Background of the California Adult Education Oral History Project
Adult education in California has a proud history of helping its citizens
to meet the challenges of life in a huge, complex, multicultural state.
Through the years, California adult educators have provided leadership
to the nation in the development of innovative instructional practices
and creative educational solutions.
The California Adult Education Oral History Project began in 1992 as
a companion to a print history of adult education commissioned by the
California Department of Education. The print history was published in
1995 as Meeting
the Challenge: A History of Adult Education from the Beginnings to the
1990s. The oral history project started with five leaders
whose careers began in the 1950's and 1960's and who witnessed and influenced
important events in the development of the nation's largest adult education
program. Seven interviews were added in 1994 – 95, six in 1995 –
96, four in 1998 – 99, five in 2001, and two in 2005.
The careers of the twenty-nine interviewees, twenty men and nine women,
span seventy years of adult education in California. The participants
represent the varying professional roles, organizations, and geography
that comprise our state's diverse adult education programs. Included
are teachers, administrators, program coordinators, federal project directors,
and leaders of professional organizations. Even the unique perspectives
of a board member and a student are included. The interviewees worked
in a variety of settings--large, medium, and small public school adult
programs in all parts of the state, and four community colleges. The rich
ethnic diversity of California is represented.
The 2001 group featured the viewpoints on California adult education
of two leaders from the U.S. Department of Education. The 2005 group featured
two successful adult education students who reached their goals as a result
of adult education and includes interviews with their mentors.
The original interviews were done on sound cassettes, all of which have
been transcribed and indexed. PDF files of the transcripts are available on this Web site, as are
combined subject and name indexes. The original cassette tapes and transcripts
are deposited at the Oral
History Archives, California State University, Fullerton,
and copies may be purchased from CSU Fullerton. The tapes were transferred to reel to reel
format or DVD format and deposited with transcripts in the California
State Archives. Copies of the cassette tapes and transcripts
are also in the California
Adult Education Archives at the Sacramento County Office
of Education, Outreach and Technical Assistance Network.