Legislative Analyst’s Office Recommends Restructuring of California Adult Education Funding

EdSource published a good story earlier this week about the continuing effort by advocates in California to fix their broken adult education funding system. As I’ve written previously, (here, for example), a budget mechanism implemented in 2009 known as “categorical flexibility,” has allowed California school districts to divert funds from adult education to support its K-12 programs. Altogether, the LAO estimates that over $450 million in state and federal government funds—more than half of the funds that used to be available—have been diverted out of California’s district-run adult schools since the categorical flexibility law was passed.

California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) recently issued a report that recommended a return to a dedicated funding stream for adult education—on other words, remove it from the list of programs that can be poached for other purposes.

Unfortunately, the article makes it clear that there still isn’t a clear legislative path towards implementing that recommendation.

Don’t miss Bob Harper’s comment on the article, which I think makes a good point:

If it’s the intention of the Governor that adult literacy, English language acquisition and immigrant integration, basic skills related to readiness for work or college, are no longer critical services, then that needs to be made plain in policy discussions, and not be the desultory by-product of budgetary reform. In such policy discussions it would be hard to ignore the historic role that adult education has performed for California, and to discuss in what form that needed service continues.