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‘Slow Strangulation’ Of Adult Ed Will Mean 1,000 Fewer Students For Sweetwater ADULT School

By Megan Burks

The Sweetwater Union High School District is expected to approve its budget of more than $450 million Monday. The district has largely averted cuts, but its adult program will have to serve a thousand fewer students next year.

Sweetwater Adult School is cutting its classes by 10 percent. They include parenting, English-language, citizenship and career-technical courses. The budget gap reflects years of flat state funding for adult education and rising pension costs.

“It’s like a slow strangulation of the program,” Sweetwater Adult Education Director Ryan Burke said. “Everything costs more, so one by one we’re having to cut classes to pay the bills.”

Sweetwater Union has used its general fund to backfill some of the need, and is expected to do the same next year. Burke said without the district’s help, a quarter of classes would have to go.

“Yes the district is able to help and they are helping. But they’re also responsible for paying for (middle and high school) education,” Burke said. “Any dollar they commit to us is another dollar they don’t have for 7-12.”

Adult education funding has been frozen at recession-era levels as the legislature and schools work to restructure the system, which developed as a patchwork across K-12 districts and community colleges. Advocates like Burke say it is time to look at funding again.

"The Division of Adult Education provides a safety net to families who need a GED or need to improve their English skills to get their first job or look for a better job," said teacher Erica Dibello-Hitta. "They also offer short-term career classes that are much more affordable than those at private colleges. A loss of any classes would hurt our community."

Federal funding makes up a much smaller portion of adult school funding but could also be in jeopardy. President Donald Trump has said he’d like to cut career-technical education by $168 million. The House this week passed a generous reauthorization billvfor career-technical education spending. It’s unclear if it will pass the Senate, or if the president would sign it. Read more >

Legislative News

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.

President's Message

Dear CCAE Members,

I am delighted to begin my term as president of CCAE and would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank our immediate Past President, Sue Gilmore, for her dedicated leadership over the last two years!  Through her guidance, CCAE membership has grown and our organization has thrived. 

As we head into the next two years, I hope to expand upon the good work and foundation that has been laid to date by our executive committee and many of you who have been working so diligently with our students on a daily basis. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time with ideas, concerns, or questions.  

My Best,

Steve Curiel

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It is with heavy hearts that we inform the CCAE family that one of our CCAE champions, Steve Prantalos, passed away in his sleep. Steve was the executive director of CCAE for 14 years and helped guide CCAE and Adult Education through some of its most difficult times. Information regarding his services will follow shortly. For now, please keep Steve's wife, Joyce and their family in your thoughts and prayers. Services will be private. In lieu of flowers donate to Kiwanis International in honor of Steve Prantalos.

Joyce Prantalos
20701 Beach Blvd., Space 37
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Executive Director's Message

I'd like to wish everyone a restful, yet productive, summer. In addition, I'd like to review a couple of items with you.

Many thanks to those who attended the CCAE State Conference, in Long Beach, and helped make it the largest and best conference ever! We had over 900 attendees! Many thanks to the presenters as well as the conference committee and staff. Congratulations to all the award winners! I know the Central Section conference committee is excited to carry the momentum forward into 2018 for the Fresno CCAE State Conference.

The feedback from the Northern and Southern California Regional Consortium meetings is now posted on the CCAE website. Click on the AEBG tab for the most recent notes. Many thanks to those who recorded comments during the meetings. In addition, dates for the upcoming meetings will be posted by the end of July. Check the website to be sure you don't miss any of these interesting meetings.

The GoFundMe CCAE Scholarship Campaign is designed to help adult students reach their goals and achieve their potential. Adult education provides a pathway out of poverty into the middle class; it gives students a hand up, not a hand out. Criteria for distribution of these funds is yet to be determined--- stay connected to find out how your student(s) might benefit! Click on the Donate tab to connect to GoFundMe Campaign.

CCAE members receive discounted hotel rates through HotelStorm. This benefit can be used via the CCAE website (HERE). Remember to use the CCAE access passcode: CCAEperk.

The Educate & Elevate Campaign is sponsored by the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE), the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education (NCSDAE), and the National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium (NAEPDC). The campaign is designed to help funders, policy makers, and the community at large understand the value adult educators bring to students, workers, and businesses in contributing to social mobility and economic growth. Find additional information about Educate & Elevate on the CCAE website (HERE).

 Once again, best wishes for a safe and restful summer!

Adriana Sanchez-Aldana
Executive Director



The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), a national, nonpartisan, anti-poverty organization, released Prosperity Through Partnership: Opportunities for AEBG to Strengthen Systems and Communities. The report was supported by funding from the State AEBG Office and included contributions by the California Community College Chancellor's Office (CCCCO), California Department of Education (CDE), CASAS, WestEd, IMPAQ, and OTAN as well as field input from the AEBG regional consortia via survey completion. 

In January 2016, the CLASP commenced an 18-month project to study the implementation of California's Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG) initiative. CLASP set out to foster greater understanding of the implementation of California's AEBG governance and direct service activities, analyze current and potential impacts of the AEBG initiative for partners and participants, and offer recommendations for potential policy and implementation changes in future rounds of AEBG funding and other coordinated funding streams, for consideration by the CCCCO, the CDE, and other policymakers.

The study employed several research methods including surveys, focus groups, and semi-structured interviews as well as ongoing communication with AEBG leaders and practitioners.  

As a result of this study, CLASP details 19 recommendations in the following categories:

  • Clarify AEBG's mission and vision so that leaders, practitioners, and community members can clearly identify and articulate the major differences between the legacy, pre-2014 adult education system and the AEBG structure envisioned by California law. 
  • Use AEBG to drive a comprehensive pathways system by re-imagining adult education as a strategic partner in strengthening individual economic mobility and regional economic competitiveness through community-wide skill development.
  • Tie AEBG accountability to impact through the establishment of a cross-system accountability structure. This requires a number of barriers to be addressed:delineate and distinguish "populations from services" in fund reporting; clarify fund reporting on AEBG's five objectives; align data definitions and processes among AEBG, WIOA title II, and community college providers; maximize the use of WIOA-measurable skill gain in AEBG; clarify transition to postsecondary education across reporting for AEBG, WIOA title II and LaunchBoard and, measure progress on mandated objectives in AEBG regional plans. 
  • Provide comprehensive technical assistance and professional development. The AEBG professional development technical assistance provider can greatly enhance capacity for comprehensive capacity building.

 Review the CLASP Report "Prosperity Through Partnership: Opportunities for AEBG to Strengthen Systems and Communities"


View the Educate & Elevate Kickoff Webinar "Get Connected-Get the Tools-Get Ready" [HERE], post in our Learning Forum [HERE], and be sure to submit your adult learner and workplace success stories [HERE].

New Educate and Elevate Fact Sheet
Filled with quotable resources, our new fact sheet demonstrates to policy makers why adult education is an investment in America's future and makes the case for support. Access it here.

OTAN's Professional Development Opportunities

OTAN is offering WIOA funded adult education agencies an opportunity to try out EdReady - an online math curriculum designed to get learners prepared for both college and career math. Learners choose a math goal such as passing the AccuPlacer or GED® exam. Additionally, there are over 150 career pathways that help learners understand the math needed specifically for that pathway. Contact OTAN for additional information.

Another offering from OTAN is for adult education teachers who are interested in learning more about Blended Learning in adult education. This online course starts with the basics of educational technology concepts and then gives the instructor the tools and skills to blend the educational technology with their direct classroom instruction.

Research shows that blending traditional classroom instruction with technology improves student learning and motivation. The challenge is for the adult education instructor to find the time and technical knowledge to make it happen! This course takes approximately 6 -10 hours to complete online. Contact OTAN for access to the course.

Adult Education: A Crucial Foundation for Middle Skills

More than 24 million US workers lack key foundational skills in reading, math, or spoken English, and would benefit from adult education to help them build the skills needed to pursue occupational training and compete for these jobs. 

Adult education models such as Integrated Education and Training (IET) have a proven track record in helping adult learners acquire key skills, earn secondary and postsecondary credentials, and obtain middle-skill employment.

The National Skills Coalition has developed a fact sheet that highlights four federal policies that can support the implementation of adult education program models such as IET, and provides examples of states that are capitalizing on these policies to do just that. Download the fact sheet (HERE). 

AEBG Resources

CCAE has established an AEBG resources page to support the efforts of AEBG in all 71 consortia. Please bookmark this page for additional information regarding:

  • Various regional meetings
  • Notes and information from CCAE/CAEAA sponsored regional meetings
  • Best practices from the field:
    • Data collection, reporting and analysis
    • Developing new programs
    • Student support services


TABE/TASC is the proud sponsor of the AEGB Resources website


Exclusive hotel savings for CCAE members. Save up to 55% over online travel agencies and enjoy the convenience of 24/7 concierge. A great option for personal vacations, quick weekend getaways, or business related travel! CCAE members receive discounted hotel rates through HotelStorm. This benefit can be used via the CCAE website (HERE). Remember to use the CCAE access passcode: CCAEperk

CCAE Scholarship Fund

When you support Adult Ed, you help adults reach their goals and achieve their potential. Adult education provides a pathway out of poverty into the middle class; it gives students a hand up, not a hand out. CCAE is dedicated to supporting schools in this endeavor by ensuring adequate funding for adult education.

However, we need your help in supporting students in the next step in continuing their education. So many of you have expressed an interest in helping in some way. That’s why CCAE has started a Scholarship Fund.

Please consider sponsoring a student today by donating to the CCAE Scholarship Fund! 100% of your donation will go to help students transition to college and Career Technical Education. Help spread the word!