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How many adult schools are there in California?

Though some adult schools closed following 2009 legislation that allowed school districts flexibility to use adult school funds for other purposes, Californians can still rely on more than 300 adult schools.


What groups and populations do these schools serve?

Primarily socioeconomically disadvantaged adults and minorities: those who failed to complete high school or even 8th grade, immigrants, the unemployed, and developmentally disabled. Some adult schools even conduct programs in our state’s prisons and jails.


How many Californians enroll in adult schools each year?

About 1.2 million adults, down from about 1.5 million prior to 2009.  Many schools must turn students away as they do not have the resources to serve all that seek enrollment.


What programs do California Adult Schools offer?

Dominating Adult school course catalogs are programs that enable students to acquire and enhance basic language and specific job skills.  The core adult school programs are Adult Basic Education (ABE), High School Diploma, English as a Second Language (ESL), Career Training, Parent Education, and programs for Developmentally Disabled adults.


Who teaches these classes and programs? 

California adult school teachers are fully credentialed by the California Department of Education. Many are former K-12 teachers who feel a special satisfaction in helping disadvantaged adults.


What does it cost to attend classes at a California Adult School? 

It depends on the program and the school, but tuition is usually minimal. English-as-a-Second (ESL) fees at most schools range from free to about $35. Job training courses are more expensive. Tuition for courses that lead to careers in the medical field can cost more than $2,000—still well below the cost for similar classes taught by private sector schools.


How are California Adult Schools funded?

Until recently, adult school state funding was controlled by a formula based on each school’s average daily attendance (ADA). Now, however, each school district decides how much to spend on its adult education program, though a recent study conducted by the state’s Legislative Analyst Office recommended the legislature create a dedicated funding source for California adult schools. Many schools are also able to qualify for federal and state grants to fund specific programs.


What is the difference between California Adult Schools and community colleges?

The more than 300 adult schools scattered throughout the state are accessible to many more Californians than the 117 community colleges. Adult schools cost less for students to attend, their teachers are paid less, their per pupil cost is significantly lower, and their classes are generally geared more toward lower functioning adults. For example, most community colleges do not offer beginning level ESL classes while most adult schools do.

Administrators at both entities, however, have come to recognize the possibilities for collaboration, and increasing numbers of alliances are being created throughout the state.


What affect do California Adult Schools have on their local communities?

California adult school impact communities in a positive way by providing their students with the skills to become better citizens, workers, parents, and family members. The result is higher employment, less dependence on social services, lower crime rates, and, best of all, a citizenry better able to deal with life’s many obstacles.