California Adult Education History
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logoCalifornia Adult Education: One Hundred Fifty Years

Purpose and History of the Video
California Adult Education is entering its Sesquicentennial year, and as a part of the celebration, there is a new video depicting its one hundred and fifty year history from 1856 - 2005. The video presents the lively chronological story of the major events of each decade using wonderful vintage photographs of our early history and video of more recent times.

OTAN now has this product available to purchase in DVD and VHS formats. In addition to the traditional "run movie" version, the DVD has a "run chapter" version, which may be useful when it is shown in instructional settings.The VHS tape is $25.00 plus tax and the DVD is $20.00 plus tax. For order details go to CA Adult Ed Products on the OTAN Web site (sign-in required). You may also order the DVD directly; or order the VHS tape.

This is a revised version of an earlier 30-minute video entitled "Meeting the Challenge," first shown at the 1992 state conference of the California Council for Adult Education (CCAE). The 1992 conference stressed the fifty year history of the CCAE as the only professional organization for all adult educators (administrators, instructors, classified employees) and students. The occasion was a luncheon honoring the contributions made by staff of the California Department of Education Adult Education Unit and by those who worked in the federally funded state adult education projects.

Video Sections
to view a sample, click on the logo.
Windows Media Player or RealPlayer required.
follow this link to download the Windows Media Player

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I. Beginnings of Adult Education in California

  • First recorded adult school in San Francisco 1856
  • John Swett, early teacher & principal
  • Establishment of evening schools in state
  • 1907, Evening School legislation
  • 1910, public education set aside legislation
  • 1914, four hour minimum day
  • 1915, Mary Gibson & the Home Teacher Act
  • 1919, Part Time Teacher Act

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II. Roaring Twenties

  • Expansion of "Americanization" program
  • 1921, legislation mandating adult education
  • Tradition of "any time, any place, any pace" education
  • Teacher training and credentialing
  • 1926, Ethel Richardson & the first State Plan for Adult Education
  • 1926, formation of Bureau of Parent Education
  • 1927, formation of Bureau of Adult Education

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III. Depression Thirties

  • Temporary closure of adult schools
  • WPA and CCC programs
  • George C. Mann becomes Chief, Division of Adult Education
  • 1937, first state handbook of adult education

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IV. Wartime Forties

  • Adult education enrollment grows again
  • Civilian Defense classes during World War II
  • Employment training for women
  • Military services training programs
  • Leadership of E. Manfred Evans
  • Establishment of California Council for Adult Education

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V. Fabulous Fifties

  • Development of modern adult education programs
  • A million students in 261 high school districts and 45 junior colleges

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VI. Expansion of Federal Role in the Sixties

  • Heightened national consciousness of need to improve economic conditions of disadvantaged populations
  • 1966, Adult Education Act
  • Federal vocational programs
  • California Regional Occupational Centers/Programs

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VII. Growth and Setbacks in the Seventies

  • Growth in adult education
  • National competency based adult education (CBAE) movement
  • Concepts of andragogy
  • Adult Performance Level research project
  • California encourages CBAE with AEA 309/310 projects
  • California Adult Competency Survey (NOMOS)
  • 1979, Strategic Plan for adult education in California
  • Southeast Asian refugees begin to impact adult programs
  • 1978, Proposition 13 tax reform initiative passed, resulting in dramatic change in how adult education was funded
  • Drastic reduction in adult education programs; whole categories of programs were no longer supported by apportionment
  • Ten authorized areas of adult education in California

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VIII. The Eighties: Competency-Based Education & Strategic Planning

  • Institutionalization of CBE in California adult schools
  • 1982 California State Plan, incentives for implementing CBE
  • Federal ABE funds used for linked projects to support CBE
  • California Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS
  • Dissemination Network for Adult Educators (DNAE)
  • CBAE Staff Development Project
  • ESL Teacher Institute
  • Job training initiatives (JTPA/GAIN/JOBS)
  • Federal AEA amendments and California programs address needs of changing workplace and dependent populations
  • Programs for amnesty applicants
  • 1988, Proposition 98, California voter initiative, set minimum funding levels for education and emphasizes accountability

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IX. Statewide Support Projects & Collaboration in the Nineties

  • Federal AEA funding used for statewide support projects:
  • OTAN, ESL Teacher Institute, ALIT, CASAS, Executive Development Program, Leadership Training Program
  • Innovative distance learning programs, California Distance Learning Project (CDLP)
  • OTAN Online, electronic system linking California adult educators
  • 1992 three-bill adult education reform package led to start-up of new adult schools
  • Increased collaboration through participation of multiple stakeholders
  • Federal and California legislation for welfare reform with an education component (CalWORKs)
  • Continuation of supplemental adult education funding in Workforce Investment Act (WIA)

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X. Accountability and outcomes in the twenty-first century

  • Standards-based education and accountability
  • 2003-2004 Program Data
  • New learning environments
  • California adult education opens door of opportunity and provides bridges to success
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