As the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) receives a dwindling amount of state finances and faces a continually shrinking budget, the district's adult education program faces the chopping block for the 2012 to 2013 school year. With the potential closure of all 24 adult community schools, councilwoman Jan Perry created a unanimously supported resolution in support of funding for these schools, according to a statement from Perry's office.
"We cannot afford to lose these critical programs that so many rely on. It will be detrimental to the students and the families of Los Angeles who have used adult education to supplement their education and assist with career development," Perry said in a statement.
If the adult education centers are closed, approximately 250,000 students throughout Los Angeles could be affected -- including people taking English as a second language, computer classes or general-education diplomas (GED) courses.
KPCC reports that the preliminary LAUSD budget released earlier this year had $0 earmarked for the $120-million Division of Adult and Career Education (DACE). The United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), students, select city officials and others have since expressed their long-term concerns with the elimination of adult education.
"When you cut adult education, when you close down LAUSD's adult education program, which is the largest and most successful job retraining program in the western United States," UTLA President Warren Fletcher told KPCC in April. "It's like asking the recession to last a year longer in L.A. It's foolish, it's very foolish."
Many who opposed the cut said it would not only halt academic progress for the adult students, but could undermine their longer term goals of finding employment, establishing careers and helping improve the overall economy of the L.A. area.
“Adult education helps break the cycle of poverty for tens of thousands of people," Perry said in a statement. "It affords a vital second chance for adults that seek to reconnect with an education center to complete their high school education and find job training that reflects job market opportunities.”
The average adult education student is described as being low to moderate income and viewing their schooling as a pathway to "a higher standard of living," according to a statement from the UTLA. Many of the adult students also have children who are enrolled in LAUSD elementary, middle and high schools.
But school closures wont just affect the students -- according to the LAUSD, 3,617 adult education teachers, substitutes and administrators would be laid off under the new budget as well.
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