Oakland Adult Education Retains Funding
Posted on 05/24/2013
Credit: Drake Talk Oakland
Plans to shut down Oakland's adult education program, at one time the fifth largest in the state, have been put on hold. After hundreds of teachers, parents, and students—including those in the GED program who were dressed in caps and gowns—spoke passionately about the need for adult education programs in the community, the school board voted unanimously to allocate $1 million to keep the adult education program running for at least one more year.
The 142 year old adult education program in Oakland is the second oldest in the state and has already endured severe spending cuts. It now offers a bare bones program of family literacy, GED and a few career-technical programs. In March the board had slated the adult education program for a complete shut-down at the end of June.
"Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal to streamline adult education by creating regional consortia made up of community colleges and school districts appears to have played a role in the board's decision," reports EdSource . Brown has proposed allocating $500 million in dedicated funding for the regional consortia. Of this, $350 million would go to K-12 adult schools in districts which fund adult education programs over the next two years. Oakland will have to keep it's adult education program alive, not only next year, but also the following year in order to access those funds. Oakland Board of Education president David Kakishiba said he was intrigued by the regional consortia approach.
"A lot of my friends and family don't have GEDs yet," said Ivon Reyes, who earned his GED this year and attended the board meeting in his cap and gown. "I think it is important for us to do something so they can get one in the future."
Carolyn Chin, who teaches all five GED subjects, said she was "gratified."
"It means that some people who are very, very close to graduating will be able to finish," she said.
One of those students is Isela Palma Marcelino, who attended Wednesday's meeting. She has passed three of the GED tests and needs more help to finish the other two.
"I really need the class," she said. "I want to work in a day care center and they require a GED." Marcelino also plans to go to college and says studying for the GED has made it possible for her to help her children with their homework.
"We really need the GED for many, many things – good things," she said.
Chris Nelson, Oakland adult school administrator and president of the California Council on Adult Education , said the board's decision only keeps the program funded for one more year. "We don't know how it's going to all land."
Publicly funded curriculum materials are available for purchase, including English for All DVDs and materials developed for EL Civics.
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