Brown proposes CC’s take on adult education

Steven Luke

Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest budget proposes change that would affect not only K-12 schools, but community colleges as well.

Brown would move the adult education program from the purview of K-12 school districts and into the California Community College system. This could have a major impact on both systems, and mean a big change at LMC.

But, the potential change would have the most impact on the students of adult education.

Students in the adult education program most commonly go back to school because they are motivated enough to get the education that eluded them in the past, and are ready to try for their General Education Development test. Antioch Adult Education instructor Diana Glaser, who teaches both GED and English as a Second Language classes, said that students often come back after 10 to 30 years out of school.

“They appreciate their second chance,” Glaser said, adding they are often different because, “they’re motivated students that want to be here.”

Even though these students have made the decision to go back to school they are often anxious and unsure of themselves. Glaser said she often remedies that anxiousness by giving one-on-one attention to those who are unsure.

Jeannine Stein, a math professor of 31 years at LMC, doesn’t think that one-on-one time is something that would be practical at the college level. As a professor for MATH 4: Basic Math and Study Skills, Stein says that she, too, often deals with students who are anxious. With an average of 34 students per class at the beginning of the year Stein can’t give those anxious students the one-on-one time currently given to them in Adult Education.

But Math is not the only thing that could be affected by the proposed move. English and ESL programs would have to take on new students as well.

Glaser said that her ESL students, in particular, are comfortable where they are and have told her that logistically and geographically, it would be harder for them to get to the LMC campus.

LMC ESL Instructor and Program Coordinator Paula A. Gunder, understands that the students may have a problem if they have to move to LMC. But she said the program is currently set up in a way that moving these students would not require new courses because they already run a basic ESL level like that taught at the adult education level.

“The LMC ESL program was constructed to meet the needs of four levels of English language proficiency ranging from basic, to beginning, to intermediate, to advanced,” Gunder said.

Glaser is still worried about what could happen to her students.

She says that her GED students have told her they would not feel comfortable taking classes at a college campus. That could cause these students to give up on their education again.

“I’m worried that students in both programs could get lost in the shuffle,” Glaser said, and that is not something that she wants to see happen to them.

Stein also believes adult education should remain where it is, but for a different reason.

She said the GED program is too different from the way math and English are taught at the college level.

GED is taught to the students so that they can pass the proficiency test, while even in the beginning math courses at LMC the students are taught so that they can move on to the next level.

This is an issue that may not come to pass as members of the State Assembly Education Finance Committee unanimously voted against it.

The State Senate has decided not to take action on Brown’s proposal at this time, and it is not yet known when they will.