Thursday, June 14, 2012

At Risk: Adult Schools in California

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cover of adult ed reportAdult schools are an important strand in societyʼs safety net, offering classes to some of the stateʼs neediest adults, ranging from the unemployed, the disabled and the elderly to ex-offenders re-entering society and immigrants trying to learn English and become citizens.

But an EdSource survey found adult education programs facing their biggest threat since their founding a century and half ago, with 23 of the stateʼs 30 largest school districts making major cuts to their adult education programs since the beginning of the Great Recession.

This new EdSource report describes the crisis facing adult education in California as well possible approaches to keeping the doors of adult schools open.

A combination of continuing budget pressures on schools and the loss of its protected status as a categorical program has resulted in major cuts, including:
  • Last year, Anaheim Union High terminated its 73-year-old adult education program. 
  • Spending on Oakland Unified's adult school program has declined from more than $11 million in 2008-09 to a projected $1 million in 2012-13. 
  • Fontana Unified is spending $300,000 on adult education instead of the $1.6 million it used to spend before the recession. 
  • In San Jose, the Metropolitan Education Districtʼs adult school has closed two major campuses and 43 sites at local high schools and community centers in recent years.

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