Newsletter - February 2021
The Voice of Adult Education
Dear MCAE Community,

There are many exciting things happening that affect ABE students and programs. With the new legislative session underway we need YOU to show your love for ABE and help us fight for the funding and priorities that our community needs. Read on for the latest updates you need to know.
Rachel Gwaltney, MCAE Director
MCAE News and Updates
Get Ready for NETWORK 2021!
Join us March 25-26 for the largest (virtual) adult education conference in New England, dig into 48 workshops on a wide range of topics, and reconnect with colleagues from across the Commonwealth.

Registration is coming soon, so look for that announcement and watch our website for more information.

Do you know an Outstanding ABE Student, Educator, or a program graduate going on to higher education? Nominations are open for MCAE’s annual awards and the Ruth E. Derfler Scholarship. Award nomination deadline: Feb. 11.
MCAE's 2021 Budget Ask and Legislative Priorities
This year, MCAE is calling upon the Massachusetts Legislature to invest $50 million in Adult Basic Education for FY2022, an increase of $3.6 million from FY2021. Funding at this level would allow Massachusetts to:

  • Serve more students, ensuring that every adult who is waiting for a slot can find one;
  • Reach underserved communities, increasing the likelihood that students are able to enroll in programs near where they work or live or via technology;
  • Attract and retain professional staff by improving compensation and working conditions to reduce costly and de-stabilizing turnover.
 
With your help, MCAE advocates for many issues that affect ABE students and communities, including immigrant rights, progressive revenue to fund education, and COVID protections for vulnerable populations. Find the complete MCAE legislative agenda here and be on the lookout for action related to these issues.
Massachusetts News and Updates
Action Alert! Governor Baker’s Budget Proposes Cuts to ABE Funding
Last week Governor Charlie Baker released his budget proposal for FY2022 to the Legislature, with a recommendation of $40,606,883 for Adult Basic Education (line item #7035-0002). If adopted, this would mean a $5.7 million cut from the FY21 enacted level.

Learn more about this proposed cut and how you can take action now to keep ABE as a top priority when legislators start their budget work in the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, the Governor’s proposal to cut ABE funding does not align with his January 25 State of the State address, which in he prioritized the “future of work” and celebrated the efforts of vulnerable front line workers like ABE students who work in grocery, health care, and other essential services. ABE is the foundation of a skilled workforce and can’t be ignored as work toward a just recovery.
Learn More about the State Budget
The Mass Budget and Policy put together some key questions about the FY22 budget that advocates should be asking to help ensure an equitable statewide recovery.
Reintroduction of the Safe Communities Act
This week marked the refiling of the Safe Communities Act (SD.532/HD.1165) and a call for its swift passage, emphasizing that it is both a public safety and a public health imperative – and critical to Massachusetts’ ability to address COVID-19. The Safe Communities Act protects the fundamental right to due process by requiring police to obtain an individual’s consent, in writing, before he or she is questioned by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). It also prohibits state and county officials from acting as federal immigration agents at the expense of Massachusetts’ taxpayers (under so-called “287(g) agreements”). What’s more, it bars police officers and court personnel from asking people about their immigration status unless required by law, further helping to allay fears that interaction with law enforcement will lead to separation from family members. You can take action now and let your legislators know that in Massachusetts, everyone must be able to seek help, protections and health treatment without fear of deportation.
Have you checked the SABES training calendar lately? There are many new trainings available on a wide variety of topics! See the full calendar of offerings here.
National News and Updates
Federal funding for ABE
The Biden administration has laid out an agenda for its first 100 days in office, and securing additional COVID-19 relief is one of the top priorities. At the time of this writing, the Biden administration is working with the 117th Congress to advance a new COVID-19 relief package. Federal, state, and local ABE advocates are calling for $1 billion for adult education to be included in the package and making sure new Members of Congress, administration personnel, and their staff are aware of the importance of adult education.

More broadly, COABE is calling on Congress to double funding for the Adult Education State Grant program over the next 5 years. To do so, Congress would need to increase funding by approximately $134.9 million each fiscal year.
Some new federal bills we’re watching could also bring new resources to adult education providers across communities.

  • The Build America’s Libraries Act would provide $5 billion to support long-term improvements to library facilities, including addressing needs that have arisen due to COVID–19, to enable libraries to better serve rural, low-income and underserved areas, as well as people with disabilities and other vulnerable library users.
  • The Relaunching America’s Workforce Act would provide new funding for adult education and workforce training specifically in response to COVID-19.
  • The Gateway to Careers Act would provide grants to support partnerships between community or technical colleges and workforce development partners such as state workforce development boards, industry associations, and community-based organizations.
An Opportunity for Immigration Reform
From the MIRA Coalition: Progress is being made to secure the creation of a national office dedicated to immigrant integration under the Biden administration. Our very own Senator Ed Markey and U.S. Representatives Grace Meng (D-NY), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL) recently introduced a bill that would establish a National Office for New Americans. If passed, this would send a strong signal that our nation not only values New Americans, but prioritizes New Americans’ inclusion and success. This will also help bolster our advocacy for fundamental immigration reform.
Boston has been featured in the Advancing Workforce Equity report series presenting insights and analysis from five U.S. regions working to develop actionable recommendations for equitable economic recovery. These reports follow a national report, Race and the Work of the Future, which demonstrated that the workforce inequities are national, the solutions to these problems are local. These latest reports reflect the power of local leadership, design, and influence.
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