Going the Wrong Way –Danger Ahead!

18 Feb

According to California Ed Code all adults in the state are guaranteed a right to basic education.  Adults specifically have the following rights:

8500.  The Legislature finds and declares that adult continuing
education is essential to the needs of society in an era of rapid
technological, economic, and social change and that all adults in
California are entitled to quality publicly supported continuing
education opportunity, including the following:
   (a) The opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary
to participate effectively in today's economy and society.
   (b) Access to courses at the postsecondary level that are
foundations upon which successive academic or occupational knowledge
are dependent.
   (c) Participation in other courses designed to meet the particular
needs of the local community.

Recent events, however, have moved Adult Education into the pile of services that are optional. Only districts that want to offer adult education will do so. Others, including LAUSD, are contemplating sweeping adult ed funds into their general fund in order to shore up seriously underfunded K-12 programs. This has pitted the needs of adults against the needs of children into a war with no winners. The entire state loses. Without adult education options, where will the following things take place: Where will adults get their GED or adult diploma? Learn English Acquire trades and vocation? Become citizens? Seek academic remediation? Prepare for college? Learn skills necessary for employment? Augment their wage potential? Keep pace with technology and learn new computer skills? To my knowledge Ed Code itself has not been changed. Somehow the legislators, including Gov. Brown himself, neglected this important part of the code when Adult Ed was placed on the chopping block. It is time to move it back where it belongs, on its own protected line. Here is a recent article from the Daily News about the risks of ignoring and abandoning adult education. http://www.dailynews.com/education/ci_19946921#.Tzk_NayJatU.email As a state we are on a collision course with a dangerous future. We need to correct the direction of this wrong decision. Adults need adult education in order to participate in the state and local economy.  We cannot afford  to become a state where the right to a basic education ends at age 18.Without basic skills adults have no way out of poverty and they will end up being supported by the state anyway. The unintended consequences of this decision are mind-bending.  Support adult education in your local community. Let your school board know that their decision has serious consequences. As of this moment, the fate of adult education remains in the hands of school boards. I would like to see the control go back to the California Department of Education, where the right to basic education could be protected.

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4 Responses to “Going the Wrong Way –Danger Ahead!”

  1. Eric H. Roth (@compellingtalks) February 18, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    Your informative, even passionate, post places the peril of cutting adult education in the proper perspective. Thank you for fighting the good fight. They may not be victories to be won, but there are certainly important points to be made.

  2. Janet S. Johnson February 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Check out CA Supt of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s letter supporting adult ed: http://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/el/le/yr12ltr0210c.asp

  3. Loredana Carson February 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Yes, Supt Torlakson’s letter is very strongly in favor of adult education and I am very glad he wrote the letter but the state of CA has still left adult education in the hands of local school boards. In the face of the out of control fiscal crisis, many school districts take the stand that adult education is not part of their mission. My contention is that adult education is part of the state’s mandate and is implicitly guaranteed to citizens as much as K-12 education is guaranteed to those ages 5 – 18. Thank you for posting the letter.

  4. Tracy DiFilippis February 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    “To participate effectively in today’s economy….” Indeed this is the challenge that thousands of Californian adults are in today. Adult education provides a rich source of much needed skill acquisition in a broad array of industry sectors. It is about workforce and economic development on the macro level and about individual growth and development on the micro level. I loved the “Daily News” article on LAUSD. The stories of Kathrin and Ashely are powerfully poignant. I myself am a former West Valley Occupational School student who needed the benefit of adult education at a critical time of transition in my life. The education I received was pivotal in gaining entrance into a new industry sector that catapulted my life out of poverty. Now, twenty years later, the work I do today in the area of Human Services is based upon my enriching experience at WVOC. I cannot blow the horn loud enough for the importance of adult ed. Thank you for this post.

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