Being a Part of the Rally at the State Capitol

BY RIE SHINOHARA, STUDENT AT SAN MATEO ADULT SCHOOL

  Image by Cemile Ozturk, San Mateo Adult School student

Image by Cemile Ozturk, San Mateo Adult School student

When I first arrived at San Mateo Adult School, there were many new students in the lobby waiting to be registered. I could easily get in a class after I paid $30 fee for the semester. Later, the cost of going to this school became free, and one day, I heard that modern office technology classes became free, too. I thought that some people must have played an important role to waive fees from students; however, I did not think through how they did it. I assume that once students are in the school system, they take it for granted that their seats are secured and no further action is needed.

As I have worked as a volunteer to assist new student registration process for the last two years, I noticed how many people need more education to live in the United States. Last few semesters, classes got full quite quickly, and several of the scheduled registration dates were cancelled. There were waiting lists, and I knew some students who were dying to get into particular classes. I felt a growing need for adult education, and there was a chance to express my thoughts.

On April 9, I was at the capitol of the state, Sacramento. More than 50 students and some faculty members from San Mateo Adult School headed for a rally for adult education that was organized by the California Council for Adult Education (CCAE). Before the rally began, we were trying to witness the moment when assembly members declared that the week was Adult Education Week. Third floor was literally full of people who wanted to appeal their own needs, and I could not even see how the room legislators were in looked like. I later heard that the declaration was not made on that day because the legislators had too many items on their agenda.

Right outside the capitol building, with abundant sunshine coming down to us, the rally started. Groups of people from all parts of the state gathered to support adult education, and I was surprised by the number of people at the event. Many people held signs that said we need adult education. Some people were in scrubs, indicating that they pursue medical profession through adult schools. The group of us from San Mateo wore red clothes, like we do every Tuesday at the school to show adult education matters. Our presence at the rally clearly showed that there is a need for adult education.

It was so sunny that Kevin McCarty, an Assembly Member, asked if it was okay for him to come into a shade with those gathered. He actually benefited from the adult education system because he was short on credits to graduate from his high school. It was somewhat encouraging to me that someone who now works as a legislator took some courses at an adult school.

From the beginning of the event, I was standing by a woman who anxiously held a palm-sized handwritten script in a small red folder. I instantly sensed that she was going to present her speech. In fact, the woman, Margarita Lewis, from Castro Valley Adult and Career Education, was the last person to share her story after two men who also spoke about their appreciation for adult education. When her name was called, she left my side, hastily asking her friend to take a video of her speech with her phone. Having witnessed her nervousness, I felt closer to her than any other speakers who came to the podium. She spoke about her situation, her family, and citizenship class at the school, where she prepared for the citizenship test and also made friends. After her speech, participants enthusiastically clapped, and her friends at the school came to her and gave compliments and hugs.

The rally reassured those gathered that the state of California needs places for people to study for their next stage. Many people need English to live in their communities, while some others need high school equivalent degrees or practical career trainings. Adult schools can serve people with so many different goals. For example, the first speaker Joshua Lang studies at Inland Career Center after serving way over 10 years in a correctional facility. The second speaker Erick Salas wants to work at a court after finishing his court reporting course at Sacramento City Adult School. If it were not for those schools, people would be having difficulties going from one to another phase of their lives.

Having been a part of the rally, I feel that I deeply understand the need for adult education. That was my first time to see students from other adult schools and hear their stories. Also, I had never seen people who are in charge of adult education, such as Carolyn Zachry, the head of adult education for the California Department of Education, and Kevin McCarty. It is crucial to talk with those who have power to make difference in adult education so that schools have more budget to serve a wide range of students’ needs. I would like to encourage other people to come to the rally next year to experience the feeling of being the part of the effort firsthand.

Take Action for Adult Education

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Engage your legislators, assembly members, and senators

There has not been a time in over 10 years when both legislative support and state funding have lined up so positively for adult education. Thanks to the recent work of our advocate, Dawn Koepke, and other key adult education supporters there is a state level interest in adult education. But that interest can quickly fade as other organizations also lobby for funding. Now is the time to engage locally. Visit your legislators. Call or email their offices. Speak with the staff. Let them know how important adult education is to your community and the students you serve. Listen to the CCAE key talking points.

Engage your consortia

Much of the positive feedback we receive is around the work that is being done collaboratively with partner organizations in our regional consortia. We have come a long way to build relationships, create pathways to college and career, leverage funds and resources, and bring back services to adult learners. This collaborative work is providing adult school students opportunities for advancement that were not present or clearly available before. In addition, significant investments into student support services have also been made across programs. We must continue these collaborative efforts, and other promising practices, and truly create the seamless pathways and accelerated learning programs that our students need and that our state needs. In this way we will continue to demonstrate the superior value of adult education. Also, plan to join us on CCAE's annual Legislative Day in Sacramento, April 9-10. This year we're planning an Adult Education Rally on the steps of the Capitol Building. Materials for local and Sacramento visits are on the CCAE website. You are free to print out all of these materials yourself. These materials are the ones referenced in the webinar sited below. Watch for additional information regarding Leg Day soon!

Engage your CCAE State Board. In order to best plan for the coming year, the CCAE State Board has embarked on a strategic planning process that will gather input from all aspects of the organization. A vital component of that input is your voice. Please take a few minutes to give us feedback. 

Engage your students

Of course, you already engage your students every day they are in class. But what I am talking about is engaging them a little deeper. What are their plans for the next year? What are their challenges? What jobs are they considering? What other schools are they considering attending? As we move into the world of increased accountability it is becoming more important to build strong relationships with our students so that we can better support them, possibly providing or connecting them to additional resources, but also better measure and report their successes. In many ways, those who engage with students frequently might be the most important component of the accountability system being developed.

Again, now is the time to engage. Next month might just be too late. Next week might be too late. Don't wait for someone else to stand up for you, your school, and your students. Now is the time to stand up and make your voice heard.

California Adult Education Students Succeed Program

Do you know an adult learner who meets the following criteria? The nominee:

  • is an adult with significant life responsibilities, such as those related to employment.
  • has made positive contributions to the community as an adult education student and/or as a community member.
  • has established and met life goals as a result of attending an adult education program.
  • has improved the life situation of self/others as a result of learning experiences.
  • has overcome difficult circumstances in order to pursue adult learning experiences.

Please consider nominating a deserving adult education learner for the California Adult Education Students Succeed Program, who will be honored at ACSA’s Leadership Summit in November. OTAN will produce a video that tells the learner’s story and highlights his or her accomplishments. In addition, OTAN will cover the cost of travel to the Leadership Summit in San Diego for the learner and the nominator, as well as tickets to the luncheon where the Students Succeed event will take place. This is also a wonderful opportunity to highlight the great work going on at your adult education agency. The Nomination Form is online. On the website, click the Nomination tab at the top of the page. The deadline to submit is Tuesday, May 1, 2018. If you have any questions, please contact Anthony Burik at (916) 228-2357 or aburik@otan.us.

President's Message

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I can't believe my first year as State President is almost over. So much has happened and is happening that it sometimes almost seems overwhelming, but I can honestly say CCAE and adult education are in a great situation. Were it not for the support of an excellent State Board and support personnel, I'm not sure I could be saying that. But we cannot rest yet (there will be time for that later). Now is the time for engagement, and I am calling on each of you for your support.

Engage your legislators, assembly members and senators. There has not been a time in over 10 years when both legislative support and state funding have lined up so positively for adult education. Thanks to the recent work of our advocate, Dawn Koepke, and other key adult education supporters there is a state level interest in adult education. But that interest can quickly fade as other organizations also lobby for funding. Now is the time to engage locally. Visit your legislators. Call or email their offices. Speak with the staff. Let them know how important adult education is to your community and the students you serve. Listen to the CCAE key talking points here

Engage your consortia. Much of the positive feedback we receive is around the work that is being done collaboratively with partner organizations in our regional consortia. We have come a long way to build relationships, create pathways to college and career, leverage funds and resources, and bring back services to adult learners. This collaborative work is providing adult school students opportunities for advancement that were not present or clearly available before. In addition, significant investments into student support services have also been made across programs. We must continue these collaborative efforts, and other promising practices, and truly create the seamless pathways and accelerated learning programs that our students need and that our state needs. In this way we will continue to demonstrate the superior value of adult education. Also, plan to join us on CCAE's annual Legislative Day in Sacramento, April 9-10. This year we're planning an Adult Education Rally on the steps of the Capitol Building. Materials for local and Sacramento visits are on the CCAE website here. You are free to print out all of these materials yourself. These materials are the ones referenced in the webinar sited below. Watch for additional information regarding Leg Day soon!

Engage your CCAE State Board. In order to best plan for the coming year, the CCAE State Board has embarked on a strategic planning process that will gather input from all aspects of the organization. A vital component of that input is your voice. Please take a few minutes to give us feedback here

Engage your students. Of course, you already engage your students every day they are in class. But what I am talking about is engaging them a little deeper. What are their plans for the next year? What are their challenges? What jobs are they considering? What other schools are they considering attending? As we move into the world of increased accountability it is becoming more important to build strong relationships with our students so that we can better support them, possibly providing or connecting them to additional resources, but also better measure and report their successes. In many ways, those who engage with students frequently might be the most important component of the accountability system being developed.

Again, now is the time to engage. Next month might just be too late. Next week might be too late. Don't wait for someone else to stand up for you, your school, and your students. Now is the time to stand up and make your voice heard. 

If you have any questions or need any help engaging, please do not hesitate to contact me, and I will do all I can to help you.

Steve Curiel
President, CCAE

We Need Your Help

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On February 9, President Trump signed a Continuing Resolution that includes significant increases in Non-defense Discretionary spending and offers the opportunity to increase funding for Adult Education, among other programs. Now, each Appropriations Committee must decide how to allocate its new funds. We believe that this is a unique opportunity to increase funding for Adult Education by $100 million (a roughly 17 percent increase) from about $582 million to about $682 million.

Please click HERE to write or to call your member of Congress in support of $100 million more for Adult Education. Three quick clicks is all it takes to raise your hand for Adult Education!

Advocacy Materials for 2018-2019

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To help you advocate for Adult Education as an investment in America’s future, California Council for Adult Education(CCAE) and California Adult Education Administrators Association (CAEAA) have assembled these advocacy materials. These materials should help you showcase your success stories, garner press coverage, and motivate stakeholders to support adult education by contacting their legislators.

AEBG Regional Consortium Data

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CCAE is compiling a directory of Adult Ed providers which will include primary contacts, program areas they deliver instruction in, and total number of students served. The goal is to strengthen local sharing of best practices by creating a directory of programs that is easy to use.
 
As you might remember, we had this before flexibility, and it was quite popular and useful. Please click HERE to complete the short form for your Adult Ed school to ensure it is included in the directory.  
 
If you need assistance, please contact membership@ccaestate.org to schedule an appointment with our dedicated staff who can help you or one of your lead staff complete the form in under 5 minutes.
 
We appreciate your help with this important work!

Sincerely,
  
Steve Curiel  
CCAE President

Raymond Lopez: Winner of the GoFundMe Scholarship

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Many members of CCAE and supporters of adult education came together to support adult education, with the intent of helping adults reach their goals and achieve their potential. As we know, adult education provides a pathway out of poverty into the middle class; it gives students a hand up, not a hand out. Please join us in congratulating Raymond Lopez, the winner of the GoFundMe scholarship fund!