Expert panel ramps up educator involvement as two-year planning process nears end

Adult educators have demanded to be included in planning the future of adult education. Led by the CFT Adult Education Commission, members are taking action to make the process as outlined under Assembly Bill 86 more inclusive. 

Earlier this year, adult educators stood in line to testify before a Joint Informational Hearing of the Assembly Higher Education and Senate Education Committees.

Educators told state legislators they have been excluded from the current process, damaging the communities that rely upon adult learning. CFT Secretary Treasurer Jeff Freitas exhorted the committee chairs to protect this essential but endangered education system.

There are 72 regional consortia in the state charged with developing regional plans for the delivery of adult education. The consortia were established when the 2013-14 state budget appropriated $25 million for two-year planning grants. 

AB86 outlined the expectations for consortium development and implementation. The purported intent of AB86 is to expand and improve the provision of adult education with incremental investments starting in 2015-16. 

However, the voice of educators was nearly silenced. CFT President Joshua Pechthalt laid out the lack of stakeholder input in the AB86 consultation process in a letter to Community College Chancellor Brice Harris and State Superintendent Tom Torlakson. The CFT recommended community stakeholder input.

As a result of the letter, two CFT members joined the AB86 Statewide Workgroup: Adult educator and CFT Vice President Kathy Jasper, president of the San Jose Federation, and CFT Field Representative Zev Kvitky, who works closely with adult education local unions. Ernest Kettenring, from United Teachers Los Angeles, also serves on the workgroup. 

The workgroup formed an expert panel on inclusion and submitted a proposal — endorsed by education unions and advocacy groups — laying out critical steps to ensure local consultation.

As the close of this two-year planning period nears, each regional consortium is finalizing its plans. The consortia met at a statewide summit in early October to review data analyses, share effective practices, and provide input on system design. Through it all, the CFT is working on multiple fronts to influence the state’s investment in adult education. 

— By Al Hernandez-Santana, 
CFT Legislative Director