Communities Organized to Support Adult School (COSAS) Position Statement: Sustain California Adult Education’s Broad Mission

 SUSTAIN CALIFORNIA ADULT EDUCATION’S BROAD MISSION:

KEEP OUR COMMUNITIES HEALTHY, STRONG AND PRODUCTIVE!

Though the California Legislature should be applauded for its willingness to dedicate greater educational resources to workforce development, this should not be done at the expense of programs historically geared towards promoting healthy and productive civic life. Beginning in 2012-13, bills emerged that would eliminate, severely restrict or neglect to include in future plans funding for programs in the Adult Ed. system not predominately focused on the basic skills and technical training needed for workplace participation. Whether by a direct cut or through the failure to include, any proposed legislation that attempts to narrow Adult Ed.’s mission in this manner will effectively cast onto the junk heap our long-lived investment in programs dedicated to the support and development of communities.

Failing to meet the educational needs of communities not only runs contrary to the wise, currently stated goals of the Adult Ed. system, but will damage the general weal. Legislation containing language that narrows the mission moves us backwards, not forward, and must either be amended or opposed.

THE POPULATIONS AT GREATEST RISK OF LOSING EDUCATIONAL SERVICES:

– ELDER CITIZENS who need and deserve courses of instruction to help keep them both physically and mentally healthy as well as “up to date” with a rapidly changing world if they’re to remain productively engaged community members.

– PARENTS (and GRANDPARENTS and FOSTER PARENTS) in need of exposure to and guidance in applying to daily life the current information and latest thinking available to do the most important job of them all – raising the children.

– RELEASED PRISONERS that have paid their debt and deserve not only job training but also help in acquiring the necessary skills to facilitate their reentry into civic life. We must stop the revolving door of recidivism.

– ALL ADULTS (especially the less privileged) who would benefit from consumer and financial education as well as a new range of life skills training that will encourage them to make communities truly their home.

– ALL ADULT CALIFORNIA CITIZENS (whether part of the workforce or not) who need help in gaining the technical skills required to use the tools of information access in this digital age as well as support in developing the critical thinking that will translate these skills into meaningful, civic participation running the gamut from neighborhood concerns to the voting booth.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT PROGRAMS ARE ALIGNED WITH TRADITIONAL GOALS:

For generations, the state-funded, locally-based Adult Schools have provided coordinated educational resources to help meet evolving civic needs at the community level. Indeed, from its inception the public school system has always served two intertwined goals: training the skilled workforce required to ensure our economic well being and developing an educated citizenry capable of effective participation in all aspects of civic life in our democratic society. If California is to remain healthy and strong, both these goals need to continue to be pursued.

For all Californians’ sake:

LET’S KEEP ADULT EDUCATION’S BROAD MISSION!

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