Lancaster University Center hosting Spanish G.E.D. courses

At a press conference Tuesday, Lancaster city officials announced a partnership with Cal State University of Long Beach and the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles to offer Spanish language G.E.D. courses at the Lancaster University Center. (L to R, Front: Antonio Bernabe, CHIRLA; Council member Sandra Johnson; Omar Ruiz, CHIRLA; Lilia Galindo; Ed Galindo, Tapestry Commission member. L to R, Back: Kelvin Tainatongo, City of Lancaster; Ken Santarelli, CSULB-AV; Luis Garibay, City of Lancaster.

At a press conference Tuesday, Lancaster city officials announced a partnership with Cal State University of Long Beach and the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles to offer Spanish language G.E.D. courses at the Lancaster University Center. (L to R, Front: Antonio Bernabe, CHIRLA; Council member Sandra Johnson; Omar Ruiz, CHIRLA; Lilia Galindo; Ed Galindo, Tapestry Commission member. L to R, Back: Kelvin Tainatongo, City of Lancaster; Ken Santarelli, CSULB-AV; Luis Garibay, City of Lancaster.

LANCASTER – In response to the growing local demand for Spanish language General Educational Development (G.E.D.) courses, the City of Lancaster has partnered with several entities including California State University of Long Beach (CSULB) and the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) to offer such courses at the Lancaster University Center.

“As the Antelope Valley grows in size and scope, we continually evolve the many services we provide for our residents,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “General Educational Development programs pave the way for better jobs and a higher standard of living throughout the region.”

Until recently, there had only been one location where Spanish language G.E.D. classes were offered in the Antelope Valley. However, the demand for services eventually outgrew that facility, prompting CHIRLA to approach the City of Lancaster’s Tapestry Commission for assistance.

Lancaster council member and University of Antelope Valley CEO Sandra Johnson speaks at the press conference.

Lancaster council member and University of Antelope Valley CEO Sandra Johnson speaks at the press conference.

Ed Galindo of the Lancaster Tapestry Commission led the charge by contacting Cal State Long Beach to begin discussions regarding what would be needed to set up a Spanish G.E.D. program in Lancaster.  CSULB was eager to provide the space needed for the classes, while CHIRLA offered to sponsor the instructors and course materials.

“As a provider of quality higher education here in the Antelope Valley, Cal State University Long Beach understands the importance of offering educational opportunities for all citizens,” said Kenneth Santarelli, CSULB Director of the Antelope Valley Engineering Program. “We are happy to assist in this effort because we know education changes lives.”

The initial six-month Spanish G.E.D. course at Lancaster University Center has already begun.  With 50-seat classes being held twice a week (Monday and Wednesday), three times a day, 150 students are gaining the education they need to succeed in life.

With a pre-existing wait list already established, the demand is undeniable.  Once the course is completed, students will take the General Educational Development Test in Long Beach, after which successful graduates will receive their California High School Equivalency Certificate. A local graduation ceremony is being planned.

“We as a council are pleased to see significant progress regarding expanding opportunities for Antelope Valley residents,” said Vice Mayor Marvin Crist.

Those interested in registering for the Spanish G.E.D courses may visit the Lancaster University Center at 45356 Division Street, or contact Omar Ruiz at for enrollment information and class schedules.

(Information via press release from the city of Lancaster.)

  51 comments for “Lancaster University Center hosting Spanish G.E.D. courses

  1. 12345
    January 30, 2014 at 10:43 am

    A lot of people seem to think this is only for illegal immigrants, but the article made no mention of immigrants at all. Apparently people do not realize that many people born and raised here are considered English Language Learners (ELLs). Unfortunately, those students tend to fall through the cracks. One of the reasons is that they speak Spanish at home and Spanish with their friends so they only hear English when they are in class. English for a few hours a day is not enough to get them to pass high school. Students that struggle with academic English may be fluent in conversational English, but as a result of not being fluent in academic English they struggle in every class that has English textbooks. People like to say that math is universal, but the language used to teach it is not. When a student is failing every class, and their parents are too afraid to contact the school for additional resources to help their student because they do not speak English fluently, they end up dropping out. This is a good solution to an existing problem. I hope that we can figure out a better way to educate our citizens so that they don’t need this type of program.

  2. Oscar Mejia
    January 27, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I support every aspect of education.

    I am happy to see the exchange of great ideas in our community. I welcome those that can to volunteer, and attend important city meetings to influence which approach you would like your city to take.

    Oscar Mejia B.S., M.S.
    CSULB and CSUN Alumni
    Councilman Candidate for 8 April 2014 Elections

  3. Mary
    January 18, 2014 at 12:50 am

    It amazes how much racism and hatred still exists little town

    • As
      January 19, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      And the ignorance. It’s getting worse and worse.

  4. LA-Live
    January 16, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Education is the key to everyone’s success , so I encourage anyone who’s on the pursuit of knowledge on any level, but my concern is here’s yet another program funded by tax payers money , for a group of people that are more than likely not able to work in this country and pay into the tax pot. Lately I have come across so many different program aligned for a certain set of people to benefit , I understand that America is the land opportunity but lately it seems to be that way for everyone except Americans , especially in California. Now there are plenty of people who are American citizens and are well versed in the English language that need a free GED course, in which most places in the AV charge for if your of a certain age. My position is this; if you’re going to be opening up a gate way for other people in this country let’s not do it for one culture , I know plenty of Armenian , Russian and African etc. , decent people in California that can benefit from the same type of program . Racialism come in when people feel left or closed out , because one set of people are catered to over others, point blank, no matter what race or culture is in question.

    • 12345
      January 30, 2014 at 10:18 am

      “my concern is here’s yet another program funded by tax payers money , for a group of people that are more than likely not able to work in this country and pay into the tax pot.”
      I see your concern, but you have to consider the big picture. If these people get over this hurdle they may feel more empowered to apply for citizenship and work permits. The best thing about this program is that it instills a value for education within a group whose dropout rates are high. Don’t forget that the people taking advantage of this program are most likely parents. Kids coming home from school and seeing their parents studying shows them that they should do the same. People that are enrolled in this program are more likely to help their children with their homework. Having a GED may give these parents the confidence to finally schedule that parent teacher conference with their children’s teachers to discuss how they can work together to help their students succeed.
      “Now there are plenty of people who are American citizens and are well versed in the English language that need a free GED course, in which most places in the AV charge for if your of a certain age.”
      While it is true that American adults may have to pay for a GED course, they did not have to pay for their k-12 education. Some people squandered away their time in school and did not graduate for that reason. Others struggled in school for a variety of reasons, and were offered a variety of options such as special education, charter schools, independent study, summer school, and other forms of credit retrieval. If an individual was still unable to graduate high school they have the option to enroll in adult schools that don’t cost anything.
      “My position is this; if you’re going to be opening up a gate way for other people in this country let’s not do it for one culture , I know plenty of Armenian , Russian and African etc. , decent people in California that can benefit from the same type of program .”
      Although there are people of every ethnicity that could benefit from this type of program in California, you have to consider the area in which we live is home to many people whose background is Hispanic/Latino. Think of how many thousands of students we have in our local high school district and that 50% of those students are Hispanic/Latino.

      I can’t imagine a better place to implement this program. This means that we will have more competent and well-rounded people joining our workforce. These people are our neighbors, our kids’ friend’s parents, people we shop with, people we drive next to etc. I sincerely believe that every aspect of a community will benefit from a higher value of education and more educated community members.

      • democrata
        March 5, 2014 at 8:07 pm


        Where the hell were you, when we wasted bilions of tax payer money in Iraq and Afghanistan?

        You did not complain when money wad wasted on your public education, but now you have a problem with spending?

        The same people that bitch and complain, are the same ones that have sucked or are sucking on the government tit.

  5. AV Folk
    January 15, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    I wonder if illegals even want citizenship. I think that many of them just want their status legalized but don’t really care about being Americans.

    As far as language goes, adults don’t really learn 2nd languages. Then the kids are bi-lingual, and then the grandkids only speak English. It just takes time, assuming that a family stays for multiple generations, eventually English will be the language.

    • The Anti-REX
      January 16, 2014 at 6:02 am

      I’m not sure that’s true about the language have you seen the labels and signage at your local grocery store lately.

      • A. Richard
        January 18, 2014 at 8:12 am

        We live in a country that borders Mexico so the truth is that the majority of us Americans should be able to understand and speak some Spanish…. And to have signs in Spanish should be normal… But the same applies to the Hispanic population…. They should be able to understand and speak some English…. When you go to many other parts of the world, the residents normally have the ability to speak with the foreign languages that border their countries…. We in America just expect everyone to speak English…. Even myself am guilty when in another country I was frustrated when I couldn’t find a person that spoke English…. But instead of getting mad, I am now learning Spanish and when I travel to another country I will attempt to learn some of their language….

        • sikntired
          January 18, 2014 at 11:53 am

          USA baby.Should we also be speaking French, bordering Canada?
          They are the ones wanting to come here.If I want to go to another country I will learn that language.
          How many people do you know who are dying to live in Mexico or Central America?

          • 12345
            January 30, 2014 at 10:26 am

            “USA baby”
            United States of America <– "America" is not an English word, which suggests that, historically, English wasn't the first and has never been the only language spoken here. I don't get why so many Americans are so ethnocentric when everyone was an immigrant here at some point.

            At the end of the day, anyone who's read up on it knows that being bilingual increases cognitive functions in areas other than communication.

  6. Educate Everyone
    January 15, 2014 at 8:33 am

    To all AMERICANS out there:
    This country has broken many promises and many treaties, luckily, some aspects of the Guadalupe Treaty are still respected. It is the right of Mexicans, undocumented or not, to speak in their native language (Spanish). I respect any society member for wanting to continue their education one step at a time, if they complete and pass all requirements to obtain their GED (in Spanish or English), this may incite them to move on to capturing and fully comprehending the English language or any other language they decide to take on. The ones full of ignorance are those expecting them to “push lawnmowers” or like another radical mentioned “not do business with them”. Perhaps you may laugh and poke fun at them for their lack of education, but, many of their children are inspired by your hatred and by educating themselves, they will prove and make a stronger point than your lame excuse for an opinion, it is “racism” at it’s best. People, learn your REAL history and learn to acknowledge the original Americans, you lack of education and respect for all humanity is beyond disgusting.

    • As
      January 15, 2014 at 9:00 am


    • maryann
      January 15, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      Excuse me, there is no racism about it. If I go to Mexico, I have to know how to speak the language in order to interact. I cannot own property. And I sure as heck would not want to get arrested and thrown in jail there. So why make excuses for waht is really going on? The enterprising already come into this country legally, and go to school, and learn English, so I very much resent the attempts at making Americans out to be the bad guy.

      • ***
        January 15, 2014 at 1:52 pm

        Guess what maryann? We don’t live in Mexico. Spanish was spoken in California way before English. Who are you to demand otherwise.
        Perfect example of Stupid Americans. “I’m proud that I only speak one language!”

        Go to any European country and they speak a couple of languages. Why? Because they are the border of other countries, and it’s a GOOD thing when people can communicate with each other. NOTHING as in NOTHING will help these people more than education. And just like Educate Everyone says, this will probably do more in helping these people learn English than anything else. While you sit in front of a screen all day, they are improving their lives. Good for them!

        • maryann
          January 16, 2014 at 9:30 am

          Guess what? We are NOT in Europe. We are in America. End of story.

      • Educate Everyone
        January 15, 2014 at 2:02 pm

        I cited “racism” referring to comments about not needing a second language to push a lawnmower and other idiotic “racist” comments. If your comments have solid facts behind them, they will be respected. I support education in any language available. My children are fluent in 3 languages and they will have vast opportunities for growth when they become adults. I speak 3 languages myself and work for the education system, being fluent in various languages does not equal “illegal immigrant”. I respect all humans for what they give in return to the society they are immersed in. By the way, the word “Americans” cover all AMERICANS, it is a continent differentiated by the terms “North or South”! (;

      • January 17, 2014 at 4:54 pm

        Can’t own property? Yes you can…

    • AV Folk
      January 15, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      That’s a selective history and radical nonsense.

      • sikntired
        January 16, 2014 at 11:55 am

        Excellent response.
        Actually makes you wonder how other immigrants to this country have been able to do quite well without a GED in their native language.
        I would feel insulted that so much has to be done for my particular group.

    • Laura
      January 16, 2014 at 9:16 pm

      FYI: Mexicans are not the only ones who speak Spanish!!

    • anna
      January 19, 2014 at 9:54 am

      The Original Americans were not Spanish, they were Indian…try learning their language! I travel to the south and there is no need to learn spanish. Everyone speaks english, no signs in spanish, no advertisements in spanish, nada….If you are taking over the USA and making it New New Mexico, good luck in the south…

      • 12345
        January 30, 2014 at 10:32 am

        The original Americans were not Indian. Indians have pretty much always come from India.

        And you must have been inside an all-inclusive resort and that’s why you’re so ignorant, or you’re just making up lies. They still speak and advertise in Spanish in other countries.

    • yabbadabba
      January 30, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      I agree. The ignorance acquired by many U.S. Citizens is alive and well. It’s so easy and convenient to learn a second, third, or fourth language. I’m amazed that no one seems to know or have learned (at school or self-taught) regarding the original people in North America. I’m very grateful to my mother and father for being responsible parents. I was taught both languages: English and Spanish at home as I am a 2nd generation born and raised in Los Angeles, Ca. My mother was 1st generation born in San Bernardino in 1918; she is still alive. My grandmother and grandfather came to the U.S.A. in 1900; they had many children, grandchildren, etc.
      I applaud all those that make the effort to learn and speak another language as it is an asset.

  7. NIMBY
    January 15, 2014 at 8:12 am

    I must of missed the memo that stated we now need to speak Spanish in America. smdh

    • theresa
      January 15, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      If I was to go to another country I feel I should have to speak they’er language !

      • Educate Everyone
        January 15, 2014 at 1:51 pm

        Too funny, the good old USA does not have an official language, again, read you history in it’s entire context!!!!

        • AV Folk
          January 16, 2014 at 10:22 pm

          I think that you missed his point, but yes, reading history in context is good too…

  8. Hmmm...
    January 15, 2014 at 3:48 am

    The fact of the matter is this: If you truly wish to move forward and succeed in any given country, you must learn to speak its language of power.

    If you live in, say, Germany, they frequently speak English, but the language of power there is Duetsch and you would need to learn it to be able to move forward as a citizen. In Mexico, it is Espanol and you may be able to get along speaking English, but you will never be able to attain any power in citizenship without speaking Espanol. In the USA, the language of power is English (granted, primarily Americanized English, but British English will generally suffice) and speaking Espanol will not allow you to attain any real power.

    Any ‘feel good’ program like the one in this article is all very nice, but it will, in the end, continue to prolong the participants’ powerlessness while giving them only an illusion of progress.

    • Richard
      January 15, 2014 at 8:13 am

      Great comment. I totally agree.

    • ***
      January 15, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      Language isn’t the only knowledge needed to be a success. And these people are probably learning English WHILE working on their GEDs. Any knowledge is a good thing, and good on these folks for not sitting on their asses all day refusing to better themselves because they can’t speak the predominate language! Only in the AV do people bitch when others try bettering themselves! Amazing!

      • Hmmm...
        January 15, 2014 at 6:42 pm

        You seem to be very defensive on this and may not be reading what I said with clarity of mind.

        Nowhere in my comment did I infer that people that would take these classes were stupid, lazy, or unwilling to better themselves. it has been my experience that the vast majority of Hispanic immigrants (legal or otherwise) are very hard working and industrious people with strong family values.

        As for your assertion that these students are learning English in this course, where in this article does it state that the students are learning English? if that were actually in the article, it would certainly place a different emphasis on the class(es), now wouldn’t it?

        Don’t misunderstand my prior comment; I actually do want these students to succeed in their lives here in the USA. That is why I want them to have the BEST CHANCE of success – which requires a strong working usage of English. I do not have any problems with anybody knowing and speaking Spanish (it is a beautiful language, after all), but speaking ONLY that language here in the United States is a sure way to stay in the lower income thresholds.

  9. Db
    January 14, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Last week it started with driver’s licenses for illegal aliens…I’ve witnessed the special treatment in the local DMV with translators and such…now this…what’s next bilingual road signs!?

    • Amzd
      January 29, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      Let’s see even if they are illegal, it benefits all if in order to have a DL they must carry insurance. By the way Special Treatment with translators (Interpreters) as you call it has been in place for years, but not due to illegal aliens. They were put in place to make sure that due to cultural misunderstandings the person being translated to properly understands what is being asked or explained. This occurs a lot to people speaking English as a second language. Also, Interpreters where put in place for people with special needs. Such as, Language Impaired, Hard of Hearing, Deaf, CAPD, TBI. It’s not just for illegal aliens.

  10. sikntired
    January 14, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Well Ruben I don’t do business with people who don’t speak English.You’ve been living in California too long.
    Its pretty simple, come into the country the right way, learn English and contribute to society in a positive way.
    English is the language of this country, all of our historical documents are written in English.Stay in a Spanish speaking country if you want Spanish as your language.

  11. QHR
    January 14, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Hope to see expansion of education in the AV by having a Cal State AV campus.

  12. Quigley
    January 14, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    The Spanish GED course should include learning and passing the English Language when taking the test. Don’t pass, don’t get your GED…simple solution!

  13. sikntired
    January 14, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Don’t you need to speak English to graduate from high school?
    What is the point of a GED in Spanish?

    • AV Folk
      January 16, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      I think they hand out GED’s every Sunday morning at my church! Usually I just toss mine though.

  14. dumbandblind
    January 14, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    This is the USA people should learn English not the other way around. If this were the case in fairness to every nationality all languages should then be hosted. Not just Spanish!

    • The Anti-REX
      January 14, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      Totally agree with you.

    • Ruben
      January 14, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      Obviously you don’t do as much business here in the AV, Did you know alot of local business here in the AV are owned and operated by Hispanics, most of the places you shop and eat at are owned by an Hispanic, second of all WE are the largest minority in the USA, so why limit the language to just one?
      isn’t this country supposed to be MULTI-CULTURAL ?, 3rd of all, its not english you speak, its AMERICAN. Real english derives from ENGLAND, and if you dont like another race standing up for their rights to learn and be accepted in a country that has people like you insult them for doing something thats right, Why dont you stop and think, is it a problem that people are trying to learn and educate themselves for a better future? Or would you rather just insult them and look down upon a person who is ACTUALLY trying to be someone in life…..PEACE AND UNITY FOR ALL HUMANITY, No more barriers !!!!

      • Eric
        January 14, 2014 at 11:30 pm

        Technically, English is derived from Old English, which came from the Anglo-Saxons (Germany). It also has roots in France. The same as most other languages in the world though, it has Latin in it. The real question is why don’t we all go back to speaking and writing Latin?

        • Sandy
          January 15, 2014 at 9:34 am

          Well said, Eric.

        • William
          March 6, 2014 at 9:10 am

          “Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres”

          That’s about all I remember.

          I recall a communication course I took in the 80s which said that one reason for the success of the Roman Empire was that Latin had many words that called forth action such as ‘request’, ‘command’, ‘demand’, ‘assert’, etc. It was interesting. I started using the words “I request……” in business correspondence and in personal situations and I was amazed at how simple and effective that was. Before, I might say “Would you mind…..?” or “Can you do me a favor…..?”. Saying “I request…” is straight to the point and elicits a direct reply. If only everything was that simple.

          Latin seemed, for its time, an almost mathematical language, constructed by design. Notice how nowadays, language is manipulated, interpreted or misinterpreted wildly, degraded and less and less clear, especially in the political arena. Words don’t seem to mean what their definitions actually state any longer.

          I recall the title of Sarah Palin’s book called ‘Going Rogue’. I don’t think she thought that through nor did her editor/publisher.

          1. an unscrupulous or dishonest person, especially somebody who is also likable
          2. a mischievously playful person, especially a naughty child
          3. a vicious or uncontrolled animal that lives apart from the rest of its herd or group
          4. acting independently and using unorthodox methods that are unpredictable and are likely to cause trouble

          Not very flattering to her……but surprisingly accurate.

      • USA-USA
        January 15, 2014 at 5:58 am

        Do you really need a GED to push a lawnmower?

        • Laura
          January 16, 2014 at 9:23 pm

          Wow!! smh!!

        • ProudMexican
          January 19, 2014 at 3:04 pm

          @USA-USA: Your comments really show that are coming from a person who learn to hate others.. NO MATTE WHAT RACE THEY ARE…. If we go back and analyze what type of CITIZENS you and your parents are, Here is the definition: Uneducated, smokers, Social Service Recipients, X-CONVICTS and people who have failed to success due to their PAST.
          Stand up..Hispanics are expected to be the majority within the next 25 Years.
          About Me: Yes, I am a MEXICAN descendent person with a Four-Year Bachelors’ Degree who work NOT pushing a LAWNMOVER, but for a FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY AT THE Edwards AirForce BASE as an “Information Technology” Engineer..
          Very sad that many AMERICAN People still thinking that we are taking their jobs..What we basically are doing is taking advantage of the opportunities this GREAT Country offers, while many of your KIDS are dropping School, doing DRUGS, and other things.
          I am sorry If I hurt your feelings.

          • sikntired
            January 19, 2014 at 4:35 pm

            Care to address the majority of Hispanic gang members?

        • democrata
          March 5, 2014 at 8:32 pm


          I am Mexican American, retired military, and don’t push a lawnmower.

          You are exactly the reason why educated hispanics are turning away from your racists republikkan party.

          Wether you like it or not, demographics are changing, and the sleeping giant is waking up.

Comments are closed.