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SMAS student Shelley Cheng writes to Governor Newsom Adult Education

Dear Governor Newsom,

I am Shelley Cheng from China. My family moved to the United States two and a half years ago because my husband’s job brought him here. Now my daughter is attending a public high school in Burlingame and I am an ESL student at San Mateo Adult School in California.

I deeply appreciate the strong measures you and your government have taken to protect the California population from the spread of COVID-19. Today I wrote this letter to you asking you and your administration to protect the funds for adult education. This could be a possible budget cut for some public institutions and agencies to balance budgets in California.

Adult education is undoubtedly an integral part of California, home to nearly 11 million immigrants. Adult educators help thousands of immigrants find a better job and life. Even during the quarantine, all teachers and staff did their best to connect with all students through distance learning to teach and support us. Take me as an example, when I was working in China, I didn’t have a chance to speak English, so my English skills were very poor. When I came to the United States, I was anxious and lost my confidence. I was even afraid to communicate with people who speak English. I still remember when my daughter’s school teacher called me for the first time, I couldn’t understand what she was saying. I was defeated with nowhere to go and nothing to do. My life was stranded because of my language restriction. Fortunately, attending our school’s classes and programs has improved not only my English skills, but also my soft skills. I found a lot of new friends from different countries with different cultures, and we supported each other like family members and exchanged information to overcome common obstacles. Eventually I regained my confidence and self-esteem while volunteering both inside and outside our school.

In order to strengthen our confidence and guide us in our new life here in the United States, our school has also built a good connection with the local community to give students the opportunity to contribute to our school and community. For example, some classmates found work by taking job search courses or other vocational training programs. As a student ambassador, I can help new students adapt to the new environment of our school. As an ambassador for the 2020 census, I visited other adult schools and gave presentations so that more people would feel comfortable when they participated in the Bay Area census.

I am just an ordinary person who has benefited from adult education and is able to give something back to society in California, United States. To help more people and families, please do not cut the adult education budget.

Thanks again for your continued leadership and for considering adult education. I am proud to work with you, other advocates of adult education and all people to keep our communities safe and healthy.

Sincerely yours,

Shelley Cheng

San Mateo, CA, 94401

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