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CA. LAO REPORT: Restructuring Adult Education

CA. LAO REPORT: Restructuring Adult Education

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Published by Kathryn Black
CA. LAO REPORT: Restructuring Adult Education
CA. LAO REPORT: Restructuring Adult Education

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Published by: Kathryn Black on Dec 08, 2012
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Resrcr Cara’sA Eca Sse
MAC TAylor l e g i s l A T i v e A n A l y s T DeCeMBer 5, 2012
ExECutivE SummARy
 Adult Education Serves Multiple Purposes.
Te core mission o adult education is to provideadults with the basic knowledge and skills they need to participate in civic lie and the workorce.Adult education serves undereducated and underskilled state residents who have educationalobjectives such as learning to speak English; passing the oral and written exams or U.S. citizenship;earning a high school diploma; receiving job training; and obtaining prociency in reading, writing,and mathematics to succeed in collegiate coursework. Under state law, adult education also canserve various other purposes, including oering enrichment classes (such as ceramics) to olderadults and providing instruction in eective parenting techniques.
 Adult Schools and Community Colleges Are the State’s Main Adult Education Providers.
Adult schools, which are operated by school districts, and the Caliornia Community Colleges(CCC) are the state’s primary providers o adult education. Adult schools were the rst providerso adult education in the state. Later, the Legislature authorized community colleges (then called“junior colleges”) to provide adult education in addition to their traditional mission o instructionat the lower-division (reshman and sophomore) collegiate level.
Responsibility or Adult Education Unclear or Decades.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s,the Legislature transerred statewide governance o community colleges rom the State Board o Education to the CCC Board o Governors. Tis split raised the question o which segment—schooldistricts or community colleges—should have responsibility or providing adult education in thestate. Despite a subsequent lawsuit between schools districts and community colleges and numerousattempts by the state to clariy their respective roles, more than 40 years later the issue remainsunresolved.
 Adult Education Suers From Several Other Shortcomings.
In addition to unclear lines o responsibility, we nd the state’s adult education system suers rom a number o other problems,including: (1) an overly broad mission; (2) lack o clear delineations between precollegiate (adulteducation) and collegiate coursework at CCC; (3) inconsistent state-level policies; (4) widespread lack o coordination among providers; and (5) limited student data, which impairs the public’s ability tohold the system accountable or perormance. Over the past ew years, the role o adult education inCaliornia has become even more clouded, as the Legislature has allowed school districts to use or any educational purpose General Fund monies that previously had been dedicated to adult education. Asa result o all these issues, adult education in Caliornia today is a complex, conusing, and incoherentsystem.
 Adult Education Is in Need o Comprehensive Restructuring.
Given adult education’snumerous and signicant challenges, we believe the system is in need o comprehensiverestructuring. In our view, the Legislature has an important role in guiding the development o sucha new system. Tis report lays out a vision and roadmap or a more ocused, rational, collaborative,responsive, and accountable system.
Proposed New System Builds Upon the Relative Strengths o Adult Schools and Community Colleges.
We nd that community colleges and adult schools each have comparative advantages or

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