Adult Education Field Update Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Budget & AB 2098

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On behalf of CCAE and CAEAA, thank you for your engagement to help move adult education forward this year. We have made tremendous strides through the budget process this year and are excited about the prospect of moving forward our first policy bill in years. More specifically, the FY 18-19 budget included a number of the key asks we included in our priorities framework including:

  • $21.6 million to reflect a cost-of-living adjustment for 2018-19 and 2017-18
  • Renames the Adult Education Block Grant as the "Adult Education Program"
  • Includes trailer bill language providing a cap on the indirect rate that may be charged to an adult school or community college at 5% or less

Additionally, the Governor and Legislature included the following additional provisions:

  • As a condition of receiving state or federal funds, adult education providers must document that they are participating in their regional planning consortia and report adult education services and funding
  • $5 million for a data sharing platform
  • Additional budget bill language to require that up to $500,000 be used to contract with an external entity to survey adult schools on the fees being charged for different categories of courses, and an average per student cost of adult education
  • Trailer bill language to specify that adult education providers must assign statewide student identifiers (SSID) for students without social security numbers

Unfortunately, we were not granted additional funding above COLA in this budget cycle. There was appreciation expressed for the lack of growth in funding but given competing priorities and the fact that the Legislature doesn't feel as though adult education has sufficient data to demonstrate the need and outcomes associated with the funding currently in place, much less support the ask for new, additional funding. Also, not included was our proposal to include immigrant integration metrics in the adult education framework.

As you may know, the current adult education framework provides for academic literacy and career/workforce-based outcomes and metrics. The framework does not, however, provide metrics to measure progress and outcomes for immigrant and refugee students who may not have the competencies as of yet to measure up against those metrics. Adult schools already report such outcomes based on EL Civics; however, they are not currently recognized by the state. This leaves adult education providers without the tools to demonstrate to the state the great work they are doing with immigrants and refugees beyond strict academic literacy and workforce outcomes, much less recognizing metrics to substantiate the resources spent supporting these students. Additionally, as it relates to our push for additional funding for adult education overall, we are hindered by the inability to substantiate the need when current statutes do not officially recognize EL Civics metrics that demonstrate outcomes for these students. While these metrics are reported for the purpose of WIOA, they are not recognized nor used for state purposes.

Although the metrics were not incorporated as part of the budget, the administration indicated support for pursuing incorporation of such metrics as part of the policy process. As such, we moved quickly to identify an author and legislative vehicle in order to meet the legislative deadlines and have them enacted this year. Having worked with Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) on the issue as Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education, we approached the member as well as Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction, to carry the bill and were pleased to have them accept. In the last couple weeks, we gutted and amended AB 2098 to this end, and it is now moving forward in the Senate with unanimous, bipartisan support. The next stop - Senate appropriations committee.

Over the course of the last year, in particular, there has been a lot of discussion, support, and concerns raised about incorporating such metrics and what they would entail. In this regard, we've developed the attached overview document that provides good insight into the metrics, EL Civics applicability and attempts to dispel concerns about their incorporation and the perception of additional work and responsibility. Additionally, we are working with the field and other stakeholders on further refinements to the bill to ensure a workable, seamless approach going forward.

We hope you'll join us in support of AB 2098. We'll continue to keep you posted on its progress. In the meantime, if you have any questions, concerns or if you would like additional information, please see the attached overview and feel free to contact me (here) to discuss further. Thank you!

Dawn Koepke 
Legislative & Government Budget Advocate
McHugh & Associates
dkoepke@mchughgr.com