by Alan Helfman
School districts looking to leverage student success would be well-advised to look to $525 million on the table. The funds are from the California’s Adult Education Block Grant. This grant provides significant discretion for local planning and implementation as part of the Local Control Funding Formula and is intended to help restore and grow the adult education system.
This new grant program focuses on education and workforce preparation. The program also reinforces the state’s overall effort to address employment needs while also dealing with income inequities directly tied to literacy levels and job skills.
In keeping with the present emphasis on local control and decision-making, the grant program calls for 70 consortia, made up of the region’s local education agencies and community colleges, to collaborate and implement locally developed plans to offer services to adult students.
These partnerships have the potential to include elements that:
- encourage parents of K-12 students to partake in training opportunities
- use the LCFF to serve high school students in adult education programs that support English language acquisition, high school diploma courses and career preparation.
- provide parenting education within adult education with LCFF support
School boards in California have an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of creatively leading and leveraging this program.
At this stage within a new beginning for the adult education delivery system, it would be worthwhile for school districts to examine how they could best use the Adult Education Block Grant. And local board resolutions recognizing the benefits of the program can go far in informing the state legislature and governor’s office of the benefits of the state’s continued investment in its adult students and their future.
Alan Helfman is president and a founding principal at Adult Education Solutions in Los Angeles.