Letter about Berkeley Adult School from a Neighbor and Teacher

January 14, 2015

Superintendent Evans

School Board Members

Berkeley Unified School District

2020 Bonar Street

Berkeley, CA 94702

Dear Dr. Evans and School Board Members:

I am writing regarding the issue of the current influx of young children coming into the Berkeley Public Schools and the short-term and long-term plans of where to locate them within the school system. As a long-time resident in the area near Berkeley Adult School I am aware of, and delighted by, the young children who are beginning to populate my neighborhood. And as I am a retired adult school teacher, as well as a former elementary and middle school teacher, I have a specific perspective on the issue of where these new students should be schooled.

I am very pleased that no instantaneous decision will be made tonight regarding the long-term options of where these young students may ultimately be placed. Because of a series of factors affecting adult schools currently and in the future, deciding today to dismantle the current Adult School to house this increase in the K-12 student population is not logical, not now or in the future. I am referring to these three issues: the state required co-ordination of adult schools and community colleges: “Regional Consortium for Adult Education”, Obama’s call for tuition-free community colleges, and his decision to protect the undocumented parents of children born in the U.SA. As a friend mentioned to me the other day, re: the latter item, those parents will very likely be future students at adult schools. These three factors will increase the number of adult education students and expand the types of classes available and times during the day when offered. And, as anyone who has been a teacher or student is aware, having the majority of the classes offered in one location–like Berkeley Adult School currently does–is especially sensible and efficient in a city as small as Berkeley is.

So planning for this current phenomenon of new, young K-12 students in the short-term seems very appropriate to be able to step back and assess both if this increased population will continue, and then, if so, what will be the most logical choice of buildings to house them in–considering the wider educational picture including adult education.

Thank you in advance for your efforts in dealing with this complex situation.

 

Christina Tworek

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2 Responses

  1. Christina,

    We are appalled that the Governor has cut all funding for Parent Education. Our program here in El Monte was begun in 1936 and has proven to be especially successful. These pre-schoolers learn side-by-side with their caring adult family member(s).

    This program has been the pathway to success in Kindergarten and beyond.

    To cut the funding is unacceptable.

    Esthela Torres de Siegrist V.P. El Monte Union High School District Board of Trustees

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. While it is encouraging that the decision on the use of Berkeley Adult School will at least be delayed, it is amazing that this conversation is even taking place in an era where increased awareness and focus on the needs of adult learners is taking place. It is ironic that after attending a training session at Berkeley Adult in September I remarked to several administrators and colleagues that this was a district which really had their act together and the needs of adult learners in mind. A spacious, well-equipped campus with a multitude of adult resources in the same place is something to be envied. We in Salinas wish that we could recover our former facility, of which we are now just a tenant, which was farmed out to several district alternative education programs, all of which compete for the inadequate space available. This leaves me as an ESL coordinator with the need to send new students equipped with maps to various locations we rent or borrow hoping they will arrive at their destination (and some never do). All I can say to Berkeley and to others who are challenged by facilities use questions is that once you lose it, it is difficult or impossible to ever get it back. On our list of priorities, facilities is number one and is expected to be so for the foreseeable future. Learn from us. Fight for your space.

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