California’s rocky path to prosperity

Unless California helps low-income parents learn basic skills, train for jobs and pursue higher education,  the state’s prosperity is at risk, concludes Working Hard, Left Behind. The Campaign for College Opportunity, the Women’s Foundation of California and Working Poor Families project collaborated on the report.

California leads the nation in low-income working adults and in poorly educated adults. More than 1 out of 10 adults over 24 years of age have less than a ninth-grade education; nearly 1 in 5 adults didn’t complete high school.

The state will be 2.3 million vocational certificate, two-year and four-year degree graduates short of meeting the needs of the state economy by 2025, the report estimates.

“This is an alarming gap,” said Michele Siqueiros, the campaign’s executive director. “On one hand, we have millions of hard-working, low-income adults who have limited chances of upward mobility because of obstacles to higher education access and completion. On the other hand, thousands of companies are seeking well-skilled and highly trained workers.”

California needs to create a “public agenda for higher education that sets clear goals for preparing high school students for college, transitioning adult students into postsecondary education and the workforce, increasing the number of certificate and degree completions, while monitoring progress toward those goals, and aligning policies and budgets needed to reach them,” the report recommends.

It calls for improving coordination between high schools, adult education, community colleges and four-year universities and tracking low-income students’ progress as they move from one education system to another.

Non-traditional students need better access to financial aid and access to counseling and child care, Working Hard, Left Behind concludes. In 2009-10, only a third of the state’s community college students applied for a Pell Grant, leaving an estimated $500 million in aid unclaimed.

Gov. Jerry Brown wants to community colleges to take over adult education, but his plan is on hold in the Legislature, reports EdSource. Currently, K-12 districts spend less than $300 million on adult schools, down from $634 million before the recession. Courses include literacy, English as a Second Language,  citizenship, parenting, vocational education and GED and high school diploma courses. Brown proposes $300 million in state funding for adult ed at community colleges.

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When you have an education system that is more concerned with socialization than education, more concerned with the “self-esteem” of students than the expectations set for students, and more concerned with the “barriers” faced by students than challenging students to deal with those “barriers” , this is the quality of students you get, spoiled, uneducated and entitled. This is why California leads the nation in low-income working adults and in poorly educated adults. Until California’s education system starts to educate they will never be able to transition adult students into postsecondary education and the workforce.

Mike H

I wish RT was wroing, but he is not. California’s education system is broken and does not educate. Why do we need English as a Second Language, citizenship, parenting, vocational education and GED and high school diploma courses for adults? Because the education system has failed.

Gary Ravani

One of the key problems with education is that it does not teach people to begin gathering some facts prior to spouting opinions; hence, the two comments above. CA has the largest immigrant population in the nation. It has the highest percentage of 2nd language speakers in the nation. All immigrants do NOT come to the state as Kindergartners. They come at all ages and grades and many, if not most, as adults who have no contact with the K-12 education system: therefore the need for ESL, citizenship, voc ed, etc., and other ADULT ed programs.These are also low income adults since being a minority in the US is a proxy for being low income. All of the above being said, and with CA’s school funding at 49th of the 50 states, Hispanics are now the most likely of all ethnic groups to enter college in the state.

Donna Cohen

California State University system is run by a bunch of selfish crooks. Take the out going President of CSULB F. King Alexander as an example. We’ve chronicled his tenure and vetted his CV as you heads to run the LSU system. Lies, omissions and fluff. This man was never even tenured and now with run over a three billion dollar system. Come read and judge for yourself. The administration system needs to be entirely flushed and then perhaps we can return California School system to the standard it once held, the best in the world.

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