an informed decision. It would be best to contact the committees by Friday, January 24 to assure that input is incorporated into the analysis of the bill. The committees particularly need to hear from students in Older Adult and Parent Education programs, but input from teachers and community members is also important. Whole communities will be adversely affected if these programs have to close down, and the committees need to hear about that.

Some Background

This hearing was called after a hearing on a bill, SB 173, in the Assembly Higher Education Committee.  SB 173 would have eliminated state funding for Older Adult and Parent Education programs. A large number of supporters of Parent Education and Older Adult programs attended the hearing to ask that the bill be amended to save these programs. The Higher Education Committee decided they needed more information before voting on the bill. The purpose of the hearing is to inform the committees about the state of adult education and plans for reform.

Speakers at the Hearing

The office of the Higher Education Committee has indicated that most of the testimony at the informational hearing will be about the Regional Consortia, a new delivery system for adult education that is in the planning stages now. The language creating the Regional Consortia excludes Parent Education and Older Adult programs, so quite possibly speakers will be arguing that the two programs are a lost cause, already written out of California’s plans for adult education.

However, there will supposedly be ample time for public comment, so advocates for Older Adult and Parent Education programs should have time to point out that the programs are still alive now and that they have significant benefits. However, it is very important to make the arguments beforehand in letters, emails and telephone calls, even if you plan to come to the hearing and speak. Committee members do much of their deliberating before the actual hearing.

What You Can Do

1. Write to the heads of both the Senate Education Committee (Carol Liu) and the Assembly Higher Education Committee (Das Williams). Explain why you support Older Adult and Parent Education programs, and request that state funding for these programs continue. SB 173 be amended to provide state education funding for these programs. Be sure to put “Hearing on Adult Education January 29” in the subject header of any letters or emails you send. Ask that your message be shared with the committees.

Contact Information:

 

Senator Carol Liu

Chair, Senate Education Committee

State Capitol, Room 5097

Sacramento CA  95814

Phone: (916) 651-4025

Fax: (916) 651-4925

 

Assembly Member Das Williams

Chair, Assembly Committee on Higher Education

State Capitol, Room 3149

Sacramento, CA 94248

Phone: (916) 319-2037

Fax: (916) 319-2137

 

You can send emails for the Higher Education Committee to this address: hillary.blackerby@asm.ca.gov

Be sure to request that your email be shared with the committee.

3. Contact Governor Brown. While it is not necessary to contact the governor before the hearing, he needs to hear from the public about the need for Older Adult and Parent Education programs. The Regional Consortia, which exclude Older Adult and Parent Education programs, are the governor’s creation.

Governor Jerry Brown

C/O State Capitol Rm. 2082

Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: (916) 445-2841

Fax: (916) 558-3160

You can email the governor here:  http://govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail/mail.php

You can also contact Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. Superintendent Torlakson has been very supportive of adult schools, though his support for Parent Education and Older Adult programs is less clear.  You can find contact information for Superintendent Torlakson here: http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/di/cd/

4. Come to the hearing! If you can come to Sacramento on the morning of Wednesday, January 29, attending the hearing is the best way to make your voice heard.

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