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The Eighties: Competency-Based Education &
Strategic Planning

Produced in 2005
Sacramento, CA

Music lyric: Madonna singing, "Living in a material world, and I am a material girl, living in a material world, and I am a material girl."

Description: Photo of President Reagan, waving.

Narrator: The early 1980's were characterized by the institutionalization of Competency Based Education in California adult schools.

The 1982 California State Plan required implementation of CBAE by local agencies applying for federal supplemental grants.

Description: Photo of Exemplary Practices and Program That Work report; close-up of California Adult basic Education Conference subtitle.

Narrator: California was the first state to build incentives for CBE implementation into performance based contracts.

Description: Slide showing timeline: 1982 – California State Plan requires implementation of CBAE by local agencies

Slide showing CBE programs: ABE/ESL Staff Development Vocational English as a Second Language – A Partnership with Industry; California CBAE Staff Development; ESL Teacher Institute; CASAS; Dissemination Network for Adult Educators

Narrator: The mid eighties, California pulled all of its federal money together for a concerted effort to implement CBE. Adult education staff development, assessment, dissemination, and evaluation projects were all linked. The mid-eighties featured heavy involvement of California adult education in job training initiatives. The federal initiatives were the Job Training Partnership Act, JTPA and JOBS. The California version was called GAIN or Greater Avenues to Independence.

Description: Video clips of students learning automotive job skills, office skills, medical, and technology skills; minority students learning English.

Narrator: Nationally, in the late eighties, the country was coming to grips with a changing workplace impacted by the demands of the technology explosion and the limitations of a workforce characterized by increasing percentages of disadvantaged minority and limited English proficient workers. The percentage of single parent homes increased dramatically. Dependent populations, the elderly, the disabled, and the incarcerated, were growing.

Description: Video clips of a mother leaving her child in daycare; two elderly women, a man pushing another in a wheelchair; and a conversation between and inmate and the educator

Narrator: Amendments to the Federal Adult Ed Act emphasized newly identified types of literacy: workplace literacy and family literacy.

Description: Video clips of women working in and office and a father with his children

Narrator: California adult education responded to the need to provide ESL instruction to previously undocumented aliens who had applied for Amnesty under the new Immigration Reform and Control Act. Over 50 percent of Amnesty recipients nationwide lived in California. Existing ESL programs were heavily impacted, many tripling in size.

Description: Slide showing education programs for undocumented aliens: Amnesty, SLIAG; IRCA; SAW; video clips of adult education classrooms – students sitting in class; woman teacher writing on a whiteboard; two men sitting in class taking notes.

Narrator: In response to the perceived chaos in California education funding and concerns about quality, Proposition 98 was approved by California voters. It set a minimum funding level for education and emphasized accountability.

In this climate, the Strategic Plan for California Adult Education for the 21st century was developed. The 1988 California State Plan for Adult Basic Education grew out of it. Four goals were identified for planning an adult education system to meet the needs of the future:

  • Improving access to users
  • Improving accountability
  • Improving program quality and responsiveness and
  • Improving planning and coordination

Description: California State Plan for Adult Basic education report pictured; adult Education for the 21st Century report pictured.