Response to LAO Report on Adult Education


The Adult Education Mission

Adult education has historically funded numbers of activities but two are most central to its mission: basic skills education (basic English, math, and English as a Second language training, including supporting individuals to acquire a high school diploma or GED) and short-term vocational education. As the LAO’s report suggests, both functions are in need of reexamination, however this brief focuses only on basic skills education.


Report Author: The California EDGE Coalition

Date: December 2012


The Legislative Analyst’s Office recently released a new paper, “Restructuring California’s Adult Education System,” which calls out the urgent need to re-think this state’s adult education program. The subject could not be more important or timely, particularly as funding for the program continues to erode. To learn more, download the full text of the article here.

Principles of an Effective Program

Integration: The Adult Education program, community college noncredit basic skills programs, and community college credit basic skills programs must be tightly integrated so students are not forced to take duplicative, disconnected courses.

Opportunity: Basic skills courses should link students to career technical and academic pathways that provide them the opportunity to continue their education.

Flexibility: Rigidly defining students by “levels” slows progress and wastes time and money; instead interventions should be flexibly tailored to the needs of students.

Student support: Basic skills students are much more likely to be successful if they receive adequate counseling, peer group support, and financial aid.


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