California State Superintendent of Public Instruction: “Adult Education a Vital and Integral Part of the Entire School Spectrum”

On Thursday, the local Argonaut newspaper published a story that recounted some of the public testimony provided to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education last week when it met to consider a budget proposal that would have eliminated adult education in the district.

That proposal is now on hold: a new budget will be presented on March 13th that will include a $270-a-year parcel tax referendum, which the Argonaut reports could make it to the ballot as early as June. Presumably this would generate enough new revenue to preserve adult education funding in the district. (However, according to the Argonaut, the parcel tax initiative will require a two-thirds vote for approval, and it’s not clear from the story how likely it is to pass).

For anyone looking for great examples of how adult education impacts a community, I highly recommend this piece. The testimony and statements presented at the meeting were excellent.

I was particularly impressed by the statement provided by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson:

“It is our goal at the California Department of Education to consider the ‘whole student’ in our daily work of providing technical assistance and oversight of the multitude of state and federal programs we are responsible to administer,” the schools superintendent wrote to the district in a Feb. 10 letter.

“As such, we consider adult education a vital and integral part of the entire school spectrum.” (my emphasis)

Torlakson touched on some of the same reasons why it is important to preserve funding for schools like the Venice Skills Center and the Venice Community Adult School that students who spoke with The Argonaut did.

It is through adult education that the parents of the students within our kindergarten through 12 schools can gain the education and literacy skills necessary to better their personal situations, thus benefiting all of California,” he wrote. “It is here that they can advance their own careers, obtain the skills for gainful employment and become better parents and more active participants in our communities.” (my emphasis)

Torlakson added there is evidence that with “minimal fiscal resources, adult education still produces long-term and far reaching benefits.”