California’s fiscal crisis has many immediate and clear impacts, but other serious consequences are less obvious. Recent budget cuts to basic skills education – those adult education classes that teach the English and math skills necessary for success in jobs, community colleges, universities, or vocational education – are already translating into fewer courses, teacher layoffs, and restrictions on enrollment. With more cuts being proposed by Governor Schwarzenegger, CBP Senior Fellow Barbara Baran and CBP Senior Policy Analyst Vicky Lovell argue in an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle today that the state’s economic competitiveness is threatened as well.
Before the budget crisis, basic skills education was starting to get the attention it deserves: Reforms were under way and funding was up. Demand for these classes was growing as students sought training for new jobs. Now, they write that “dismantling these efforts is likely to ensure that the next generation of workers will be the first in the state’s history to have lower levels of educational attainment than the generation that preceded it, threatening California’s economic future.”
— Lisa Gardiner