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Patch Blog: Why Does LAUSD Really Want to Cut Adult Education?

What's the real reason Superintendent Deasy and the LA Unified School Board want to cut adult education?

Your barista, your pharmacist, your babysitter, the waitress, bus boy and chef at your favorite restaurant, the person who made your clothes, the person who stocked your produce, the one who valet parked your car, they’re my students and LAUSD doesn’t want them to learn English anymore. 

            I’ve taught at Evans Community Adult School—the big white building on the corner of Sunset and Figueroa—for the last 10 years.  We have students from 96 different countries including the USA.  Evans has been a place where people from all over the world come together to learn about America and improve their English.  In addition to ESL classes, we have a pre-high school and high school program as well as career courses like early childhood development, pharmacy and office technology.  There are 347,000 students in the adult division of LAUSD.  Improving the lives of these students costs LAUSD the equivalency of eight days of their annual budget, yet for some reason Superintendent Deasy has decided to eliminate the whole division. 

            Many of my students are parents trying to learn English to help their children.  Many of them struggle just to make ends meet, often working until midnight, six to seven days a week.  They still come to class at 8am. Some of the night students work all day and come to school at night or work all night in sweat shops and come to class before going to work.  The thought of these students not having a chance to learn and improve their lives breaks my heart. 

            I also worry about the impact this will have on Los Angeles.  We already have one of the most undereducated adult populations in any major metropolitan area in the USA (Workforce Literacy Project 2003). 

            The Board of Education has the money. The LAUSD budget includes $793 million for “other operating expenses” which includes travel expenses and instructional consultants.   The capital outlay fund for $76.7 million includes books and media for libraries and equipment which is great, except for the fact that LAUSD has basically shut down all its libraries.  So where is this money going?  Who are these consultants?

            347,000 adults want to be educated and the Board of Education doesn’t want them to be.  I want to know why.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Stephanie Widmer March 07, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Thank you for sharing this!
Anthea Raymond (Editor) March 07, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Euphronia is also going to share some letters written by Evans students on this issue so look for those. Adult Education is a gateway for so many, much like our community colleges.
Cheryl Ortega March 07, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Although the public reason for cutting adult education is budgetary, there is clearly more to this. Could it be that some would like to maintain a permanent underclass of undereducated people who provide jobs and services for minimal (not even minimum) wages? Just to consider.
Robert D. Skeels March 07, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Thank you for publishing this important piece. Adult Education touches all of our lives in ways that many would never know. For those of us in the social justice trenches, we know it's a lifeline for the most vulnerable in our city, and society at large. It's unconscionable that Superintendent John Deasy and LAUSD President Monica Garcia would choose to balance their budget (full of pork for their political allies) on the backs of immigrant parents, young people seeking a second chance, and adults desperate job training and marketable skills. My wife (who attends Evans) and I were at a United Adult Students meeting the other day. There was a young woman who was developmentally disabled, and she explained that LAUSD Adult Education was the only place people like her could get skills training for work. She tried Community College, but they aren't geared for special needs students like herself. Tears were streaming from our faces as we listened to her plead to save Adult Education. It's for her, and so many like her, that we must continue this struggle. Deasy and Garcia's cruel cuts are -- especially on the heels of nine figure real estate giveaways to the lucrative charter sector -- in the words of my close comrade, social justice educator José Lara, are "an educational injustice!" Please support Adult Education. Here's a piece from Yoon Jung Lee http://saveadulted.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/big-evans-rally-on-february-29-2012/
andrea granados March 09, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Thanks teacher Im very sad because the LAUSD want to eliminet own education I wish the LAUSD thinks abuot the adult education thanks very much you are a wonderful teacher and person God bless you

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