Apr 30 2012

What’s at Stake As LA’s Adult Ed Programs Face Closure

Facing a severe financial shortfall, the Los Angeles Unified School District in March passed a conditional budget that would cut its entire adult education program, serving hundreds of thousands of mostly immigrant and working class Angelenos. The worst-case scenario budget could be enacted later this year if a number of tax measures on this November’s ballot do not pass, and if the district is unable to come to agreement with the teachers union on salaries and furloughs. At stake is the education of nearly one third of LAUSD’s students, who are adults hoping to obtain their high school diplomas on their way to college, or learn English, or simply obtain job skills.

Writing for the Huffington Post, UCLA Professor Marjorie Faulstich raises the fact that Adult Ed program comprise only 2% of the LAUSD budget, and as such, are extremely financially efficient. She asserts that more than 10% of the district’s budget is classified as “Other Operating Expenses,” and asks, “Why not make smaller cuts across the board, so that no one group is totally sacrificed? At the very least, the LAUSD should explain exactly what these “other” budget expenses are, and why the ax shouldn’t fall there instead.”

As a whole, the US is well behind other developed nations in its number of adults with post-secondary education credentials, according to a new study by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). Only 41% of young adults have college degrees in the US, compared with nearly 60% in countries like Canada and Japan. In order to achieve similar rates of education, the US needs 24 million more college graduates by 2025. The study estimates that closing the degree gap would bring an additional $600 billion of revenues nationally. Cuts to Adult Ed programs in cities like LA could potentially curtail the college aspirations of thousands of adults.

GUEST: Dan Kaufman, an Adult ESL teacher with LAUSD, who teaches at the Korean American Center during the day, at its Menlo campus in the evenings.

Visit www.saveadulted.org and www.lastudents.org for more information.

Click here to read Steve Lopez’s article in Sunday’s edition of the LA Times about the Adult Ed programs.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “What’s at Stake As LA’s Adult Ed Programs Face Closure”

  1. Liliana Martinezon 30 Apr 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you for changing the terms in which this important issue is being discussed. Why should we settle for crumbs and a greatly reduced program when LAUSD spends millions on undisclosed expenses? We provide a tremendous service to our adult students which improves our communities and society at large– including by impacting and improving the learning outcomes of their children in K-12 schools. Education is not negotiable, indeed it is a human right!

  2. Jeffon 30 Apr 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Anyone concerned with the civil rights of LAUSD Adult Education students can file a request for legal action by the ACLU on behalf of LAUSD Adult Education students. I just did it…it took about 2 minutes. “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
    Advocate for justice!