Major Adult Education Program Changes

As consortia members begin work on this landmark legislation, a number of points are worth observing since they represent major changes to the state’s adult education program from what existed prior to the enactment of AB 86 in 2013. It is worth noting that major changes to programs enacted by the Legislature may need additional legislation to clarify provisions. This potential for additional changes needs to be observed as AB 104 is implemented statewide.

AB 104:

Calls for California’s Adult Education Program To Have a Workforce Focus:

AB 104 requires adult education programs to produce results that respond to the workforce education and training needs of the state’s adults.

Requires Local Planning and Decision Making With Flexibility and Outcome Requirements:

Similar to the state’s K-12’s Local Control Funding Formula, this legislation is requiring adult educators to design and deliver programs that respond to the education and job training demands of adults in a regional consortium. While flexibility is granted in designing a local program, local plan results will impact future funding.

Replaces A.D.A. Entitlement Programs with a Grant Program:

Prior to AB 104, apportionments to K-12 districts were based on average daily attendance (A.D.A.) units that were earned by pupil attendance. Each unit of A.D.A. was worth about $2500 and required 525 hours of pupil attendance.

The AB 104 grant program calls for a consortium to implement a three-year plan with annual updates that will be evaluated by state officials. Two major factors will be used to evaluate the successful implementation of a consortium plan and determine future funding: number of students served and specific student outcomes of a consortium plan to determine its effectiveness.

Requires Immediate and Definitive Decisions and Actions at the Consortium Level:

AB 104 contains provisions that call for consortium-level decisions and actions that need to be addressed as soon as possible in order to begin the implementation of a three-year adult education plan in 2015-16 and maximize opportunities and funding in fiscal year 2016-17. Immediately, governing boards need to approve district representatives as consortium members.

Requires Consortium Participation:

Prior to AB 86 and AB 104, K-12 adult education programs and community college non- credit programs operated separately and autonomously. Now both entities are required to be in a consortium to secure state and federal funds. With AB 104, county offices of education and joint powers involved in adult education and workforce services are also now required to be members of a consortium to be eligible for funding.

Provides for Multi-State Agencies Oversight of Adult Education:

The oversight of AB 104 grant programs is now a shared responsibility of the California Department of Education and the Office of the State Community College Chancellor, with involvement by the Department of Finance and the Executive Director of the State Board of Education. Prior to AB 104, oversight was divided with the Department of Education responsible for K-12 adult education and the Chancellor responsible for community college programs.

Requires Public Notifications:

Plans to implement programs and distribute adult education funds will require consortia to institute a timely public notice and decision-making process with requirements that are similar to those of the Brown Act. The Brown Act governs the public notice and decision- making requirements of publicly elected boards, committees, and appointed commissions in California.

Requires Sharing of Information on District Programs and Resources:

Consortium members will need to share information on related programs that they offer and the resources being used to support these programs. This requirement is an integral part of the state’s effort to leverage resources and maximize outcomes in adult education and workforce services.

Allows Seven Adult Education Program Areas:

AB 104 identifies seven course areas that may be offered with the use of Adult Education Block Grant funds:

  1. Programs in elementary and secondary skills, including those leading to a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate.
  2. Programs for immigrants in citizenship, ESL, and workforce preparation.
  3. Programs for adults, including, but not limited to, older adults, that are primarily related to entry or reentry into the workforce.
  4. Programs for adults, including, but not limited to, older adults, that are primarily designed to develop knowledge and skills to assist elementary and secondary school children to succeed academically in school.
  5. Programs for adult with disabilities.
  6. Programs in career technical education that are short term in nature with high employment potential.
  7. Programs offering pre-apprenticeship training conducted in coordination with one or more apprenticeship programs approved by the Division of Apprenticeship Standards.

Allows Local Control Funding for Other Authorized Areas of instruction:

Prior to this measure, adult education was authorized within 10 areas of instruction. A school district may use its Local Control Funding Formula revenues to support any of the 10 areas previously authorized.