Reflect, Regroup, Reorganize….PERSIST!
July 11, 2019
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 https://www.gavinnewsom.com/. 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 http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/. 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…..it’s time….to PERSIST! Let’s do this…..2020 here we come!
Call to Action!
May 2, 2019
We need the help of all our CCAE members…administrators, instructional and classified staff as well as students, to let our state legislators know how important it is that our “ask” of $110 million is critical to California Adult Ed.
What we need now is a coordinate effort to garner the support of legislators who sit on key committees that will develop the legislative side of the budget proposal for 19-20 that will then be negotiated with the Governor’s office against his proposal. What we are asking is for them to commit to asking their respective chairs to include the $110 million in their committee’s budget asks.
The legislators need to hear it from their constituents (YOU) that this funding is vital to them and impacts their districts in significant ways.
Please see basic information in the PDF entitled “Red Letter Week” from San Mateo Adult’s Cynthia Eagleton. It contains templates for student letters as well as other documents as resources.
View the list of key legislators who we need to be contacting with this message.
Legislative, Budget, and Advocacy Update
April 30, 2019
CCAE’s Legislative and Budget Advocate, Dawn Koepke, presented this Legislative, Budget, and Advocacy update at the 2019 CCAE State Conference in San Diego, California, Highlights include the latest activity surrounding legislative and budgetary activities of importance to adult education.
URGENT: TAKE ACTION TODAY AGAINST PROPOSED BUDGET CUTS
March 15, 2019
The administration just released its FY 2020 budget proposal, which seeks to cut domestic spending 5% below FY 2019. However, the proposed cuts are not made evenly across the board, as the administration is seeking increases for some programs – including $8.6 billion to complete the southern border wall, while making draconian cuts to other programming.
Programs within the jurisdiction of the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee were particularly hard hit with HHS and Education programs each proposed to be cut by 12%, along with a 10% cut to DOL.
Unfortunately, the administration also proposed to cut adult education by $156 million (24%) in their FY 2020 budget request. The good news is that the administration’s budget proposal was dead even before arriving on Capitol Hill today and key Congressional Members in both parties have indicated that they would like to negotiate a two year deal to raise the overall discretionary spending levels (or “caps"). Republican Members are particularly interested in making significant new investments in defense programs, while Democrats are pressing for more overall funding for domestic programs.
Even if the administration’s budget proposal is not being taken seriously, it is a shot across the bow to adult education. We have been working for the past three months to educate Members of Congress about the importance of adult education funding in FY 2020 and this proposal only reinforces the importance of our collective effort this year. Please find attached a copy of the department’s FY 2020 budget proposal for key education programs.
2018 Legislative Session Officially Comes to a Close, Governor Signs Sponsored Bill
October 11, 2018
As of September 30th, the 2017-18 legislative session officially came to an end with the Governor taking final action on the bills sent to him by the Legislature before they adjourned on August 31st. The issues debated this year were diverse and, at times, controversial ranging from wildfire liability to privacy to sexual harassment and more. Impacting much of the debate and shaping policy proposals were actions taken at the federal level by the Trump Administration and also by the #MeToo movement. In the final weeks of the legislative session, hundreds of bills were heard and ultimately, many received enough support to pass. Further, this session was Governor Brown's final round as he moves towards the end of his fourth and final term as governor.
In terms of a historical perspective, since 2011 Governor Brown vetoed 10.7% to 15% of the bills he was presented. This year's totals were at 1,016 bills signed and 201 vetoed, with his highest veto rate ever at 16.5%.
Among the many bills signed this session was CCAE and CAEAA's sponsored bill, AB 2098 (McCarty), related to immigrant integration. You will recall that the proposal was originally part of our FY 18-19 Budget framework along with increased funding, instituting a COLA, changing the term "grant" in AEBG and addressing the inequities in the indirect rates. As shared with the field in our July update, the Department of Finance, Administration and budget committees ultimately decided the issue needed to go through a policy process rather than a budget process. Hence, we moved quickly to identify authors in Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento)(Chair, Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education) and Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond)(Candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction). Both members were a pleasure to work for and wholeheartedly supported moving the bill forward.
Fortunately, there was widespread, bipartisan agreement that instituting immigrant integration metrics into the Adult Education Program, as applicable, made sense to ensure the needs and outcomes of our immigrant and refugee students who may not yet measure up against the Program's current academic literacy and career progress metrics were explicitly accounted for going forward. As you all know better than anyone, serving immigrant and refugee adults in need of English language skills has been at the core of adult education since its inception. Immigrant and refugee students come to adult schools to develop literacy, and in doing so, gain cultural competency and literacy more broadly defined as health, financial, digital literacy, parenting and family literacy, and civic engagement, all also critical to successful transition to college and careers.
To be clear, AB 2098 is permissive and applies as applicable for adult schools and community colleges. It seeks to address the lack of metrics for these students in the Program by incorporating immigrant integration metrics consistent with English Language Civics ("EL Civics") and associated Civic Objectives and Additional Assessment Plans (COAAPs) that are already in use for federal WIOA reporting purposes into the Adult Education Program. Doing so will help preserve and ensure access and support for these students who are most in need of the programs and services offered in adult education by providing the tools for the students and adult education providers to demonstrate outcomes and progress for these students. Also of note, while permissive as applicable, the language also provides flexibility for those adult schools, community colleges and partners who are collaborating and pushing the boundaries of the EL Civics to be able to do so for the benefit of their students.
At the end of the day, the Legislature wholeheartedly passed AB 2098 with unanimous, bipartisan support and no "NO" votes. The bill was subsequently sent to the Governor who signed the bill on September 26th.
Kudos to you all for your support, letters and overall assistance in pushing the bill to the finish line - this is a significant victory for you and for the students we serve. And thank you to San Jose City Mayor Sam Liccardo, San Jose - Evergreen Community College District, ACCE, ALLIES, ACSA, CATESOL, CFT Local 4681, the California Immigrant Policy Center, Chinese for Affirmative Action and many other organizations across the state who provided support and grassroots engagement. Congratulations!
For more information on AB 2098, please see http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB2098.
Looking Ahead to 2019, Moving Adult Education Forward
It is that time of the year when CAEAA and CCAE begin formulating priorities for the next budget cycle and legislative session. As you know, it is an election year with not only a host of changes in legislative offices possible but also changes in important statewide offices such as for Governor and Superintendent of Public Instruction. While it will be some time yet before we are able to fully understand the new electeds'' priorities, we must get started on determining our own priorities for adult education to continue to move us forward. In this regard, we would welcome feedback from the field on policy and budget proposals you would like to see considered for action in 2019. Some of the issues we are already considering include additional funding in the budget, legislation to address the challenges and reciprocity for credentialing of teachers, Education Code changes, career technical education investments and fees, and more. If you have ideas about these issues or others you'd like to have considered by both boards, please share with us no later than October 15th. While we have some time, we must begin evaluating the proposed priorities, determining which to move forward in 2019, prepare language and materials, and begin reaching out to the Department of Finance, Legislature and stakeholders to ensure the smoothest path to success we can hope to achieve.
We thank you for your engagement and look forward to another productive legislative and budget year ahead in support of adult education!
End-of-Year Legislative Report for Adult Education
July 14, 2018
The end-of-year report on the implementation and effectiveness of the Adult Education Program - formerly the Adult Education Block Grant Program (AEBG) - in 2016-17 now is available online.
Check out the report for state-level data on student enrollment, outcomes, skill gains, demographics and other data reported under the new adult education data and accountability metrics. In the 2016-17 program year, adult education programs in California served 695,162 unduplicated students, with the largest number of them enrolled in English as a second language/civics programs, followed by adult secondary education programs.
Adult Education Field Update
Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Budget & AB 2098
July 3, 2018
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 to discuss further. Thank you!
Legislative & Government Budget Advocate
McHugh & Associates
Moving Adult Education Foward
CAEAA and CCAE are well positioned to move adult education forward into FY 18-19 and in doing so strengthen access to all. As in years past, we are putting forth credible, reasonable and workable priorities for consideration as part of the budget and legislative processes.
MOVING ADULT EDUCATION FORWARD INTO FY 18-19
With the arrival of 2018, we find Sacramento filled with anticipation....the return of the Legislature from interim recess, the introduction of new bills, the last chance for 2-Year bills introduced and still in their house-of-origin from 2017 to remain active, and the widely anticipated release of the Governor's FY 18-19 Budget Plan. What also makes 2018 a year of anticipation is the fact that it is also a significant election year in California with statewide as well as legislative offices up for vote. Election years typically evoke a mixture of excitement and uncertainty and this year is no exception - will politics win over policy? Will candidates supporting causes near and dear to our hearts win their races? Who will be our next Governor? How will recent scandals affect the budget and legislative process this year, particularly in light of the loss of the Assembly's supermajority?
So many questions.....so few answers....
Nevertheless, CAEAA and CCAE are well positioned to move adult education forward into FY 18-19 and in doing so strengthen access to all. As in years past, we are putting forth credible, reasonable and workable priorities for consideration as part of the budget and legislative processes. The priorities are based on feedback from the field and include the following:
Establishing a statewide indirect rate under the Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG) capped at 5% or less
Increasing AEBG funding and establishing an AEBG cost of living adjustment (COLA)
Establishing performance-based funding for communities of need
Building upon and incorporating immigrant integration metrics into AEBG
Revising the term "Grant" in AEBG
Establishing a common fee policy for Career Technical Education (CTE)
positive fiscal outlook
With the positive fiscal outlook released by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) this fall and the state's strong interest in protecting and providing pathways for immigrants, we feel strongly that this is our year and these priorities would make a positive difference in the ongoing AEBG work. Further, leadership from both CCAE and CAEAA participated in a number of meetings this fall with the Department of Finance (DOF), LAO, Legislature and other stakeholders to discuss these priorities and begin our push to have them incorporated into the budget in the FY 18-19 cycle. While nothing is as of yet a sure thing, these priorities were positively received and there was acknowledgement that they were indeed credible and reasonable. That said and as noted by the LAO and Legislature, the Governor's fiscal projections are often more conservative in January than what the LAO and Legislature might project. Further, the uncertain impacts associated with federal policy and budget changes are likely to lead the Administration to be even more cautious. Nevertheless, at this point the fiscal situation is looking positive for not only fully implementing the Governor's Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) plan, an Administration priority, but also for pushing forth some additional state priorities.
increase AEBG funding by $110 million
Likely of most interest to the field is our proposal to increase AEBG funding by $110 million and establish an ongoing COLA. While we acknowledge the proposed increase would not yet put adult education funding at the pre-recession levels, we feel strongly that this is a reasonable proposal that is based in concrete and defensible numbers that will provide room for growth, addressing communities of need as proposed by Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and help to address ongoing cost increases. Furthermore, the proposal is a strategic one that proposes a lower infusion of revenue into AEBG with the compromise being adoption of an ongoing COLA as well. The COLA component will not only help with year-over-year cost increases, but it is also intended as a signal to business officials further solidifying AEBG funding as a long-term funding system as committed to by DOF.
incorporation of immigrant integration metrics into AEBG
Another key priority is the incorporation of immigrant integration metrics into AEBG, building upon the data already reported and collected through CASAS.
As you well know, serving immigrant adults in need of English language skills has been at the core of the K12 adult education mission since its inception. They come to adult schools to develop literacy, and in doing so, gain cultural competency and literacy more broadly defined as health, financial, digital literacy, parenting and family literacy, and civic engagement, all also critical to successful transition to college and careers. Unfortunately, however, the AEBG statute does not explicitly provide for these types of immigrant integration metrics relative to demonstrating outcomes and accountability for student success. In this regard, we are growing concerned that immigrant students who may not yet have the skills to demonstrate outcomes on the current statutory spectrum that focuses solely on literacy and career progress will eventually be left behind as AEBG entities seek to focus on programming for those students for which clear outcomes and progress can be measured and for which funding may eventually be prioritized.
While some of our own have expressed concern about moving too fast in this space, it is important to note that many metrics are already defined and data related to those metrics are actually already collected in part through CASAS and TOPSpro Enterprise. The key is tying the data being reported to the outcomes associated specifically with immigrant integration outcomes. Over the coming weeks and months we will be providing more detailed information regarding these metrics and how they will utilize and build upon data already being reported and collected. In the meantime, I strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself with the work of the Alliance for Language Learners' Integration, Education and Success (ALLIES) - an alliance serving the two-county Silicon Valley region of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties - that has developed an Immigrant Integration Pathway offering an innovative way to identify and measure the critical factors for successful immigrant integration. CAEAA and CCAE's very own Board Member Dr. Bob Harper and others in the local AEBG consortia were instrumental in working with ALLIES on the development of this Pathway.
On the CTE front, we have more work to do
Many of you will recall SB 173 (Liu, 2014) called for recommendations to be offered regarding the establishment of a common fee policy and perhaps elimination of fees altogether. While we've attempted to provide some feedback on the issue in recent years, the issue is complicated and inevitably a common fee policy would lead to funding deficits for adult schools absent an infusion of revenue to backfill lost fee revenue. Further complicating the fee discussion is the issue of federal funds and how they could be impacted by a change in the fee policy for adult schools. In this regard, we've noted our commitment to continuing to work on the issue. To that end, CCAE and CAEAA will be meeting later this month in Sacramento to have an in-depth discussion with both boards in an attempt to come up with recommendations that are workable and take all of the issues in to account.
We Have Our Work Cut Out for Us
In the meantime, we have our work cut out for us. While we are well positioned this year to make a good deal of headway on these issues, it will not come easy and without all of us doing our part on the grassroots (YOU!), advocacy (ALL OF US!), public relations and political fronts. In the coming weeks we will be providing you with talking points as well as sample letters, resolutions, etc. to use at the local level with your fellow K12 colleagues, Superintendents, School Board members, community based organizations, legislators, and more. This will absolutely need to be a full-court press to get us over the finish line. And in addition to our work together, CCAE this fall hired Kelli Reid and McNally Temple Associates, a Sacramento based public and media relations firm, to help us with getting our message out and building momentum. They've already produced and distributed a few pieces helping to pave the way and generate buzz regarding adult education and our priorities. We have a lot of big plans in store for the coming months....stay tuned...and please click on the hot links below.
January Budget Plan
In terms of next steps, the Governor will release his January Budget Plan next week (Wednesday, January 10th). Keep in mind, the budget summary that will be released is the tops-of-the-trees relative to his Plan. It may contain specifics regarding adult education or it may not, but if it doesn't please rest assured that isn't the end of the road. In our discussions with DOF this fall they're very much open to working with us this year and much of the work we will be moving forward will likely be contained within the budget trailer bills that will be released and revised weeks after the initial Plan summary is released. Adding further reassurance of DOF's willingness to work with us, I'm pleased to announce they will be joining us as a speaker at the CAEAA Conference in February along with the LAO, Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Chairman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Governor Brown's Director of Immigrant Integration Dan Torres, CDE's Carolyn Zachry and many more influential and dynamic speakers.
Finally, please stay tuned for a series of webinars we will be conducting to provide further detail on the priorities, insight on conversations and advocacy in Sacramento, and our plan of action.
We are setting our sights high for FY 18-19 and hope you're feeling the excitement and opportunity that we are!
Happy new year......let's get to work....strength in numbers!
2017 END OF SESSION WRAP-UP & A LOOK FORWARD TO 2018
As you may know, the legislature wrapped up the 2017 legislative session in the early morning hours of September 16th. Out of over 2,000 bills introduced this year, a mere 977 bills made it to the governor's desk by the end of the year. Of those 977 bills, Governor Brown vetoed 12.1% (118 out of 977 bills); the rest were signed into law.
However, many measures failed to pass out of the legislature and were either held in the appropriations committees or held on the floor of one house or another. While there were many controversial issues hanging in the balance at the end of session, there were some important, beneficial outcomes impacting adult education and the students we serve. Two key measures actively supported by CCAE and CAEAA included SB 68 (Lara) and AB 273 (Aguiar-Curry).
AB 273 by Assemblywoman Aguiar-Curry (D-Napa) clarifies that engagement in English language and high school or high school equivalency educational programs meets criteria for establishing eligibility for subsidized child care programs.
SB 68 by Senator Lara (D-Los Angeles) expands eligibility for the exemption from paying nonresident tuition at California's public postsecondary institutions established under the provisions of AB 540 (Firebaugh, 2001) to students who have completed three or more years of attendance or earned credits equivalent to three or more years of full-time credits at an elementary school, secondary school, adult school, and/or California Community College (CCC).
I'm pleased to report that both bills passed the legislature and were signed into law with CCAE and CAEAA support.
As you can imagine, both measures will have a significant positive impact on our adult education population, providing added support and pathways that were previously cumbersome, costly, and, at times, impossible to navigate and afford. Congrats to you, the field, for your support of the work we do at the state level to support important measures, such as these, that make a real difference in our students' lives. Attached are background documents on the measures intended to provide you with information to help you leverage these new laws for the benefit of the students you serve.
In terms of looking forward, we have our work cut out for us in 2018! Despite little progress being achieved in FY 17-18, we covered important ground educating the Department of Finance and the legislature on the outstanding issues to be remedied under the Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG). Overall things are going quite well. However, challenges remain with, arguably, the most noteworthy being the limited funding available to adult schools to support programs and access for a greater number of students in our communities. Moving forward, CCAE has hired a PR firm - McNally, Temple Associates - to assist and support the legislative and budget priorities in the FY 18-19 budget cycle. Their work will directly support K12 adult education providers, ramping up the promotion of the important role adult schools play in the AEBG system.
Additionally, we are close to finalizing an updated framework for FY 18-19 that will include the following priorities for the new year:
Indirect Rate Cap at 5% or less
Incorporating Immigrant Integration Metrics into AEBG
"Grant" in AEBG
Common Fee Policy
These priorities, and a laundry list of others, will guide our advocacy in the new year. That said, we are nothing without the strength in numbers that membership in CCAE and CAEAA provides. We released an advocacy plan earlier this fall (here), outlining the key activities to help support these priorities and lobbying efforts. We encourage you to review the advocacy plan again and provide as much feedback requested as soon as possible. Additionally, please keep us posted on your meetings with elected officials in your communities. Being aware of such meetings and being able to tie them in to the discussions we have at the Capitol can be powerful in helping to solidify support for our activities - tying the local work to the state work we are undertaking on your behalf.
Thank you for your help and support in 2017. Now, it's time to look ahead to 2018 and begin a fervent push for enhancements to the adult education system in California. There is strength in numbers!
Renewed Advocacy is More Important Than Ever!
What's Next? Renewed Advocacy More Critical than Ever!
Heading into year three of the Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG), adult schools and community colleges continue to make strides in collaborating and serving adult students in need for basic skills, ESL, citizenship, short term career training, and more. Unfortunately, however, that great work and the vital role adult schools play in the dual delivery system that is AEBG is not being sufficiently conveyed to the Legislature at the local level. As such, it would seem that adult education is again slowly sinking back in to the background to be the best kept secret again in education. This is problematic on many levels - particularly at a time when funding for adult schools is almost exclusively coming via AEBG and the resources aren't matching the needs in regions across the state.
The policy-makers need to know about K-12 adult education and the unique population we serve.
Further, as a result of the disconnected data and accountability systems between adult schools and our community college partners, three years in to AEBG we are having difficulty proving our successes. The inability to document our success and account for the over $1.5 billion over the last few years is resulting in mounting tension in the Capitol at a time when the Legislature should be scrambling to further invest in the adult education system under AEBG. Despite statewide adult education advocacy efforts this budget cycle, adult education was the only system that did not receive some semblance of a funding increase or COLA. This is highly concerning, particularly as we see the needs increasing statewide, immigrant communities desperately in search of safe environments to access training, homelessness skyrocketing, and sectors like healthcare in desperate search of adults who have skill sets provided for as part of adult education's short-term career programming. Support for adult education and AEBG should be a slam dunk and seen as a cost-effective, successful avenue by which to take advantage of pathways and opportunities to move adults in to postsecondary education and the workforce. Instead, tensions are mounting and we're feeling like we are back on the brink of tough times.
The good news - it's early and we're ramping up our advocacy efforts for the next year and budget cycle! However, we cannot do it alone - we need you! As we've discussed many times, success can be viewed in the context of a three legged stool - where grassroots advocacy, political engagement and lobbying come together is where success is found.
Over the past couple of months, the leadership of CCAE and CAEAA have put together an advocacy plan for FY 17-18 that will help promote adult education and specifically adult schools, paving the pathway for further investment in AEBG and better solidifying the critical dual delivery system that provides numerous on-ramps for adult students looking for pathways to postsecondary education and the workforce. The plan (here) is comprehensive - utilizing strategies that touch each leg of the stool to help ensure success. It will be a multi-faceted effort that will consist of state-based activities and those you will undertake at the local level. While I can appreciate how much you all have on your plate already, but the lack of visibility is a problem which could mean disaster for adult education if left to fester unaddressed. In this regard, your efforts at the local level will be a critical component of the success we all hope to achieve in the FY 18-19 budget cycle that will hopefully entail increased resources and a stronger AEBG dual delivery system.
So, what should you be doing now?
First, all adult schools should revise/create a fact sheet (one-page, back and front is okay) that provides an overview of your adult school, programs offered, students served, career pathway information, partnerships, regional consortium identification, etc. This needs to be completed by mid-September in preparation for state and local advocacy this fall. Upon completion, each adult school should send a copy to CCAE and CAEAA and prepare to include it in future packets for local grassroots advocacy efforts. See attached sample fact sheet, but feel free to develop something different that better suits your adult school.
Second, as we begin a new school year all adult schools should maintain some semblance of a list and/or headcount (can be informal) of students seeking services, but who were turned away due to capacity challenges as well as any information you may have about where/if they go somewhere else. Certainly the Annual Plans to be turned in this month will contain these data about unmet need and it is critical this information be highlighted in our advocacy as well. We've spoken at length the last couple of years about the fact that the current AEBG funding isn't sufficient to serve the needs; however, to date this has been merely anecdote. Sure, we have population data and demographics that help speak to the needs not being served, but we need better information regarding who actually comes to the door but is turned away due to a lack of capacity. If you are in an adult school that has spent your AEBG allocation and is turning away students because you cannot expand your capacity, your rough data on students turned away is critically important to receive.
Additionally as you know, this year we attempted to obtain a COLA to provide some meager funding cushion for adult schools whose costs have increased but AEBG allocation has not. We fully understand the rising costs will ultimately impact access and capacity at adult schools who may have - and some who already have - to ultimately cut classes in order to remain within budget.
Unfortunately, we've been chastised for asking for more resources when not all consortia have spent the allocation they've received. In this regard, we ask that you provide insight to CCAE and CAEAA about whether you've spent all of your AEBG allocation to date and why you've not if that is the case. Additionally, we need to know if you and those in your consortia have not spent the allocated AEBG resources, do you have a plan to spend it down in this budget year? Although each consortium reports what they have not spent, we need to know more specifically about what K-12 adult schools are doing and what they might need. Without being able to better understand what is really happening in the field and why some consortia and/or members are not spending their allocation, we cannot adequately respond to the criticism so as to help those who are spending their allocations to maximize access and programming for as many students as possible.
Finally, in the next two months, we ask that you do the following simple things:
All students, classified staff, teachers and administrators sign up for their local elected Senator's and Assemblymember's electronic newsletter. You merely go to the following site http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/, enter your home address, click on the members' links and sign up for their newsletters on their websites. These newsletters will provide information about what is going on in the district, including office and sidewalk hours when anyone from their district is welcome to drop in to say hello and get to know the member.
Identify and collect logos and names of your key partners (i.e. Board of Supervisors, school board members, community based organizations, workforce development boards, etc.). Include the list in an attachment to your adult school fact sheet and have them handy to use in upcoming letters, grassroots advocacy, etc.
If you meet with your elected officials, please let CCAE and CAEAA know by including the meeting and conversation information in the CCAE app under that legislator's tab.
If all adult schools tackled these few items in the next two months, we would be well on our way to the next steps in our advocacy plan. Your engagement and support is critical to paving the path forward for adult education to be a key component in the FY 18-19 budget next budget cycle.
We hope you are up to the task of being a critical partner in this effort. Ultimately, this is all focused on placing additional pressure to further support adult education in the Governor's January 2018 roll-out of the FY 18-19 budget package. Later this fall, we'll be coming back to you with talking points, specific member meet-and-greet details, PR activities, letter writing campaigns, and much more. Thank you in advance for your engagement - strength in numbers!