Public schools as providers of adult education.
Excerpt from an interview with:
LEE W. CLARK by CUBA MILLER
May 18, 1995
Lee, during the late '60s and up to 1970, early '70s, in some areas they
made a distinct decision as to where the adult education program
should reside, and, well, we can talk about San Jose and the
Metropolitan program and the Los Angeles program as examples of
large districts where adult ed. remained with the public school system.
Other large systems such as San Francisco and San Diego opted to go
with the community colleges and to place all of their adult ed. there.
Do you know what was involved in the decisions as to where to place
adult ed.? You know, when those divisions were taking place? That's
a little different point than the community colleges encroaching once
their own enrollments dropped.
And there were others, such as Modesto, where they were running the
program. If a community college takes over the adult ed. totally, including the
high school/elementary [programs], then they have to have permission to do
that. They don't exactly contract, but they have a legal agreement [with the
public school district]. Because technically a community college is not
supposed to issue any kind of an elementary or high school diploma. And they're
supposed to actually go back and have it issued by the [public school
district]. It didn't [always] happen that way, but that's the way it was
supposed to be. But in the [case] of San Diego and San Francisco, at the time
they had huge programs and participated with us in adult ed. When we heard of
that law [allowing adult ed. programs to be moved], we were really appalled.
It's because they [got] an extra million bucks [due to different funding
levels] for simply transferring what they [were] doing over to the community
colleges. And that was a sore point for many years.
Yeah. Have you ever given consideration, or statewide was there ever much consideration given to a third separate system for adult ed.? You know, separate from both the community colleges and the public schools?
It was talked about a little bit. I think Tom Johnson was one individual who felt that way, and I personally felt eventually that that really was the only way to travel, to get out and not to cut all the connections and all, but to … For example, the joint powers ROP programs, like in the Fremont area, the Mission Valley, they have the business department of Fremont Unified doing all of their business and hiring work and things like that. They contract with them. And I think a separate system … I think Wisconsin has a separate system like that, but I think having autonomy of the community college people who are in pure adult education and whatnot, it certainly is a way we need to think about, but you barely hear about it as a … I don't know what.
As an option. Yeah. And certainly on some level the community college-sponsored adult ed. programs are very integrated and very cooperative with the public schools. And in other areas where the encroachment has taken place, then there's … you know, the tension is there.