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Students rally to support adult education programs

April 17, 2013|By Carla Rivera
  • Juan Noguera, an ESL teacher, holds petitions signed in support of adult education at rally held in front of Evans Community Adult School in Los Angeles.
Juan Noguera, an ESL teacher, holds petitions signed in support of adult… (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles…)

A group of adult education students held a rally Wednesday to demand greater funding for adult education programs.

About 30 members of the group United Adult Students gathered at the Evans Community Adult School in downtown Los Angeles to gather signatures for petitions that will be presented to lawmakers in Sacramento on Thursday.

With about 10,000 signatures already in hand, they are calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to dedicate greater funding to adult education and to keep programs located in local K-12 school districts. The group also wants to be included in decisions about how to reform the program.

As part of his 2013-14 budget, Brown had proposed shifting responsibility for all adult programs to community colleges, funded with a new block grant of about $300 million.

The amount is about one-third of that provided for adult programs before the state’s fiscal crisis.

The proposal was rejected by the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, but the fate of adult programs and funding levels is still to be determined during budget negotiations between the Legislature and the governor.

Many adult programs have cut back services or closed since 2008-09, when the Legislature gave school districts temporary flexibility to shift funds earmarked for adult programs to other uses.

Advocates argue that adult programs such as vocational education, English as a second language, basic skills and citizenship are critical needs in many communities.

“Many students who are parents need to learn English so that they can help their children,” said Juan Noguera, an ESL teacher at Evans who is an advisor to the student group. “We want a dedicated funding stream for adult education and we want to be a part of the negotiations.”

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carla.rivera@latimes.com

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