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
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 Parque 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 local 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.
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