The first recorded adult education class in California was held in the basement of St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco in 1856. The class was authorized by the San Francisco Board of Education to teach English to Irish, Italian, and Chinese immigrants. John Swett, who was the first volunteer teacher for the class, later became a State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Adult schools have been called upon on numerous occasions to assist the state as it dealt with significant social, political, and economic issues. Examples include job training programs during the Great Depression; training skilled and underskilled workers during World War II; and preparing millions of residents for citizenship.
Legislation - Sponsoring, endorsing, monitoring, supporting, and gaining legislative backing for legislation that provides positive support for adult schools, adult education, adult students, and communities is a prominent focus for CCAE. Specific activities include our annual Legislative Day in Sacramento, testifying at legislative hearings, working with legislators at both the local and state levels, letter writing campaigns, keeping our own members informed, and the employment of a Legislative Analyst are some of the activities that we are involved in.
A second focus of CCAE is to provide professional development opportunities for all of our members, certificated and classified. This occurs primarily at our annual State and Section conferences where workshops, speakers, and seminars are presented for our members.
A third focus of CCAE is the recognition of excellent performances by adult educators, students, and support staff members through both scholarships and awards at the State, Section, and Chapter levels. An annual award is also presented to an individual State Legislator who provided consistent and strong support for the adult education family during the year. It is presented at our annual Legislative Day.