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Growth and Setbacks in the Seventies

Produced in 2005
Sacramento, CA

Music lyrics: Bee Gees – Ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin' alive, stayin' alive, ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin' alive…

Description: Colorful disco floor pictured.

Narrator:The 1970's were characterized by growth in adult education, particularly in the fine arts, crafts, music and drama.

Description: Photo of student holding art piece; video of student working in arts and crafts workshop.

Narrator: Also in the 1970's, California educators became involved with the national competency based education movement.

Description: Video clips of several adult education classroom teachers in class; students graduating; students grocery shopping

Narrator: The concepts of andragogy were infused into program development. The CBE movement emphasized an educational framework relevant to the practical needs of adults. Topics were employability, functional literacy, high school certification, or consumer awareness.

In the mid seventies, the Adult Performance Level, the APL research project from the University of Texas, Austin, published its report on adult functional competency in the United States.

The APL study took a new approach to defining adult literacy. Rather than reporting adult literacy in child-based grade levels, it established a three-level scale for reading and writing tasks which adults need to perform if they are to function independently in American culture. Sixty-five life role competencies were identified. The study showed that one out of five adults functioned with difficulty in today's society.

Description: Photos of students learning life skills such as completing tax forms, grocery shopping, filling out job applications, etc.

Narrator: The California Department of Education's Field Services Unit increasingly encouraged the development of CBAE by funding new projects with monies provided under the Adult Education Act. The process to improve the delivery of adult education in California featured building a field-based model.

Description: Slide showing new programs: CACE, CALCOMP, ACE, Watts ABE Outreach, CLASS, ICB-VESL, L.A. CAPS, ICDS, NOMOS.

Narrator: 1978 was a pivotal year in California adult education. The California Adult Competency Survey, also known as the NOMOS study, confirmed the findings of the national APL study at the state level. In California, as well as in the nation, one out of five adults lacked basic skill competencies.

Also in 1978, amendments to the federal adult education act redefined its purpose as assuring "that all adults acquire basic skills necessary to function in society." A competency based approach to assessment and programming was adopted. Levels of adult functional competencies were identified as an alternative to school-based measures of literacy.

Description: Video clips showing students learning and instructors teaching competency based skills.

Narrator: Concurrently, by 1978 the flow of Southeast Asian refugees, who first began arriving in 1975, had reached flood stage in California adult schools.

Description: Photo showing refugees boarding boats out of Viet Nam.

Narrator: One out of three refugees coming to the United States chose California. Meeting the needs of these new Americans gave impetus to California CBE programs.

Description: Photo of Project PREP – Pendleton Refugee Education Program report

Narrator: 1978 was also significant for a dramatic change in how California adult education was funded and a resulting change in programming.

Description: Slide showing funding after when Proposition 13 passed; revenue in 1977-78 was 2.6 million and after Prop. 13 dropped to 1.8 million in 1978-79

Narrator: California voters passed Prop.13 property tax reform. In the ensuing legislation, the adult education revenue limit was eliminated and replaced with block grants to districts. Many adult programs were drastically reduced

As a result of Proposition 13, adult education programs were limited to 10 authorized areas: English as a Second Language, Citizenship, Elementary Basic Skills, High School Basic Skills, Parent Education, Older Adults, Handicapped, Health and Safety, Home Economics, and Vocational Training.

Description: Slide showing picture icons representing 10 authorized areas: ESL = ESL; figures with flag = citizenship; 2+2 = elementary basic skills; algebraic equations = high school basic skills; family figures = parent education; 50+ = older adults; wheelchair = handicapped; red cross = health & safety; house and dollar sign = home economics; and toolbox = vocational training.