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Oakland USD Board Votes to Eliminate Adult Education

Posted on 03/04/2013

Oakland Needs Adult Ed
Credit: Drake Talk Oakland External link opens in new window or tab

The Oakland Unified School District board voted 5 to 1 last week to approve eliminating or reducing full service programs like adult education. Timing of the vote will allow the district to comply with the March 15 deadline for issuance of layoff notices to teachers.

Board President David Kakishiba voted to cut adult education programs, "in the context that we are looking to build back adult education, Family Literacy Programs and GED services in this city whether it's in OUSD or Peralta Colleges or in a contract with OUSD."

The lone "no" vote was cast by member Roseanne Torres.

Governor Jerry Brown has proposed shifting adult education from K-12 to Community Colleges. The plan has not yet been finalized, but General Education Development (GED) and English as a Second Language (ESL) may survive a switch. Another critical program, Family Literacy, it was pointed out, cannot.

"Family literacy programs by design cannot move to community colleges. If you eliminate it, they are gone," said Victoria Carpenter, a teacher for Family Literacy at La Escuelita Elementary School. "These classes connect the parents with the teachers; they connect the parents with their children. If you eliminate it, it's not going to the community college."

In a comment posted to Facebook, Carpenter expressed the feelings of Oakland's adult education staff, "It is really depressing. I think the board heard us, but I have a feeling they don't really understand...the importance of these classes."

The story was originally reported in the Oakland Tribune by Serena Valdez External link opens in new window or tab.