Letter to Governor Brown re: Closing of the LA Family Literacy Centers

Communities Organized to Support Adult School (COSAS) sent the following letter to Governor Brown in support of the Los Angeles Family Literacy program, which is scheduled to close its doors next Thursday, May 29.  Feel free to use this letter as a model for your own letter to the governor.

 

Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

C/O State Capitol, Suite 1173

Sacramento, CA 95814

 

We, the undersigned members of Communities Organized to Support Adult School (COSAS), are writing to express our dismay over the proposed closure of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Family Literacy Program at the end of this school year.   The cancellation of the program flies in the face of California’s new education priorities under both the Local Control Funding Formula for K-12 education and the Regional Consortia model for adult education.

The Family Literacy Program serves just the kind of families the Local Control Funding Formula is supposed to support: families with low incomes and low levels of education, and families where the home language is typically not English. The program has been studied for eight years and found to be highly effective; the study found that elementary school children who attended the Family Literacy Program classes before kindergarten did better than comparable students in other LAUSD preschools, and that the gains held through 5th grade. The study also found that parents in the program increased their participation in their children’s schooling after completing the Family Literacy Program.

http://www.first5la.org/files/F5LA_researchbrief_AIR_single_page.pdf

LAUSD has the good fortune to have in place a program that serves exactly the kind of children the Local Control Funding Formula is designed to help. Yet instead of building on their success, they have chosen to close the program down. This decision makes no sense, especially in the light of a survey that showed that expanding adult education is a top priority for the Los Angeles community.

http://www.unitedadultstudents.org/community_to_lausd_adult_career_ed_is_top_2_budget_priority

The district’s decision raises troubling questions about the meaning of local control. Does local control simply mean control by the local Superintendent of Schools? Or does it means that the priorities of the local community are to be addressed? If local control means response to community needs and concerns, the decision to close the Family Literacy Program is a violation of local control.

The LAUSD Family Literacy Program also addresses the state’s education priorities for adults. The parents in the program are taking English as a Second Language and GED classes, which are identified as priorities under AB86. The preschool program and parent education classes parents receive in the program are an excellent example of the wrap-around services that were identified in the State Strategic Plan for Adult Education as a necessary component of a successful comprehensive education program for California’s adults. Rather than being forced to close, the LAUSD Family Literacy Program should be included in the AB86 consortium planning process for the Los Angeles region; indeed, the program might serve as a model for the entire state.

The LAUSD Family Literacy Program provides an excellent example of a program that could serve children well under the Local Control Funding Formula and serve adults well within the Regional Consortia. We strongly urge that this effective program be kept open both to serve families in the Los Angeles area and to serve as a resource for other areas of the state seeking to create highly effective programs. The loss of the LAUSD program would be a loss not only to the Los Angeles area, but to the entire state of California.

Sincerely,

Karen Arthur, ESL Teacher & Advocacy Organizer, Oxnard, CA

Roger Chretien, High School Completion and ESL Distance Learning Teacher, Berkeley, CA

Cynthia Eagleton, Author, Adult Education Matters blog, San Francisco, CA

Pat Miles

George Porter

Kristen Pursley, ESL Teacher, Pinole, CA

Ken Ryan, Parent Education Outreach/ESL Citizenship Teacher

Dean Williamson, ESL Teacher, Berkeley, CA

 

CC: State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson

Dr. John E. Deasy, Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District

 

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2 Responses

  1. save our schools

  2. It would be nice to have child care while they attend school, summer school to improve what they have accomplish so far.

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