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 lie and the workorce.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 prociency in reading, writing,and mathematics to succeed in collegiate coursework. Under state law, adult education also canserve various other purposes, including oering enrichment classes (such as ceramics) to olderadults and providing instruction in eective 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 Caliornia 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 transerred 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 clariy their respective roles, more than 40 years later the issue remainsunresolved.
Adult Education Suers From Several Other Shortcomings.
In addition to unclear lines o responsibility, we nd the state’s adult education system suers 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 perormance. Over the past ew years, the role o adult education inCaliornia 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 Caliornia today is a complex, conusing, and incoherentsystem.
Adult Education Is in Need o Comprehensive Restructuring.
Given adult education’snumerous and signicant 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
An LAO RepORt