Legislative News

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!



WHAT IS EDUCATE & ELEVATE?

The 55,000+ adult education leaders stand united in a national campaign to move learning opportunities forward for all Americans to achieve economic mobility. If you are an adult educator stand with us in this educational campaign to help funders understand the value we bring to students, workers and businesses in contributing to social mobility and economic growth. If we educate, then we elevate.  Learn more >


Education Budget-Call to Action

The Trump administration's initial budget proposal, which was recently released, proposed a budget cut of 13.5% in the U.S. Department of Education for FY2018. While adult education was not specifically mentioned in this proposal, we anticipate that the complete budget, which will be released in mid-May, will include the cut of 13.5% for adult education along with most other education programs.
 
Given the tremendous harm that a cut of this size would cause to adult education programs and students across the country, the National Council of State Directors and COABE (Coalition on Adult Basic Education) are launching a national advocacy campaign to ensure that members of Congress do not approve this devastating cut.
 
The message for this campaign is NO CUTS IN ADULT EDUCATION. Each of us as adult educators, students, and friends of adult education have the responsibility to take swift and decisive action to ensure that the proposed cut is not enacted.
 
The campaign will be carried out through the advocacy networks set up by both organizations. Working together we can ensure that the voices of our students from across the country will be heard throughout the halls of Congress.
 
Earlier this year state directors and COABE identified key people from the adult education community in each state as the key contacts for this campaign. Those names have been added to the SPOC network contact list (if the person identified was not already a member).  
 
CALL TO ACTION
 
To be successful, we need to generate a massive outpouring of support for our provision. Our initial goals are for 500 contacts per Congressional district and 5,000 contacts per Senator (the number of contacts for Senators will range from 1,000 in smaller states up to as many as 20,000 in larger states). Please remember that members of the House and Senate want to hear only from their constituents.
 
This campaign will focus on contacts between adult education students, alumni of adult education programs, teachers and administrators, and friends of adult education with ALL MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE AND SENATE.
 
Contacts should be made via email or phone call. Click HERE to send an email and make a call to your legislator. Please send this link to others to participate in this important initiative as well.

We also encourage you to write to your legislators and to have your students do so.
 
All letters should be directed to the Washington, D.C. offices of the members of Congress. You will need to ensure that those mailing addresses are readily available to all groups that will be participating. Letters can be sent either by U.S. mail or by email, using the official website that each member of Congress maintains. Clicking on the member's website and the contact link will allow a person to write a letter that will automatically be sent to the member's office.
 
Outline for student handwritten letters: 
 
All student letters should include (1) the reason that the student enrolled in adult education. Examples might include the following: receiving a high school equivalency credential, improving literacy, math, or writing skills, or participating in job training. (2) what the student is planning to do when they finish the program. (3) The statement DO NOT CUT FUNDING FOR ADULT EDUCATION.
 
Letters from alumni of adult education programs should focus on how the program helped them get a better job, earn more money, help their children learn more effectively, and make them better citizens.
 
Letters from teachers can include some capsule summaries of the students that they are teaching and the statement DO NOT CUT FUNDING FOR ADULT EDUCATION.
 
Letters from program administrators can contain information about the outcomes of their local program (number of students gaining a high school diploma/equivalent, number of students going on to postsecondary education, number of students gaining quality jobs, etc.) and the statement DO NOT CUT FUNDING FOR ADULT EDUCATION.
 
Letters from friends of adult education, particularly business and industry representatives, should focus on the economic benefits of the adult education program to the community and to the specific business and the statement DO NOT CUT FUNDING FOR ADULT EDUCATION.
   
ORGANIZATION: In order to succeed, a state-wide group must coordinate this campaign. If you need help, we and COABE will help you create such a group.
 
TIMING: This campaign needs to start immediately, with the bulk of the contacts being made through the end of the school year in late May/early June. Given the slow pace of the budget through Congress it is possible that we will still be in this fight well into the fall.
 
HISTORY: History proves that advocacy works. We have faced similar challenges in the past and prevailed because we worked smart and worked together.
 
Help all our voices be heard by participating in the democratic process so that our elected officials make the right decision. This may well be the most important action we take this year in our role as adult educators.
 
As usual, please let us know how we can help, and thank you again for being an advocate for our students.


Legislative Resources

In the coming weeks leading up to Leg Day at the Capitol, we urge you to familiarize yourself with the following key talking points related to legislation and the Governor’s FY 17-18 Budget proposal and the proposed refinements we will be pushing for in this budget cycle.  This time is a great time to ensure all members are properly educated as we move through the legislative budget process and ultimately to a vote of the full Legislature in June.

Resources:


Call to Action

The Trump administration's initial budget proposal, which was recently released, proposed a budget cut of 13.5% in the U.S. Department of Education for FY2018. While adult education was not specifically mentioned in this proposal, we anticipate that the complete budget, which will be released in mid-May, will include the cut of 13.5% for adult education along with most other education programs.
 
Given the tremendous harm that a cut of this size would cause to adult education programs and students across the country, the National Council of State Directors and COABE (Coalition on Adult Basic Education) are launching a national advocacy campaign to ensure that members of Congress do not approve this devastating cut.
 
The message for this campaign is NO CUTS IN ADULT EDUCATION. Each of us as adult educators, students, and friends of adult education have the responsibility to take swift and decisive action to ensure that the proposed cut is not enacted.
 
The campaign will be carried out through the advocacy networks set up by both organizations. Working together we can ensure that the voices of our students from across the country will be heard throughout the halls of Congress.
 
Earlier this year state directors and COABE identified key people from the adult education community in each state as the key contacts for this campaign. Those names have been added to the SPOC network contact list (if the person identified was not already a member).  
 
CALL TO ACTION
 
To be successful, we need to generate a massive outpouring of support for our provision. Our initial goals are for 500 contacts per Congressional district and 5,000 contacts per Senator (the number of contacts for Senators will range from 1,000 in smaller states up to as many as 20,000 in larger states). Please remember that members of the House and Senate want to hear only from their constituents.
 
This campaign will focus on contacts between adult education students, alumni of adult education programs, teachers and administrators, and friends of adult education with ALL MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE AND SENATE.
 
Contacts should be made via email or phone call.  
Click HERE to send an email and make a call to your legislator. Please send this link to others to participate in this important initiative as well.

We also encourage you to write to your legislators and to have your students do so.
 
All letters should be directed to the Washington, D.C. offices of the members of Congress. You will need to ensure that those mailing addresses are readily available to all groups that will be participating. Letters can be sent either by U.S. mail or by email, using the official website that each member of Congress maintains. Clicking on the member's website and the contact link will allow a person to write a letter that will automatically be sent to the member's office.
 
Outline for student handwritten letters: 
 
All student letters should include (1) the reason that the student enrolled in adult education. Examples might include the following: receiving a high school equivalency credential, improving literacy, math, or writing skills, or participating in job training. (2) what the student is planning to do when they finish the program. (3) The statement DO NOT CUT FUNDING FOR ADULT EDUCATION.
 
Letters from alumni of adult education programs should focus on how the program helped them get a better job, earn more money, help their children learn more effectively, and make them better citizens.
 
Letters from teachers can include some capsule summaries of the students that they are teaching and the statement DO NOT CUT FUNDING FOR ADULT EDUCATION.
 
Letters from program administrators can contain information about the outcomes of their local program (number of students gaining a high school diploma/equivalent, number of students going on to postsecondary education, number of students gaining quality jobs, etc.) and the statement DO NOT CUT FUNDING FOR ADULT EDUCATION.
 
Letters from friends of adult education, particularly business and industry representatives, should focus on the economic benefits of the adult education program to the community and to the specific business and the statement DO NOT CUT FUNDING FOR ADULT EDUCATION.
   
ORGANIZATION: In order to succeed, a state-wide group must coordinate this campaign. If you need help, we and COABE will help you create such a group.
 
TIMING: This campaign needs to start immediately, with the bulk of the contacts being made through the end of the school year in late May/early June. Given the slow pace of the budget through Congress it is possible that we will still be in this fight well into the fall.
 
HISTORY: History proves that advocacy works. We have faced similar challenges in the past and prevailed because we worked smart and worked together.
 
Help all our voices be heard by participating in the democratic process so that our elected officials make the right decision. This may well be the most important action we take this year in our role as adult educators.
 
As usual, please let us know how we can help, and thank you again for being an advocate for our students.   


ADULT EDUCATION UPDATE

November 23, 2016

Important Dates & Deadlines

  • 11/30, Adjournment of the 2015-16 Legislative Session sine die
  • 12/5-2017, 2018 Session Begins
  • 12/6-1/2, Legislative Winter Recess
  • 1/10, Governor's 2017-2018 Budget Proposal Deadline

Thankful & Looking Forward...by Dawn Koepke, CCAE Legislative Advocate
 
The last four years together have been an amazing journey with you all in the K12 adult education community.  In this regard and during this week of thankfulness, I can't help but ponder the great strides we have made together to bring K12 based adult education back from the brink.  While still much remains to be done, we are better situated than we have been in a long time and it is in no small way thanks to all of you for your unending hope, passion, support, trust and leg work at the local level.  We would not be where we are today if it weren't for your passionate engagement for K12 based adult education overall and those students you serve.  My thanks to you all...
 
As we look forward to another budget cycle, we've been extremely busy behind the scenes.  While we certainly remain grateful for all we've been able to accomplish with the Administration, Department of Finance and Legislature, we know that we have more work to do to refine the Adult Education Block Grant and continue to strengthen K12 based adult education.  In this regard, we've put together the attached 2017 Adult Education Framework and Executive Summary describing the current state of adult education, ongoing challenges, issues yet to be resolved, and solutions for resolving them in the next year.  As you consider the solutions, you'll note they are not big, splashy changes.  Instead, they seek to build on what we believe is a solid foundation in need of some additional refinements.  At the core of these proposed refinements is our ongoing concern for access to K-12 based adult education.  As you well know, K-12 adult schools' primary (and often only) funding comes from the AEBG.  And while the AEBG provisions that provided funding to maintain capacity and access the last two years have been a good starting point, we are beginning to see erosion of that access as costs to run programs continue to increase and the number of adult students who need access to these programs also continues to increase.  The capacity in place in K-12 adult schools needs to be protected and expanded to come even close to meeting the demand for services to help adults achieve literacy, basic skills, and secondary completion in order to successfully transition to higher education and/or careers with family-sustaining wages. 
 
Unfortunately, however, with the beginning of a new economic downturn underway, projected to peak in 2018 (per DOF), we do not feel that it is achievable to obtain an additional, significant infusion of revenue into the AEBG - particularly with many consortia not having spent all they were allocated in the last fiscal year.  That said, we have been clear that without some level of additional resources the capacity that we've fought so hard to maintain will continue to erode.  In this regard, we are pushing strongly in the New Year for the establishment of a COLA for adult education.  While we understand this will not address the needs in full, we do believe this is a reasonable and timely request.  And based on feedback from DOF and the Legislature over the last year, we believe it may indeed be achievable this budget cycle.  We would also note that establishment of a COLA this early in the AEBG process will help provide an added measure of stability in out years - something we all should consider very positive. 
 
Other key issues we're planning to tackle in the next budget cycle include:
 

  • Revision of "Grant" in "Adult Education Block Grant;" 
  • Encouragement of greater transparency in funding;
  • SB 173 parameter recommendations for accountability, placement, other student outcomes, performance based funding, reciprocity, student identifiers, fees and more;
  • Increased CDE responsibility for adult education in line with management of WIOA; and
  • Creation of an AEBG Stakeholder Advisory Committee.

 
In addition to working on the Framework, we've been meeting with DOF and Legislative Budget and Policy Committee staff in preparation for the next Budget and Policy cycle that begins with the swearing-in of the 2017-2018 Legislature on December 5th.  Our meetings have been very positive and fruitful, with our proposed refinements being viewed quite positively. 
 
We are also pleased to report that last week we had the opportunity to meet with State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) Tom Torlakson at the CDE.  The SPI was joined by our own Adult Education office Director Chris Nelson; Career & College Transition Division Director Donna Wyatt; and Government Affairs Director Debra Brown and her colleague Alejandro Espinoza.  The A-Team representing the field included CCAE President Sue Gilmore; CAEAA Past President and Hacienda La Puente Superintendent Cyndi Parulan-Colfer; CAEAA Leg Chair and CCAE Board Member Bob Harper; CTA Representative Wendy Dillingham; and yours truly, Dawn Koepke your CCAE and CAEAA Legislative and Budget Advocate.  SPI Torlakson was very engaged and up to speed on the happenings with adult education.  Nevertheless, we reminded him of the long road we've traveled over the last few years; the successes we've had to date; the challenges we continue to have; pushed him to take a stronger leadership role within the AEBG and with the Chancellor's office; and more.  He was receptive to all we had to share and discuss.  He also indicates that he is meeting with the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges and is prepared to help us in our push to address some of the key remaining challenges we've highlighted in our attached Framework.  All very positive!
 
In terms of what we can expect from the 2017-2018 Legislature....much remains to be seen.  While the activity at the federal level has many concerned for adult education and the students we serve, we are committed to continuing our fight to protect K12 based adult education and have no indication whatsoever that California under the new Legislature will do anything less than provide its full support. 
 
Of note, Assembly Democrats were successful in gaining a super majority with three seats changing hands.  Assemblyman David Hadley (R) lost to former Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D)(K12 adult education supporter), Assemblyman Eric Linder (R) lost to Sabrina Cervantez (D) and Assemblywoman Young Kim (R) lost to former Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D).  Relative to inter-party fights, former Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D) regained his seat from ardent K12 adult education supporter Assemblywoman Patty Lopez (D); and moderate Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown (D) was unseated by the more progressive Eloise Reyes (D).
 
In the Senate, Democrats are also on the verge of a two-thirds supermajority with ballots in the Orange County Senate District 29 race between Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang (R) and Democrat Josh Newman continuing to be counted and the race too close to call even two weeks after the General Election. 
 
On the initiative front, California will see many policy shifts in the New Year as well as the continuation of the Proposition 30 tax on wealthy Californians through 2030 to help fund education via voter approval of Proposition 55.  And as the dust continues to settle and the close races await confirmation of final vote counts, we now look to December 5th when the 2017-2018 Legislature will be sworn in to office.  While some reports suggest a host of new moderate members will infuse the Assembly, the proof is in the pudding as we move into what is already shaping up to be a big year ahead on a number of policy fronts.  A big unknown is how the two-thirds in the Assembly, and possibly the Senate, will play out - will moderates feel empowered to stand together or will members fall in line with leadership and more progressive ideals?  Time will tell....and we're waiting with baited breath....
 
In the meantime and even after December 5th, we encourage you to get to know your local elected officials - especially new members. This is a great time of the year to visit them during their coffee hours and holiday open houses.  To learn more about those types of events, we encourage you to visit their webpages after December 5th and sign up for their weekly or monthly district newsletters.  These are a great way to learn more about what your legislators are doing for you and your community, to learn about district events, and more.  And remember, as you meet with members in the district be sure to let CCAE and CAEAA know.  Meetings and meet-and-greets do not need to be focused on a specific agenda and talking points at this point in the year, just get to know them and develop a rapport and ensure they know about your adult school and the benefit you provide to their community.  That said, if you would like to or are asked about our agenda for the new session, feel free to share the attached Framework. 
 
Once the Governor releases his 2017-2018 budget proposal, we'll be quickly evaluating the details, reporting out on them and developing talking points for the field in anticipation of Leg Day at the Capitol on April 4th.  Be sure to mark your calendars and make arrangements to attend!
 
In the meantime, I wish you a happy, joyful and peaceful holiday season.  I am thankful for you and look forward to another great year together!  Cheers!


CCAE/CAEAA Legislative Day 2017

CCAE/CAEAA Legislative Day is around the corner. Here's the information so that you can start making plans, if you haven't already done so.

Leg Day Training: Monday, April 3, 2017, 4:00 pm
Hyatt Regency Sacramento, Room: TBD

Leg Day Meeting: Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 8:30 am
Hyatt Regency Sacramento, Room: TBD

Leg Day Visits: Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 9:30 am-3:00 pm
State Capitol

Leg Day Debrief: Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 3:00-4:00 pm
Hyatt Regency Sacramento, Room: TBD

CCAE Guest Room Block: Hyatt Regency Sacramento,  1209 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
Single: $180; Double: $180; Triple: $205; Quad: $230
(Rooms include complimentary Wi-Fi)
Reserve before March 13, 2017


 

AB 1846 (LOPEZ): ADULT EDUCATION BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM: REPORT

July 1, 2016

Current law requires the chancellor and the Superintendent to submit to the Director of Finance, the State Board of Education, and the Legislature, by September 30 following any year for which funds are appropriated for the Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG) Program, a report about the use of specified funds and outcomes for adults statewide and in each adult education region. this bill would require that report to also include a summary, based upon a review of the annual adult education plan for each consortium, of the extent to which funds from the program provided to each consortium, in combination with other funds available to the consortium and other entities that provide education and workforce services for adults in the region, were insufficient to address the adult education demands within the service area of the consortium. Learn more...


2016-2017 BUDGET SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR

June 27, 2016

After the Legislature taking action and passing the budget on the constitutionally mandated date of June 15th, Governor Jerry Brown last week signed the state budget for FY 2016-2017. The approved budget at $167 billion includes $122.5 billion in General Fund spending, $44.6 billion in special fund spending, and $3.6 billion in bond spending.  Overall, the budget package continues to focus on the Governor's interest in fiscal stability by doubling the state's Rainy Day Fund, continuing to pay down debt, increasing school funding and boosting programs to combat poverty and homelessness.  Learn more...