California Gov. Jerry Brown wants to shift adult education from K-12 districts to community colleges, but the Legislature may not go alone, reports the Oakland Tribune.
The plan would give community colleges an additional $300 million to set up similar adult education programs, including high school diploma or equivalency courses, vocational education and citizenship classes. College leaders note the amount is less than half of what the state spent on adult schools five years ago, and that colleges have no experience running some of these programs.
“We’ve never been in the business of doing GED (the high school diploma equivalent), nor have we done anything with citizenship,” said Ron Galatolo, chancellor of the San Mateo County Community College District.
Under the governor’s proposal, school districts would continue to get the same funding, but could shift the money to other uses. In Oakland, which has a 27 percent dropout rate, the district plans to close its GED programs if it isn’t required to serve adult students.
. . . the nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst’s Office cites “major problems” with the plan and urges the Legislature to instead invest the money in a special fund for adult education, managed by K-12 school districts.
. . . For years, community colleges have also offered remedial courses, including English as a second language, but have generally targeted higher-skilled students, while adult schools — often in courses set up at a school or community center — have worked with school dropouts and recent immigrants and refugees, including those unable to read or write.
Proponents argue adult education students could move more easily to job training and college classes, if they started at community colleges. Colleges could contract with existing adult ed programs rather than design their own classes.