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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
April 22, 2021

Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:

California Adult Education Week: April 19-23, 2021

The California Department of Education celebrates California Adult Education Week April 19–23, 2021. Kindergarten through grade twelve based adult schools offer quality programs to meet the ever-changing economic and workforce development and lifelong learning needs of our diverse state.

Most students served through adult education deal with illiteracy, poverty, and high unemployment and are the most negatively impacted group when the state faces economic, social, and health challenges, most recently seen through the impact of COVID-19. There are currently 600,000 adult learners enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at adult schools across California that are in the age range to have children in our public school system. The impact of adult education is felt across generations, particularly for early childhood learners.

Adult schools provide a way for adults to complete secondary studies and obtain a high school diploma and equivalency at their own pace. Adult schools also help to prepare for and transition to postsecondary education and career training and provide critical opportunities to bring recent dropouts back to school. Adult schools provide instruction to those in the state who need ESL and citizenship courses and play a key role in the immigrant integration and path to U.S. citizenship, which is so important for our diverse communities. In this time of immigration reform, adult schools provide short-term career and technical training for adults seeking changes or enhancements in their career pathway.

The first recorded adult education class in California was held in the basement of St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco in 1856. The class was authorized by the San Francisco Board of Education to teach English to Irish, Italian, and Chinese immigrants. John Swett, who was the first volunteer teacher for the class, later became a State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

During Adult Education Week, the CDE and I salute the teachers, administrators, classified staff, and students of adult education programs statewide, honoring their efforts, persistence, and accomplishments.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Last Reviewed: Thursday, April 22, 2021

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