The California Adult Education Archives includes over 2,000 cataloged items on 175 feet of shelf space and eleven special
collections in 57 boxes, dating from 1935 to the present. Resources include history, research, evaluation reports, curricula,
staff development and assessment materials, CDE handbooks, working notebooks of adult education leaders, sample products from
local education agencies, and newsletters. Formats include print, slides, sound cassettes, videocassettes, CDs, and DVDs.
An electronic catalog is available on the OTAN Web site. The finding aids for the special collections are posted on the Online
Archive of California (OAC) Web site. Tapes and transcripts of the twenty-nine oral histories are deposited in the California
State Archives. A significant component is the California Council for Adult Education (CCAE) collection. The California Adult
Education Archives provide a record of adult education in California and are a valuable resource for staff development at
both the state and national level.
Public adult education in California celebrated its sesquicentennial year in 2005. The memoirs of John Swett, California's
fourth Superintendent of Public Instruction, record that in 1856, he taught an evening class sponsored by the San Francisco
Board of Education in the basement of St. Mary's Cathedral. From that first classroom, a multiple-provider system grew to
meet the challenges and serve the needs of over two million adults every year. Early evening classes served the needs of immigrants
for citizenship and elementary subjects. Early years of the twentieth century saw dramatic growth in mandated continuation
education for minors and basic education classes for adults. In the 1920s, adult education progressed to meeting the educational
needs of all adults. During World War II, California workers were trained in defense classes. The 1950s saw the development
of modern adult education programs governed by Education Code provisions. In the 1960s the federal role in adult education
leadership expanded, and states received money to give educational opportunity to the disadvantaged. Also in the Sixties,
junior colleges were recognized as a third segment of postsecondary education with state colleges and universities. The Ed
Code gave school districts responsibility for "adult basic education," and gave colleges responsibility for post-secondary
courses. Governance issues continued into the twenty-first century. Events resulting in the growth of California adult education
in the last half of the twentieth century included the wave of Southeast Asian refugees needing educational services following
the end of the Vietnam War, the federal job training legislation, and the immigration reform (amnesty) legislation. California
continued to receive significant federal supplemental funding for communication systems, integration of technology into instruction,
distance learning, and student assessment. During the late nineties policymakers and the general public had concerns about
the quality and outcomes of educational programs. The interest in the comparison of programs and the return on public investment
2,055 cataloged items and 11 special collections
California Adult Education archival materials are publically funded and not subject to copyright restrictions. Publications
should properly reference the Archives and the specific collection that contains the quoted materials. See Preferred Citation.
The collection is open for research by appointment. Please call the Outreach and Technical Assistance Network.