Thank you Senator Liu, Assemblymember Williams, and the committee members.
My name is Jeff Freitas and I am the Secretary Treasurer of the California Federation of Teachers. The CFT represents early childhood educators, K-12 teachers, classified employees, community college faculty, UC lecturers and librarians, and adult educators in the K-12 and community college worlds.
I want to thank Senator Liu specifically for providing me the
opportunity to present on
behalf of the more than 100,000 school employees that we represent, and to thank both chairs for having a joint hearing specifically on adult education.
Since the time that the adult education categoricals were flexed
for K-12 school
districts, adult education programs across the state have been decimated in many
communities. With the re-envisioning of community college missions (as can be seen by
the ever heavy hand of the ACCJC in San Francisco) adult education opportunities are
narrowed again but from a different system.
We absolutely disagree with the LAO that we should narrow the
mission or goals of
adult education. Saying it is too much for the state is just more austerity rhetoric and does not meet the needs of all community members — all taxpayers.
From this budget tightening in the past, Gov. Brown, from my
analysis, has created a
possible solution to provide adult education its own system so it is not pitted against the goals of either K-12 schools or community colleges. Hence, AB 86 was passed and signed into law. AB 86 called for a state cabinet with appointments by the State Superintendent of Public Schools and Chancellor of the Community Colleges, state working group, and regional consortia.
Interesting enough, the governor also pushed forward an idea of
engagement in creating plans and goals for the K-12 system through the Local Control
Funding Formula and the Local Control Accountability Plan. I link these two system changes to funding and functioning because they should spell out the interest of the governor and intent of AB 86 to include all stakeholders.
The LCAP provides a model that should be applied immediately to the planning process for the future of adult education. Regional consortia should consult with all stakeholders before creation of regional plans not after, and important stakeholders must be included in the AB 86 leadership bodies, not just the regional consortia.
The intent, we believe, has not been put into practice. Teachers, faculty, school employees actually working with the adults being educated have been excluded from these planning and working groups. This is a serious flaw.
I received an email from a leader who teaches adult education at a community college where the faculty senate appointed her and five others to be part of the consortium, however, the administrators excluded half the group and only kept the department chairs for the early meetings. Other places teachers and faculty are only brought in after decisions have been made or at the point when non-district organizations are included. This is a blatant exclusion of stakeholders. And these are just a few of many examples.
Seeing that I am the first person to speak at this hearing on
behalf of the actual adult
educators, I would like to share three concerns that you should seriously consider.
- The inclusion of actual teachers and bargaining unit representatives at every level of the consultation process.
- The prevention of paring down or eliminating broad education opportunities for all segments of these communities, specifically “Older Adult” and non-credit adult education classes. We can and must do more not less for our communities.
- And finally, that public dollars must be used for public education and controlled by public agencies.
Voices have been excluded from the process and we fear that further damage will occur to these communities because of the lack of these voices, our voices. And we hope you will work to protect the opportunities that are provided by this endangered education system.
Thank you for this opportunity.
Jeffery M. Freitas
CFT Secretary Treasurer