California’s Adult Schools Need Dedicated Funding: An Open Letter to Governor Brown

September 27, 2014

Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

C/O State Capitol, Suite 1173

Sacramento, CA 95814

 

Dear Governor Brown,

I am writing to request that the 2015-2016 budget include dedicated funding for California’s adult schools, as recommended in the Legislative Analyst’s Office’s   (LAO) 2012 report “Restructuring California’s Adult Education System”. California needs its adult schools. As an adult school ESL teacher, I continually hear stories from students who tried community college first but found the environment intimidating. They found a home in adult school where they could learn and flourish. All of these students later went on to achieve great success; one is now the principal of an elementary school. But they needed adult school first.

Dedicated funding for adult schools would support the two significant education reforms California has recently adopted: the Local Control Funding Formula for K-12 schools and the community college/adult school consortia for adult education. Dedicated funding for adult schools would allow them to continue and perhaps increase their role as a support for the K-12 schools. In many respects, adult school courses serve as effective interventions for exactly the at-risk K-12 students the Local Control Funding Formula is supposed to benefit: low-income and English Language Learner students. Adult school English as a Second Language , Parent Education , Adult Basic Education, High School Diploma and GED classes all help the parents of low income and English learner children better support their child’s school success. Parents who themselves attend school serve as good examples for their children, and also acquire skills that help them lift their families out of poverty, help their children with schoolwork, and advocate for their children both inside and outside the school system. As part of the K-12 school system, adult schools are uniquely positioned to offer classes at elementary schools, middle schools and high schools, so that parents learn alongside their children and become more involved in the life of the school.

Because of their closer ties to the K-12 system, adult schools have a unique perspective that needs to be heard in the consortia. But if adult schools do not have their own dedicated funding, they will inevitably be in a one-down position in the consortia. If community colleges control all the money for adult education in the state, they will naturally put their own needs first. Adult schools need their own funding in order to be equal partners in the consortia.

California needs to expand, not reduce, access to adult education. There are about 300 adult schools in California, as compared to 112 community colleges, and rural areas are more likely to be served by adult schools than by community colleges. If community colleges control all money for adult education in the state, and if they put their own needs first, as they naturally will unless somehow restrained, what is to prevent their closing some of the adult schools within their districts in order to repurpose the money for those programs? This would further reduce access to education for California’s adults, and that is not the direction we want to go.

Please provide dedicated funding for California’s adult schools. It’s the best way to ensure improved adult literacy in the state.

Sincerely,

Kristen Pursley

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One Response

  1. In todays working world, it is vital to have primary and secondary education. I understand the importance getting an education. I went to an adult school to develop skills that I felt I needed to build upon. I couldn’t agree more with providing more funding to the education system across the board, in all areas of education.

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