Thousands of students and teachers at the nearly three dozen adult education and occupational centers in Los Angeles could be in for a very bitter Valentine's Day.
The Los Angeles Unified School District board is set to vote Tuesday to cut the $200 million currently earmarked for adult education in order to reduce the district's $557 million deficit, Patch reports.
Opponents of cutting adult schools say that the programs save the city money in the long-run by giving individuals who need a second chance an opportunity to become productive citizens.
One such group of individuals including high school students at risk of not graduating. According to the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA), adult education centers last year reduced the district's high school dropout rate by 10% by providing courses that wouldn't otherwise have been available.
Rebecca Joseph, Cal State LA associate professor, wrote about one such student in a blog for the Huffington Post. Joseph describes how Julianna wanted to graduate high school and make something of herself. The only problem? She had already blown off 9th and 10th grade. Julianna couldn't make up failed classes during summer school because LAUSD had eliminated most summer school offerings, and she couldn't make up the classes at community colleges because they have almost completely eliminated spots for high school students. It was through adult school, which Julianna says "saved my life," that she was able to graduate and head to college.
Adult schools also provide vocational training for veterans, laid-off workers and young adults as well as basic English and math education for immigrant parents so they can help their kids with homework, the Daily Breeze describes.
The vote on adult education comes after UTLA members voted and approved last week an initiative that agrees to using test scores as a part of a new teacher-evaluation system in exchange for the district calling a moratorium on layoffs, the Los Angeles Times reports.
This call for an end to layoffs, as well as the call to protect adult education, will be made loud and clear Tuesday as teachers and students plan a "Stop the Reduction in Force Insanity" protest from 1-5 p.m. at LAUSD headquarters downtown. According to a UTLA press release, the board is expected to vote Tuesday to send over 5,000 layoff notices.