43

More shocking news for adult ed in Oakland

Next week, the Oakland school district will consider a proposal to salvage what it can of its preschool programs for low-income families – at the expense of adult immigrants, refugees, high school dropouts and others looking to better their lives through education.

Adult education teachers and workers were told today to attend an important meeting at McClymonds. I’m told they sat in stunned silence as they heard the latest development:  The district administration will propose taking an additional 44 percent cut from adult education programs ($5 million) at a special school board meeting on Monday, June 14. Checking on the time; it wasn’t yet posted this afternoon.

That would shut down Oakland’s main adult education centers, leaving a budget of less than $2 million (down from $11.4 million this year). Edward Shands would close, as would Neighborhood Centers on International Boulevard and the Bond Street Annex.

The $9.5 million total cut would mean no more ESL classes, no more citizenship preparation, no more high school diploma classes for adults, and no career technical education, according to Brigitte Marshall, the director of adult ed. The only programs remaining would be some school-based family literacy programs, GED classes, and credit recovery for current high school students through independent study.

“It’s heartbreaking for everybody to see this happen, and heartbreaking to watch our superintendent have to make these kinds of decisions,” Marshall said.

The governor’s proposed cuts to early childhood education would wipe out nearly three-fourths of the district’s budget for low-income preschoolers (updated figures: $13 million out of a $17.9 million budget).

No one knows, yet, whether those cuts will make it into the final state budget, but school districts need to submit a balanced budget for 2010-11 by the end of June. While CFO Vernon Hal initially signaled that he might wait to see what happened in Sacramento before issuing additional layoffs, the administration determined it needed to go through with the cuts, said district spokesman Troy Flint.

If the state preserves some or all of the preschool funding, Flint said, the district would try to restore the programs it cut. But it would be nearly impossible to undo all of the layoffs and closures stemming from such a decision.

Flint said the administration will consider taking furloughs, a cost-saving measure was suggested at today’s meeting. But it’s likely the layoffs will take place either way, he said – and another round of classified bumping.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Nextset

    I was talking about CA economics with a friend who is on a municipal board and she said the sad thing is people don’t realize these are the good years. The projections over the next 5 years are worse – mainly because of shrinking revenue and projected increasing expenses. I’m not privy to the numbers she is and I have not tried to carefully examine the data for this. I was impressed that she, a liberal democrat, is getting briefings of this type.

    There will be a lot of cuts. Boards will have to decide what to throw overboard to keep the boat afloat. That’s their job now, finding a way to make all this work.

  • Deborah Washington

    Wow! This news really hurts. Such a decision! The babies or adults in dire need of education to eek out some level of decency in their lives. Say it isn’t true!A true case of things getting worse or hitting rock bottom before they get better. Aren’t there foundation funds or trust funds of bay area big buck folks to tap! Come on OPS Board where is your creativity. This should not be happening on YOUR WATCH!

  • Sue

    Nextset Says:
    June 7th, 2010 at 10:01 pm
    I was talking about CA economics with a friend who is on a municipal board … I was impressed that she, a liberal democrat, is getting briefings of this type.

    Huh?

    Why would anyone *not* get briefings related to their job, based on their political leanings?

    That makes no sense.

  • J.R.

    Sue,
    That particular syndrome has characteristics such as (judgmental, self importance, self aggrandizement, delusions of grandeur and high-mindedness). It’s nothing new, even the boneheads in the Klan suffered from it.

  • Amy Mueller

    It’s truly unfortunate, and, I believe the superintendent made the right decision. Kids come first. early ed is essential. Adult ed can be created in other ways. i also believe the economy will right itself, and people will creatively find new ways to thrive.

  • juan gonzalez

    Hi, I am a student at Edward Shands Adult School and I was very depressed when I heard that the school was closing down because I am so close to finishing my credits for graduation. I also think that some students really need that diploma to make their family proud and happy….And I need my diploma because my plans were to get my high school diploma and then go to college and earn my degree so that i can help my family out….

  • Bob Mandel

    It was not all stunned silence at AdultEd. At least two of us, Jack Gerson, a high school math teacher who I had invited as a fellow member of the OEA bargaining team, and I sharply challenged Supt. Smith and, secondarily, Gary Yee, the School President who was there to support Smith. I said that “I profoundly disagree with the decision. You say that ‘we can’t do anything that would trigger a return to State Control.’ But you are carrying out the State policies: cut, cut, cut. Leadership at this time is to refuse to implement the cuts. First, start by refusing to pay the next $6 million installment on the OUSD debt to the State. That alone would cover almost all the money you propose to take away from us to save the ECEs. Then sue the State to recapture the millions that the Fact Finder reported were misspent and misallocated under the State Administration. Dr. Yee has talked about suing the State over these monies for months—so where is the lawsuit? Supt. Smith: I’m from the Civil Rights generation. We acted to change wrong. What’s needed now, and something you should do, is join in civil disobedience at banks like Wells Fargo which received billions in bailouts while the schools are being starved, to demand that the banks and the federal government make us whole.”
    Jack then elaborated the point. He said that ‘you should not just be suspending payments but going after the entire $73 million in debt rolled up by the State Administrator. The government policy has been to recapitalize the banks at the expense of education and all social services…Furthermore, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and the other major banks are now using a new federal market credit to both invest in charter schools, profit from those investments, and take tax credits for investing. We must act to make the banks repay their loans and use all the repaid money for the schools.’

    There is an alternative to these endless, destructive cuts and teachers are now actively talking about them, seeing no other choice. After hearing the unacceptable trade off where either one vital part of education or another, ECE or AE, is to be sacrificed and played off against the other, the OEA Rep Council overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for massive campaigns directed at the banks and the federal bail-out by our State union, CTA, and our national union, the NEA. The motion calls for building a coalition with community, enviromental and social service organizations to make this a national issue. The theme: “Bail Out Schools and Communities, Not Banks and Bankers.”
    Bob Mandel, Adult Ed ESL Teacher

  • Kathi Roisen

    I teach ABE Math at the Edward Shands Adult School in East Oakland. My students are reeling from this decision. Many were in tears today when I explained the impact it would have on them. I don’t believe we can begin to know just how detrimental the school closing will be for this community. This is an underserved nerighborhood with a very disadvantaged population. Close to 40% of East Oakland residents do not have a high school diploma or GED. The Edward Shands school has been a place of hope and achievement for the residents for more than 40 years.

    No one disputes the importance of ECE, but to fund it at the expense of Adult Ed is foolhardy and pits equally deserving programs against one another.

  • lance White

    Hi my name is Lance and I am a student at Edward Shands. I have been going there for about 5 weeks and I am determine to get my diploma and by you shuting down the school I won’t be able to finsih my dreams, including others in my situation or worse. I am about 130 credits behind and I been incourage to finish high school and get my Diploma. I did not do this to myself it was stolen and “I claim it back in Jesus name” let go of our eduation and let us graduate. I have learn alot for the time I been here and I know if I keep going I will learn so much and by the time I get to the end I can graduate with the knowledge I have learn. Already summer takes alot from me now this. Govener of who it may concern, fund the schools and stop pocketing the money I know you are and “I demand you to release it in Jesus name” I don’t play with GOD and I dare you not to or a worser thing may come upon you. This is no ginks this is real, the real deal. You may not understand but people needs this in oakland and by you taking this away won’t inprove this but make things worse and by your selfishness you are “doing to others as you wish doing unto yourself.” I ask and beg of you to refund the schools before its to late. Amen.

  • oaklandHSteacher

    I am a high school teacher in East Oakland and see many students leave our school for various reasons every day. Edward Shands is a place that many of these students return to once they are ready and realize they need their high school diploma. The closing of this facility will be very detrimental to our community and to our population. I am very upset over this news and understand we are in tough economic times, but I think the district has choices and closing Edward Shands should not be one of them.

  • Nextset

    Sue: Understand the context of what was being said about those briefings. And the fact that this office holder was saying it to me. The discussion indicates the end of things as we know them. It inferrs municipal bankruptcy and the collapse of the municipality, and defaulting on the bonds. Not directly, of course. But to me, clearly.

    The very idea that the boards just might be sitting around talking about how they would pull the plug on things – if that’s what was happening – is a scary thing. The people I’m referring to have heretofore been eternal optimists. They are not known to even wargame in this kind of way. I’ve known them several decades and they haven’t talked like this before.

    It is the current stream of indicators that life is giving off to me that makes me concerned about the fate of the black kids who depend on the public schools to prepare them to make it in the Brave New World. I keep getting signals that the facade of normalcy is going to fall. It’s going to get a lot tougher if you can’t read and have no discipline & social skills. A lot tougher. I’m afraid things are about to change sharply towards lower standards of living and no one has even warned some people. Remember who got hurt during the Hurricane Katrina debacle and who didn’t get hurt (or even the Rodney King event). That is the kind of chaos we ultimately worry about.

    As for the students who are posting – they need to get a clue of where they fit in into the scheme of things. Cuts are coming to put it mildly. Where do they rate compared to students who didn’t flunk secondary school and need budgets for class? This isn’t a matter of the board or the governor pulling funds out of their rears and giving it away. There is a finite budget and there is competition for it’s allocation. In tough times, the Adult Ed doesn’t rate. If someone is thrown overboard, they are going to be it. Children first, you’re not a child anymore.

    Another concept that should have been taught in school.

  • J.R.

    I’ve got to agree with NS on this, we only have enough(barely)for each child to have “one” chance at a free public education. We no longer have the time,funds or inclination to encourage and wait for these assorted “class clowns” , “juvenile delinquents”, “thieves” and “perpetual adolescents”(by their own decision no less) to decide they are ready to be responsible and learn. They are on the “worlds” timetable now and there is no other choice except prison or death. So let us prioritize and give the innocent children the priority that they deserve.

  • Amanda De Anda

    Hi. I’m a student at Edward Shands, and it’s really sad to hear that the school is closing down. I disagree with this because it’s not fair to us. Yes, I should have done better 2 years ago in high school but hey everyone deserves a second chance. I had my hopes for getting my high school diploma, and now I’m starting to think maybe I should stop now. Why work hard for something I believe in getting, when I can’t even get it now. This school really helped me a lot, made me believe that I can do it, and pushes me to achieve my goals. Now I’m stuck. There aren’t other schools for me to get a diploma.

  • Suzanne Skrivanich

    I’m a teacher for West Contra Costa Adult Education. My husband first taught ESL at Edward Shands. I’m sorry to see what you all are being put through. To the younger brothers and sisters pursuing your education, I say, don’t give up. Let your shock and anger at this decision harden your determination to get that education, and you will get it. Don’t let them stop you. Keep looking for places to study. You’ll find them. Sometimes GED programs are embedded in other programs, like mechanical or electrical schools. There are still scholarships based on need for those schools, too. Also, community colleges offer a lot, including GED courses. The cc’s also have classes to specifically help you review math and writing. Good luck.
    I’d like to encourage everyone to write the president and make it clear to him how adult education serves our cities and economy. Tell him exactly the things you’re saying here. It’s easy. Go to whitehouse.gov,
    then click on ‘contact us’. You’ll get an email page, in addition to other White House contact info.

  • OaklandHSteacher

    J.R-my students who have gone on to attend Edward Shands are innocent and do not deserve to be called “class clowns”, “juvenile delinquents”, “thieves” and “perpetual adolescents”.
    My students in East Oakland are incredibly resilient, dedicated and strong. Please realize that although we have to make budget cuts these young people do not deserve to be classified under those terms. They are working to better themselves and better their community and all I ask is that you respect them for those things.

  • Siming

    I’m from China and I’m 21 years old. I’ve lived in the U.S. for almost a year. I was a college student before coming to the U.S…I am now taking a class in academic writing and also the GED class. My goal is to go to college again. I have to say the adult school really helps me a lot. At first, my oral speaking is very bad and I don’t know how to communicate with other, that made me very scary. But when I become a student in the adult school, things have changed. Now I feel far more comfortable talking with others in English and my listening and reading are way better than one year ago. And the most important thing is the adult school is free for us. That means a lot for new immigrants who don’t have a job. I’m willing to pay $100 to the school for each term if I need to; I think that may help to keep the school open. If the school close, I will lose a chance to improve my English, that’s really sad foe me.

  • Jaime

    I am from Guatemala and I came to the U.S. I’ve lived in the U.S. since July 2007. In my country I finished studying junior high school before I came to the U.S. When I was in school I didn’t studied much English, I just knew a few words, and than when I came here I began to study English in 2009 I started late because I didn’t know if here’s Adult School cause no one have told me. I am 20 years old now, in the Adult School I’ve had taken English classes, and now I’m in the Academic writing. I have planed to take the GED classes, and after that I would like to go to college, if it’s possible! This School has been helping me so much, and I’m thankful to the School and most to the teachers for being patient with us, because sometimes we are confused the words, we make mistakes, or we don’t understand. This class helps me a lot, not just me. It helps all of the people who’s taking classes in the School, because in this way we can be successful in our lives, finding jobs, go to the store, shopping, the English is usual

  • J.R.

    When you have already had your chance at mainstream school and failed, what do you call it?

  • OaklandHSteacher

    I say that these young people have had to endure circumstances that many have not even thought about, witnessed or been a part of. Yes, some drop out by choice, but others drop out for significant reasons and that is why I call them resilient and incredibly strong. The fact that they go back for a 2nd chance at their education shows their dedication. Now, I also understand OUSD is in a tough spot regarding the budget and I don’t have all the answers, but our students are more than class clowns, juvenile delinquents, thieves and perpetual adolescents.
    Come witness the incredible work that they are doing at Castlemont and places like Edward Shands.

  • J.R.

    If the choices are between very young kids who are having their first shot at education and kids who have failed multiple times of their own volition, guess who is first in line? BTW the incredibly strong and incredibly resilient are those kids that are from less than ideal homes and situations in life and yet they manage to stay in and finish school without dropping out. Those are the kids that deserve your praise, because you must not forget that the system is designed to graduate many kids anyway for just having a pulse.Go to youtube a watch the film “stupid in America” it is a bit exaggerated(most countries test only their best students but we test nearly everyone) but it does prove some valid points.

  • ‘Merican Dream

    My mother graduated from Shands when it was called “Adult Day School”. She had me at age 14. She graduated at 18 in 1977. She went on to get her A.A. and lead a respectable life. I graduated from college with a 3.0 and now have a 3.2 in my third year of my Master’s. It is sad to see these kids going through so much anguish because I know without this program I would likely have not been able to make it this far. Policies and politics are tricky, but with global corporations like Apple, Chevron, Bayer, Chiron, HP, Oracle, Clorox, Dolby, etc. (I could go on forever) why is there no money to fund the most essential programs for children and young adults. NEvermind the blight, nevermind the mayhem, healthy kids need options too! This is a pitiful situation that I wish Gray Davis was around to offer his insights on…Burs-hit!

  • Amiria Haddad

    I’m a student at Edward Shands Adult School. I’ve been attending for a year and trying to get my credits for my diploma. Then I want to get a job and go to college. I want to build up my life and be able to help others. Hearing that Edward Shands is going to close down made me very sad and depressed because I don’t know where to go to get my credits. I’m almost done. I hope the school board finds money to keep adult school open for us to get our education and credits and move forward in life.

  • Say What?

    I’ve noticed a few comments on this thread that seem to suggest that privately owned companies SHOULD be footing the bill or funding our public programs. It sounds like some people believe that successful corporations are OBLIGED to act as a social safety net. I don’t think that private companies owe society more than their fair share of taxes and what they voluntarily decide to give as charity. I do understand the outrage of the posters who are upset by the bailouts, and I share the dismay and disgust that public funds were used to line the pockets of the CEOs, employees and shareholders of these private corporations. I also agree that for profit companies need to be held accountable for their mistakes (or travesty in the case of BP). However, what I think I’m hearing from some posters is a forgone conclusion that private companies need to pony up and fund our public programs. Perhaps I am an outlier here, or maybe I need to go back and bone up on civics at my local community college, but that doesn’t sound right to me. It is tough to have to make choices during economic downturns, like closing Adult Ed. programs, but if we can’t fund the programs then they’ve got to go. And no, you can’t go shaking people or companies down for money.

  • Teacher at middle school

    If the people who were screwing around the first time- I see a lot of those in middle school- really want to get a diploma, they could try to get a GED. It would require that they actually work hard and go to a library or pay for the internet at home but there is no reason they can’t do it. People who really want to learn and not just take the easy way out can do it on their own. If they aren’t smart enough to do that, then maybe they shouldn’t be getting a high school diploma anyway. Judging from Lance’s English, I am not sure he should be getting one.

  • Pedro T.

    My name is Pedro. I’m from Mexico and I attend the adult school of Oakland, CA, OACE (Oakland Adult & Career Education). When I heard the news about how they are going to close the adult schools in Oakland, I really felt so bad because it’s so important to us to continue learning English. I already have one year in this school. I take ESL classes and GED. I also think some students really need to get a GED diploma to get a better job and go to college. Maybe a good alternative is that all students to pay a fee for classes.

  • Barbara Knox and her students

    I teach English as a Second Language at Clinton Park Adult School, Oakland Adult and Career Education. My morning students are from China, Mexico, El Salvador, Yemen, Vietnam, Guatemala, Myanmar, Eritrea and Thailand. Three students have lived here more than ten years. Eight students have lived here for three years or more. Two are refugees and have recently arrived this year. My Muslim student came to school for the first time in this country. She was a farmer in her country and had no formal education there. My most educated student has a four year university diploma. Only one other student has a high school diploma. The other students went to school from 6- 10 years in their countries. Three of my students have taken computer classes at adult school. Three are concurrently enrolled in Citizenship classes. Here is what my students said when I asked them about their goals:
    “I need to learn English very well to talk for more people in English. I need to speak English at work and at the hospital if I get hurt.”
    “My goal is to speak English because I like to work in hotels. I need a job to support my family.”
    “I need to study English well to get a job and help my family.”
    “I need a job to make more money to help my family.”
    “I need for the job.”
    Two students are retired. One is a full-time student. Six out of 20 are unemployed.
    When I asked them how they felt about the school closures, they responded,
    “Very sad…Upset…very upset…I don’t have any options…Triste [sad]“

  • Ayelew Yimer

    I’m an ESL student at Shands Adult School. I come from Ethiopia, Africa. I came here six months ago and still now I’m learning English. The school helps me to polish my English and to prepare for college, but this news is very frustrating. I don’t know what to do if it is closed. It is the right place to prepare myself and everybody to prepare for job skills or GED or citizenship, so this place in my opinion is the right place. I urge for the government to do a good thing and keep my school open.

  • Yoan Juarez

    I’m in the high school diploma program at Shands. I really need these classes so I can get my diploma and by shutting down the adult schools, it gives me less hope. I need my high school diploma so I can have a better job and career. I have a current job but I want a better paying job. Instead of choosing to be out like slacking off and in the streets, I’m taking my second chance and going to school. If more people are in school, there will be less crime. That’s what I know.

  • Shakimia Thompson

    I’m trying to get a high school diploma at Shands so I can get a good job, take care of my 18 month old daughter and go on to college. I can’t go to college until I get some basic education and finish my credits. Some things happen in life and I don’t think I blew it but i didn’t finish with my class. All that matters is that i”m doing it now.

  • Antonio Espinosa

    I am trying to get my diploma as I’m posting this. And now I hear that Edward Shands is closing and I only need 5 more credits.I was hoping to start college in the fall and won’t be able to start because of the budget cuts at adult schools – I am hoping the school will be open for next year.

  • Vianeth

    I need my diploma to be a success in my medical career. I’m a medical assistant and have a job, but I want to be a registered nurse and I need a high school diploma. I didn’t have enough time to finish my credits in high school because when I came here I was almost 18 years old. So now I’m trying to finish my diploma and go to work and I have two children. I am mad and depressed because I don’t know where to go after Shands.

  • George flores

    Today I feel mad because Shands is about to shut down which is really a critical time for us students. I need to better my English skills and be more professional. I want to get credits to graduate. I passed CAHSEE and just need to get some credits. I won’t have the opportunity to get those credits because of the school shut down. And for me it’s hard because both of my parents are unemployed and my big brother got laid off and I’m the second oldest son to try to make a difference in the household so I can help out both of my parents. But now it’s crazy. I don’t know what to do. It’s sad that all these good teachers are going to be laid off which they are some of the best teachers that ever taught me from bottom scratch to where I am right now. I’m learning new things. I hope our school will stay open and the awesome teachers will be there.

  • Nextset

    The sad thing about these posts is that our government is so much at war with the people of the USA they are importing new people more to the liking of the elites to take the place of the people of the US.

    All this when municipalities are openly planning to shut off street lighting, layoff police and fire officers and even shut down various parts of public education for Americans.

    Exactly why are we permitting immigration of anything other than highest skill people? Why are we importing people who need primary or secondary education – or medical care – for our working families to not only pay for but to give their own places in the economy to?

    The posters here who just got off the boat or plane – I rather think they will be allright in the end. Even though we are in the process of shutting off the gravy train of free services paid for by our own working families – history has shown us the immigrants will be fine. They will find both private charities and institutions (such as the Catholic Church and it’s schools) and some government municipalities to give them enough patronage for them to use with their own qualities to make it. And good for them. My parents sponsored a Hungarian Refugee who came over to join her husband when they both had nothing but the clothes on thier backs. Last I heard they were now millionaires. And I have met a lot of such people, many ethnic minorities.

    But during the Great Depression II we have no reason not to cancel all these green cards and end all government hand-outs including education. Those who don’t find private sponsorship (or have their own funds) are welcome to leave.

    Bet they manage in the end. If they didn’t have that quality they wouldn’t have made it this far.

    We are maybe a year away from municipal bankruptcies and collapse of essential services. No more taxpayer money for anything other than deportation of indigent unsponsored foreigners.

  • Kathi Roisen

    In response to J.R # 18: I’ll be happy to tell you what you call it:
    You call it growing up poor in a broken home and moving so frequently due to economic distress that your education is interrupted and you fail to progress

    You call it being the victim of serious illness or the child of someone with a serious illness without health insurance…and deciding to drop out of school to take care of a dying parent

    You call it having a learning disability and parents who are not sufficiently sophisticated to game the system (how about all the wealthy kids who magically manifest ADD just a couple of years before the SAT’s (for extra testing time) b/c their parents are lawyers, psychologists or just plain highly educated, and know all the tricks and pay private specialists thousand of dollars to get a diagnosis) or advocate for their child

    You call it being an immigrant and needing an opportunity to learn English…Are you a decendant from the Mayflower? My guess is no. My grandparents were impoverished immigrants without a word of English when they arrived here in 1914. Had it not been for night school and opportunities to learn English, citizenship and other academic skills, there’s no way of knowing that my family would eventually be full of successful upper middle class college and law school/medical school graduates.

    You call it being human and making mistakes that you want desperately to correct. Middle class and wealthy kids blunder just as often as poor minority kids. The difference is that the former usually have a safety net, so the impact of the mistakes is softened and they rarely pay with their futures.

  • Angelica Brambila

    I am a student at Edward Shands School and I’m worried about the decision the district take about closing this school. This school gives me a lot of opportunities. First I studied ESL and then adult basic education classes. Now i study Culinary Arts the first level. I am very sad because I will not have the opportunity to continue in the second level in the fall. Please think about the importance of education and how you can help us to improve our skills.

  • Salomon Alvaro

    I refuse to accept this wrong decision from the government and school board. What happen to my future and my teachers when the school closes? At this moment I am a student in English at Shands school trying to learn English to get a better life in this great, rich country. I feel sad and upset. Please don’t close the school, because our community won’t be stronger.

  • Fanny Hernandez

    I’m a student at Edward Shands. I want to continue to study English and computers because I need to improve my English. I want to go to college and I need these classes to prepare. I work very had. This is my opportunity to find a better job.

  • Magdalene Uwaifo

    I am a student in adult education at Shands. I have English class. I’m very worried for this school close because it is helping me for English and learning. It helps my kids in school. It is close to my kids school when I drop my kids I go right to school. I really need my class back. I don’t want my school to close because we need it for learning.

  • Julio Cesar Hernandez

    My name is Julio and I am a student at the adult school Shands. I study English for a second language and also I study GED. I prepare for a job and also to go to college. For this reason I don’t want to close the school. Many students come here for ESL and computer and nursing assistant program. Please please please keep my school open. It’s really important for the community.

  • Patricia Arazola

    My name is Patricia. I am a student of ESL. I need to learn English to help my children in the school. Sometimes they tell me they need some help and I need English to help them with many things. And when I have a meeting with the teacher I need to speak English. Don’t close my school. Please.

  • Ayanet

    I’m sad because my school is closing. I study English and computer class. I need learn more to help my children and for my job. I have a job. The school is very important for the future for me and my family.

  • Ann Wong

    I need my school to learn English. My goals are I want to help my niece and nephew. I take care of them and I need English to teach them and computers too. Later I want to get a job because when I was in Texas I had not adult school. So I was so happy to move here to learn English. It’s my goal. Maybe when the economy is better I will try to get my own business. I must learn more English. I hope Shands will open again. It is my hope and dream.

  • Donald Spagel

    It was heartbreaking to learn that ESL and citizenship will no longer be offered to English language learners. I have substituted in this program for the past 5 years and have witnessed growth, joy, and leaps forward in earning power among the students whom I encountered. And, I believe, they all pay taxes and so should be able to reap the benefits of free public education.
    There are no easy answers to the current situation, but I believe that pitting the financial needs of one program against another shows a failure in leadership and imagination on the part of the superintendent and the district.