In his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2013-2014, Governor Jerry Brown announced that California is no longer facing a budget deficit. In relation to funding education, his budget increases state funding per student in K-12 schools to $2,700 by 2016-2017. For K-12 and community colleges, funding is projected to increase by $2.7 billion next year and $19 billion by 2016-2017.
What of adult education? The plan recognizes that K-12 school districts and community colleges are authorized to provide adult education instruction, but highlights a lack of coordination between the two systems in terms of serving adult learners. The contention is that the system is currently inefficient and unaccountable. The Governor’s plan proposes $300 million in new Proposition 98 General Fund revenues to fund a comparable K-12 adult education service delivery system within the community college system.
This plan would fund core instructional areas such as vocational education, ESL, adult basic and secondary education, and citizenship. Courses outside of these areas would require students to pay in full. Adult education would be relocated within the community college system.
The Governor’s budget recognizes the importance of adult education and that it must be funded. The issue is where and how it is to be delivered.
The adult and community college level groups of CATESOL are engaged in discussions right now looking at questions such as:
- Which agencies should be responsible for delivering adult ESL instruction?
- What are the benefits of keeping adult ESL in the community adult schools?
- How do the 17 community colleges in California currently offering non-credit ESL programs serve their learners?
- What are the distinctions between the services community adult schools in K-12 districts and community colleges provide? Whom does each type of institution serve?