Reflect, Regroup, Reorganize….PERSIST!


On the heels of the Governor signing the FY 19-20 budget, I find myself heavily reflecting on this budget cycle and what we could have done differently to achieve our goal of securing additional funding for adult education.  While the budget was positive in providing COLA at 3.26 percent (~$17M) for adult education again this year, it fell short of providing additional overall funding for adult education despite a roughly $22 billion state surplus.  I can only imagine how frustrated you all must be – I am as well, hence deep reflection on the process, our engagement, and what more we could have done and should do in the next cycle.  In this regard, a few thoughts right off the top: 

  • The bulk of the state’s roughly $22 billion surplus was considered one-time funding that would not continue to materialize in upcoming budget years;

  • This was Governor Newsom’s first budget and opportunity to push forward his campaign priorities at the state level; and

  • As is the case every budget cycle, there are a multitude of interests vying for funding for existing and new programs. 

As we’ve discussed in various forums over the last eight months, I felt very positive going into this budget cycle – we’ve been steadily building rapport in the Legislature, with Department of Finance and other stakeholders through countless formal and informal meetings not only just this year but over the last few years.  Ultimately, despite the significant state surplus we were not able to overcome the fact that much of that surplus was deemed one-time funds, limiting the Administration and Legislature’s willingness to commit to ongoing funding.  Further, Governor Newsom had a number of priorities on his agenda coming into office – early childhood education and childcare; expansion of and coverage for healthcare for all; housing availability and affordability; higher education; and more.  These were where the new Governor focused his budget priorities with those stakeholders deeply engaged helping to push them forward.  And although we were able to make significant strides in illustrating the interrelatedness of these priorities with adult education, limited funding growth projections for the coming years remained and will continue to be a hurdle. 

Nevertheless, I remain the eternal optimist about the future of adult education.  Sure, we have a few lessons learned that we will incorporate into our efforts to regroup this fall, but we are stronger than ever in terms of legislative and Administration support for the work you all do in serving our students across the state.  

First lesson – the benefit of local grassroots support and action cannot be underestimated.  The Governor and Legislature are listening…..the adult education field and our students just need to be louder and more visible than ever.  In this regard, we are regrouping and reorganizing our local engagement and grassroots plan to be stronger and more effective than ever.  Stay tuned for further details on next steps, but in the meantime I recommend EVERYONE do two key things immediately…. 

1. Sign up for the Governor’s email distribution list at  Now, I know…you’re a Republican or an Independent or you just aren’t his biggest fan….I get it – I really do!  That said, his campaign team that helped formulate his policy priorities and who continue to help shape his agenda regularly sends out calls for feedback from Californians in the form of surveys, requests for feedback, etc.  Use this outreach as your opportunity to tell his campaign team what is important to Californians – adult education and the students you serve! 

2. Sign up for your local Assemblymember’s and Senator’s email distribution list.   But Dawn, I don’t know who they are….  Well, that is the first problem.  Every single person in the adult education field and all of our students should know who their elected officials are at all times.  To find out whom they are, type in your home address at   The results will bring up your Senator and Assemblymember.  Click on their names to take you to their website and sign up for both members’ mailing lists.  These provide great updates on the activities in your district as well as provide information on upcoming coffee, sidewalk or district open house opportunities.  Everyone should make it a priority to attend at least two such events that are free to constituents and provide a great opportunity to build relationships with the member, their staff and ensure that adult education is on their radar in the district.  

Second lesson, CCAE, CAEAA and I need to do a better job of providing support to you all at the local level to ensure that we are engaging and having a stronger impact on legislators in their districts.  As part of our plan to be louder and more visible than ever, we are regrouping on our local engagement strategy and support model.  More detail to come soon… 

Third lesson, we need to better utilize our coalition partners and key legislative champions to help deliver our funding message and ask.  We have an army of willing supporters….we just need to better and more proactively utilize them… 

These are but a few lessons learned, but perhaps some of the more critical ones that need to be addressed and restructured in the short term as we ramp up our efforts this fall for the next budget cycle.  We also are working on upgrading and better employing our communication with the field.  Your active engagement is critical to our success and clearly we need to better communicate what would be most helpful at various junctures. 

All of this said, I can’t say for sure that the next budget cycle is a slam dunk.  Based on the latest projections, FY 2019-2020 will be a stable year; however, FY 2020-2021 is less certain and there are a number of signs the economy is on the verge of another downturn in out years.  This will inevitably present ongoing challenges with securing additional funding that would be a recurring commitment for the state.  This all layered on what is likely to be a contentious 2020 election cycle with California intent on setting itself apart from the current federal dynamics.  

We have our work cut out for us and yet we are growing politically stronger with each passing year.  It’s time to turn the heat up in an even more focused, strategic way.  We have all of the right talking points; we have all the right energy; we have the ears of those who matter; and we have a field and students who are desperate to support our efforts….now we just need to push forward….to not let this disappointing outcome define or depress us…’s time….to PERSIST!  Let’s do this…..2020 here we come!

Advocacy Spotlight–Cynthia Eagleton

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Whenever I see the red shirts in support of adult education worn by our students and faculty at the San Mateo Adult School on Tuesdays, I think of Cynthia Eagleton. Perhaps I do so because as a new administrator at San Mateo Adult School back in 2014, Cynthia first introduced herself to me wearing the red shirt and explained to me the school’s Tuesday tradition of “Wear Red in Support of Adult Ed.”  

The San Mateo’s Federation of Teachers Union, AFT Local 4681, established the tradition in the days of categorical flexibility, when adult school funding was slashed statewide and fiscal control of the budget taken out of the hands of the adult schools. The red shirts represented a concrete visual, a colorful show of the strength in numbers of the supporters of adult education in their fight to restore equitable funding and services to its students. 

Cynthia, herself, has served as the San Mateo’s Federation of Teachers Union Vice President and Secretary. She began her career at San Mateo Adult School in 1998. She says adult education was actually her second career, and over the years she has taught in the ESL, Parent Education, and Older Adult Programs and is currently teaching Distance Learning to ESL Students. 

As creator and editor of the San Mateo Adult School Blog, Cynthia has contributed immensely to building a positive school culture on our campus, and the blog has become a forum to inform and inspire students as well as to share their success stories. The blog also encourages student advocacy and civic participation, and includes articles on immigrant rights, fair and affordable housing, GREEN and environmental sustainability, and adult education policy. 

Advocacy, whether on campus or in the larger community, has been a passion for Cynthia. She credits the efforts and activism of her colleagues at San Mateo Adult School and her work with her fellow union representatives and leaders as catalysts for positive change. “It’s been a joint effort at our school,” she says.  

In support for adult education policy over the years, she has coordinated advocacy efforts with other educators throughout the state, including CCAE State Board and Bay Section leadership. Cynthia has worked closely with Kristen Pursley of West Contra Costa Adult School, editor of Save Your Adult School Blog, and with Karen Arthur of Oxnard Adult School, editor of Alliance for California Adult Schools. Cynthia also edits her own blog, Adult Education Matters. Cynthia believes that taking initiative and working with others increases the power and collective impact of advocacy. She has pushed to include teacher and student voices in the dialogue with educational leaders and government legislators. “Their voices are important in creating policy,” she says. 

Today, thanks to the tireless work of advocates for adult education, like Cynthia, direct funding for adult education has been restored under the California Adult Education Program. The red shirts, now worn at schools, conferences, and rallies in support of adult education across the state have become a powerful symbol of the impact of adult education advocacy, and they also serve as a reminder of the advocacy that still needs to be continued. 

Submitted by Eric Saavedra
CCAE Bay Section President
San Mateo Adult School

President's Message–Kathleen Porter

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Hello, CCAE, and happy summer to you all!

As we open the new CCAE fiscal and program year, I'd like to take a minute to acknowledge and thank the Adult Education icons who are transitioning off our CCAE Executive Board. It's hard to imagine a group of people more knowledgeable, strategic, and passionate about California Adult Education:

Sue Gilmore: recipient of this year's Donald A. McCune Award and likely record-breaker for holding the most CCAE state offices over the longest period of time - including president (twice), past president, vice president, secretary, and member-at-large. Sue remains active in all things adult ed - including the ACSA adult education council and CCAE state conference planning;

Bob Harper: one of the early architects of the California Adult Education consortia model and of Immigrant Integration metrics, Bob is a great thinker and visionary who always seems to ask the right questions at the right time. Like Sue, Bob remains a committed and willing advocate for adult education;

Darlene Nielson: recipient of this year's George C. Mann Distinguished Service Award and long-time staff member of the Division of Adult and Career Education in the LA Metro Section, Darlene's CCAE service dates back to 2000. She has held numerous offices at the chapter regional and state level and somehow always manages to maintain a positive attitude and keep her eye on the ball; and

Chesty Petersen: who has served as our association financial manager and who oversaw our return to financial strength after a terrifying low during the great recession and time of categorical flexibility. Chesty has been a CCAE member since 1976.

We are also saying goodbye to our friend and office manager, communications manager, and conference manager, Sharon Bonney and her Bonney Business Solutions Team. Sharon will be moving to a new role as the CEO of the national Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE)- a great opportunity for her and for us!

We are forever grateful to each of you for your service, leadership and vision!

Fortunately, Steve Curiel will be hanging around for the next two years as past president to ensure both a smooth transition and consistency in our future work - as will Ed Schmalzel, board member at-large, and, of course, the mighty Adriana Sanchez-Aldana, our Executive Director. Like me, getting to train for two years as president-elect before assuming the president position, Jim Turnbough served as our Assistant Financial Manager under Chesty; Jim will be taking on the role of Financial Manager this year. Rounding out the team are Vittoria Abbate, our capable Legislative Committee Chair, Dawn Koepke of McHugh, Koepke and Associates, our very skilled legislative advocate, and, last but not least, the talented Vladimir Tigno, our State Awards Chair.

We are all very pleased to welcome new members to our Executive Board; Sonya Ramirez (president-elect), Rob Lawrence (secretary), and Branka Marceta (member at large). Among the many significant accomplishments achieved during Steve's tenure as president is the development of our CCAE strategic plan.

As you may know, we've developed goals and action plans in five key areas: Membership; Advocacy and Policy; Programs and Services; Organization; and Brand and Reputation. Our CCAE team is looking forward to working with you on the implementation of that plan and ensuring that we are making steady, intentional progress toward our goals. We look forward to seeing you and hearing about your needs and about all of the great things that you're doing in your area. We know that as a system, California adult education is what it is today, because of you and your service to our students.

Very gratefully,

Kathleen Porter

Your CCAE President

CCAE Business Meetings in Irvine, California

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CCAE Executive Board Planning Meeting

  • Thursday, July 11, 2019, Hotel Irvine

  • 12:00 pm: Executive Board Lunch

  • 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Executive Board Planning Meeting

  • 6:00 pm: Dinner


Executive Board Business Meeting

  • Friday, July 12, 2019, Hotel Irvine

  • 8:00 am – 12:00 pm: Executive Board Business Meeting

  • 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Lunch and planning with State Leg Chair and Government Advocate

  • 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm: State Legislative Committee and Strategic Plan Committee Meeting

  • 6:30 pm: Dinner at Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine


State Board Meeting

  • Saturday, July 13, 2019, Hotel Irvine

  • 8:00 am – 9:30 am: New State Board Members review of State Handbook (EB members to be assigned chapters)

  • 10:00 am – 3:00 pm: State Board Meeting (lunch at 12:00 pm)

If You Love Adult Education, Please Take Action for the $100 Million Increase



Click HERE to take action right away.

As we continue to review and think about the implications of the May Revise we are hearing a lot of concern and confusion about where we are now and what we need to do next. Here are a couple of comments to explain where we are and next steps for the field.

Why did Adult Ed get a reduction of $1 million when there is more revenue in the state?

The $1 million reduction corresponds with the independent COLA calculation that is tied to a number of variables. One variable is the national Implicit Price Deflator for state and local governments. This variable was released late April and was lower than expected and results in a decrease in the COLA calculation from 3.46% to 3.26%, or about $1 million from the $18 million projected in the January proposal. That’s still an overall increase of $17 million to Adult Ed and we appreciate that but it is not enough.

What happens now?

The legislature will soon produce their budget proposal which will then be negotiated with the Governor against his May Revise. They will negotiate over the next few weeks and come up with a final budget by June. This is our last opportunity to make our strong argument for an increase of $110 million that is based on real costs and challenges that Adult Ed is facing. Your local legislators (assemblyperson and senator), regardless of what committees they sit on need to hear from you and your students now. It comes down to who’s voice is strongest. I know we are strong!

So how can I help?

Use the link below to call (or send a message if you are uncomfortable calling) your legislators. Ask your students to to do the same. Tell your legislators how important Adult Education is for your students and their family. Keep calling until they give you an answer. Either, I will ask for more funding for Adult Ed or I will not ask for more funding. A “we support Adult Ed” is not good enough. We respectfully ask to know what they are going to do. Keep your demeanor humble but firm.

Key points to make:

  • Adult Ed is asking for an increase $110 million to address real challenges that are resulting in the reduction of programs and services to students and thereby keeping the California Dream of becoming real for thousands of Californians.

  • The Governor and legislature are strong supporters of early childhood education and the Governor states early childhood education is “one of the best investments the state can make.” However, you can’t have early childhood education without the involvement of the parents. And Adult Education serves the parents who are in the worst position to help their children due to their low academic skills, low English skills, poverty, etc. Our students and their families are the population the Governor and legislature keep talking about. Don’t forget to help the parents help their children.

  • The Governor states “the idea that every person can achieve a better life, regardless of where they start out-is central to who we are as Californians. As elected representatives of the people, it's our job to make the California Dream real once more.” Adult Ed is helping hundreds of thousands of student and their families realize the California Dream but we are losing ground because of stagnant funding.

Click HERE to take action right away!

The legislators need to hear it from their constituents (YOU) that this funding is vital to them and impacts their districts in significant ways.

Thank you!

Call to Action for "The Final Countdown"


Write a Letter

Make a Call


  • Call your local legislators to support our Adult Ed “ask” for $110 million in funding in 2019-2020!

  • Ask your K-12 Superintendent and School Board to contact your local legislators as well!

  • Ask your family and friends to join in “The Final Countdown” Red Letter Week Call-to-Action!

CCAE Membership Survey- We Greatly Value Your Feedback!

As you know, CCAE is a membership organization; therefore, ensuring that members perceive value and benefits from their membership is of paramount importance to us as an organization. To that end, last year, CCAE adopted a new five year strategic plan. Membership is one of the key goal areas of that strategic plan. The plan calls for us to do an annual membership survey. I’m pleased to announce that our first annual membership survey is ready to launch here at our State Conference! We strongly encourage you to participate in the survey … and to help us make CCAE even stronger.  

Click the link below to fill out the survey:

CCAE History–Celebrating 75 Years

The Mission of CCAE


As we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the California Council for Adult Education (CCAE), let's take one last look back at a bit of our history. If you'll remember, last month we took a look at the structure of CCAE. This month, the Mission:

CCAE has always focused on promoting professional standards for adult educators and influencing legislation that protects and promotes Adult Education in California.

One of CCAE's major task is to keep a vigilant watch on legislation that affects the Adult Education community in California. By communicating with, and keeping our Assemblyman and Senators informed of Adult Education needs, we can foster better legislation for Adult Education.

The California Council for Adult Education is people working together for the advancement and continued professionalization of Adult Education in California. CCAE is unique among education organizations in its breadth of membership. Our members are the practitioners of Adult Education: Teachers, administrators, counselors, classified support staff, students and community.

Mission Statement

The mission of the California Council for Adult Education is to take a leadership role in promoting adult education, providing professional development, and effecting change to best serve the needs and interests of adult education, the CCAE membership and the people of California.

With a starting membership of 244 in 1944, to the nearly 3,000 members today, we continue to be guided by these words:

"To all of you who fought a noble battle and won a creditable victory goes the thanks and gratitude of all people who believe in adult education. Adult education would have been seriously hurt this year if it had not been for the united efforts of the California Council for Adult Education, the California Teachers Association, the California Association of Adult Administrators, and thousands of interested adults and citizens."

Our struggles are not over. Undoubtedly additional attempts will be made to curtail the finances and the programs of adult education. Your membership and the memberships of all your associates are needed now to continue the fine work of the legislation committee and your officers. Let us not wait until the crisis is upon us. We must act now."

Dr. George C. Mann
October, 1953
From the Council News (forerunner of the Communicator) 

This information was condensed from the CCAE State Leadership Handbook, 2018-2019. Most of the information was researched by Steve Prantalos (Executive Director, 1999-2013) and Virginia Donnellan, (President, 1995-1996).

I hope you will join me in celebrating the 75th anniversary of the California Council for Adult Education (CCAE). May we continue to work together in support of the adult students in the state of California for many years to come.

Best Wishes for a great month ahead---I hope to see you at LEG Day in Sacramento and the CCAE State Conference in San Diego!

Adriana Sanchez-Aldana
Executive Director
California Council for Adult Education (CCAE)

Teacher Spotlight

Geno Malkiewicz


After many years of teaching in secondary education, including six years in the Middle East, Elk Grove Adult and Community Education (EGACE) has been Geno’s professional home for the past five years. For the past three years, he has been teaching courses, using the Career Choices and Changes in EGACE’s bridge-to-post-secondary program, “Career and Academic Preparation” (CAP), Geno demonstrates exceptional skills and knowledge of college and career education through. He is a high-energy and innovative instructor whose passion for teaching and learning keeps his students engaged and moving toward the goal of successful transition into post-secondary education, training, and/or a career. He teaches his students how to explore their options to meet their education, career, and lifestyle goals; develop professional and computer skills; and how to use new financial tools to improve their everyday life. He has presented at various conferences and training and has consulted with several adult education agencies and community colleges around the state to provide resources and support for their college and career readiness programs.

The majority of Geno’s students successfully complete the program, and they have reported back to him that they have enrolled in community college or Sacramento State University and are working toward their goal of earning post-secondary degree; they have obtained jobs working for the state of California, as well as careers for which they trained and/or worked in their native country. They have formed cross-culture support groups while in class, and they continue to support one another even after they have completed the program. One of his students, who was living in a homeless shelter with her two teenaged children during the time she was attending the class, is now living on her own and has started a catering business. Both of her children are now enrolled in a community college in Sacramento. Another former student got a job working at the State Chancellor’s Office. After 18 months of employment, she was twice promoted and receives full health benefits, a full retirement package, and 401K/457 plans.

Geno also works at the Folsom-Cordova Adult School as a transition specialist. In this role he meets with students to assist them as they prepare to move from adult education into post-secondary education, career training, and/or a career.

Submitted by the CCAE Northern Section

In Memoriam


Paul Shatswell, Principal of Pittsburg Adult School passed away Sunday, March 24th. He had been principal at Pittsburg Adult School since May 2018.

His family and his Pittsburg USD colleagues have arranged for an opportunity to gather with Paul's family, friends and colleagues to honor Paul's life.   

Here are the specifics: 

What: Celebration of Life
Date: Friday, April 5th, 2019
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location:  Pittsburg USD Creative Arts Center
Pittsburg High School
250 School Street
Pittsburg, CA 94565

In addition, the Pittsburg Adult Education Center (PAEC) is collecting cash contributions or grocery gift cards to help offset the costs for the care of Paul's youngest three boys (6, 12 & 13 years old). If you are interested in making contributions to this fund, please contact Lisa Williams (Accountant), Pittsburg Adult Education Center (PAEC), 1151 Stoneman Avenue, Pittsburg, CA 94565.  Lisa can also be reached at 925-473-2403 (direct line).  The main number at PAEC is 925-473-2400.

2019 CCAE State Conference Overflow Hotel



A dedicated website is now available to reserve rooms for 2019 CCAE State Conference on April 25-27, 2019 in San Diego, California at the Hilton San Diego Airport/Harbor Island. Please note that the Hilton San Diego Airport/Harbor Island hotel is located 0.8 miles (16 minute walk) from the conference hotel.

Book online or call 1.800.445.8667 and use Group Code: CCAE.

Student Success Story: Xiaoyi Yi Li

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Xiaoyi Yi Li was born in the province of Guangdong in China. Her father was a teacher and the inspiration for Xiaoyi Yi to become a teacher as well. Growing up, she always enjoyed school and started learning English in middle school. She was a top student and received numerous academic awards. Xiaoyi Yi became an elementary school teacher and taught in China for six years, then resigned to emigrate to the United States in 1999.

She had met her husband when they were in China, but he and his family had also emigrated to the United States and they were married in California. Xiaoyi Yi was anxious to continue her education in America.  She recalls arriving in California on a Friday, going to an amusement park that weekend, and registering for ESL classes at the Rosemead Adult School on Monday. She was put on wait list, so she decided to enroll in evening classes at Rosemead High School where she was placed in ESL Level 1 (Beginning Low). She was later called by the Rosemead Center where she was reevaluated and placed into Connie Villaruel’s Intermediate-Low class in the morning and Carmen Garcia’s ESL Level 3 class in the afternoon. Xiaoyi Yi finished all levels of ESL, completing the program in 2001.

Xiaoyi Yi’s next step was the High School Independent Studies Program which she completed in 2003. At the same time, she was working on her high school diploma, Xiaoyi Yi was taking classes at Pasadena City College where she obtained both an Associates of Arts and Associates of Science degrees with a major in Applied and Liberal Arts Studies.

In 2001 Xiaoyi Yi was hired as a part- time Adult Education Assistant. After learning additional skills in the workplace, she moved to the ESL Resource Office where she assisted in registering and giving placement tests to students, scanning CASAS tests and assisting the Resource teacher with a variety of projects. During this time, Xiaoyi Yi had two children and like so many adult students, balanced family, home and work. In 2006 she became an election volunteer inspector for Los Angeles County.  In 2015, she was hired as a Para Educator for the ESL Department where she helps students in the Beginning Literacy class. She gives educational support to students and prepares teaching materials for teachers.

Xiaoyi Yi is a lifelong learner who continues taking classes at El Monte- Rosemead Adult School and is certified in several CTE pathways, including Accounting Fundamentals, computer certifications at the expert level, and is currently in the Administrative Assistant pathway.

What impresses Xiaoyi Yi most about adult education is the dedication of the students, especially the effort the older adults make to come to school every day, and how happy students are to be there. Xiaoyi Yi is very happy to help students with all of their needs and truly enjoys giving them the same kind of encouragement her teachers had always given her.

As part of her commitment to adult education, Xiaoyi Yi became of member of CCAE. Whenever there is an event or fundraiser, she is there to help translate for the ESL Beginning Low students and helps them access resources to pay for books, public transportation or get medical help.