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Patch Blog: Why Businesses Should Support LAUSD Adult Education

A week remains to save LAUSD Adult Education, a lifeline for immigrant families, impoverished communities, and students of color. Several local business have helped in the effort to save the program.

"I am dismayed, disappointed, disturbed by your recommendation to terminate the Adult Education Program! — Dr. William Johnson, Former LAUSD Superintendent, 1971-1981"

The consequences of decades of regressive tax injustice combined with the economic crash engineered by Wall Street mortgage derivative malefactors, have allowed for the neoliberal dream of carving public education to the bone.

Using the budget shortfall in Sacramento as cover, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board President Monica Garcia and LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy have recommended a draconian budget that cuts off the veritable lifelines for immigrant families, impoverished communities, and students of color. Unconscionable in any circumstances, their proposed budget is even more grievous given the hundreds of millions of dollars of public property and resources they have given away to private charter corporations over the past couple of years.

One of the first items on the LAUSD chopping block? One of the district's oldest and most important programs — Adult Education. More than 345,000 students are currently enrolled in various adult education programs including:

 

  • English as a Second Language (English Langauge Learners)
  • High School Graduation
  • Citizenship Preparation
  • Parent Education
  • General Equivalency Degree Preparation
  • Elementary School Graduation
  • Occupational Programs Leading to Employment. Careers. Jobs, etc.
  • Lectures on Current Issues and Topics

 

Efforts are underway to save these critical programs. So far thousands of signatures have been collected, hundreds of phone calls made, and various other means of trying to convince the LAUSD Board to save Adult Education have been employed. Moreover, it isn't just the students at these schools and community activists supporting adult education. Indeed, many local business support LAUSD Adult Education for reasons including providing workers from the community better prepared for positions.

Several Echo Park business were willing to show their steadfast support for LAUSD Adult Education by posting signs in their establishments. Three featured here (in alphabetical order) include:

 

 

If you're an Echo Parque business, parent, student, or community member that wants to get involved, please look into the following resources.

The Save Adult Education Website has petition blanks, phone numbers to contact individual Board Members, contacts for letter writing campaigns, and so much more!

In the case that you can't sign a paper petition (which are preferable), there's also an online petition.

saveadulted.org also has a facebook page and a twitter feed. Whatever support you want to lend, do it quickly. The Board is set to vote on the zeroed out budget on Tuesday, February 7, 2012. While it's almost unfathomable that Mayor Villaraigosa's majority of aligned Board Members would vote on something that would be particularly devastating to the poor and immigrant communities, that's what they will do unless enormous political pressure is brought to bear on them.

A person intimately involved in local education issues put it this way: "Cutting Adult Education is like willingly volunteering to extend the recession for another year or so." How appallingly true.

Please help.

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.

Robert D. Skeels January 30, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Correction. It is now my understanding that the LAUSD Board of Education will vote on this issue on February 14, 2012, rather than the 7th. That in now way reduces the sense of urgency, please act now to help save LAUSD Adult Education.
Cheryl Ortega January 30, 2012 at 09:46 PM
LAUSD school board is also in the process of eliminating most of the preschool programs, the most time-honored of which, Student Readiness and Language Development Program (SRLDP) has a significant parent ed program. So they are cutting off access to education for the youngest and the oldest of our people and the parents of our "low achieving" children. Instead of supporting our impoverished communities, our school board will, once again, leave them without resources.

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