Adult ed in Oakland faces uncertain future

Ever since the state allowed school districts to “flex” adult education funds, or use them for other purposes, Oakland’s adult ed budget has been cut down to less than a tenth of what it was in 2008 to approximately $1 million. In 2008, more than 200 staff taught over 20,000 adults who were enrolled in adult education programs. Currently 25 teachers guide just over 1,000 students.

Next school year, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) expects $14 million less in federal funding due to sequestration and other factors. At a meeting on February 27, the school board voted to cut all remaining adult ed teacher positions as way to create $1 million in savings for the next school year. OUSD superintendent Tony Smith said the proposal to terminate the positions was also in reaction to Governor Jerry Brown’s January budget proposal, which included moving adult education to community college systems.

Though both state and district budgets are yet to be finalized and the board may reverse layoffs by May 15, many teachers and students are worried that if the cuts go through, Oakland’s adults will lose access to valuable opportunities to learn. Click on the video above for more of the story.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for covering this important issue. As you surely know, this is more than an Oakland issue. It’s happening, with various twists on the story, across the state. Check out what is happening in the Sweetwater District south of San Diego. On the good news side: What hap’d at the Assumbly Budget meeting on Tuesday is fantastic. Clearly, the Legislature is what the people of California are finally owning and saying: Adult Ed Matters. We need it. Don’t destroy it. As Assembly Member Bonilla said, it’s been weakned by the government and is in a very fragile state now. We – the people, the Leg, the Gov, the districts must act to save the rebuild it. Many of us are working to do that. There are 2 petitions circulating. Here is one: http://signon.org/sign/rebuild-adult-ed-k-12.
    Here is another: http://signon.org/sign/stop-gov-browns-plan An alliance has been started – A4CAS – on Facebook. “Alliance for California Adult Schools.” Many, many, many of us – teachers, staff, admin, students, community members, and legislators are mobilizing. We know this matters. Our challenge is to activate in a powerful way on a statewide level because it is a state issue. The more people are aware of that, the better. This situation partly became as extreme as it has because many were okay with watching other programs go down because their own was still standing, even if quartered or halved. But now we know: if we don’t act as a people, as a state, we will lose this program. Journalists like you make such a difference. Thank you. Cynthia Eagleton

  2. This is really tragic as adult ed ads so much value for the whole community. When legislators talk about education, they do mean education for every person, not just children under 18 where it is compulsory. I really hope that this gets challenged…

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