Letter from an Adult School Teacher re SB 173

SB 173 (Liu) is now before the assembly.  The bill would provide some badly needed funding for adult schools, ending state funding for Older Adult and Parent Education programs.  Older Adult programs are an inexpensive and effective way to serve seniors, who have already lost services due to the budget crisis.

I teach digital photography to seniors through our school system, and it isn’t just a hobby; it’s a matter of life and self-sufficiency. They remind me that mastering the technology (it ain’t easy!) challenges their minds, staving off cognitive losses, which would disable them and burden their family, personal finances and society. The joy of taking pictures also keeps them active, often motivating them to walk and hike, and sharing them maintains healthful social ties. Without Older Adult programs, these seniors will need more expensive state services, like nursing home care, sooner.

Many California families are already in crisis due to the effects of the recession.  Parent education is more needed than ever to help strengthen families stressed by the economic hard times. As many parents as possible need affordable access to parent education; if my parents had had it, they’d have been happier parents, and I’d be a more successful and happier person today. And  Parent Education classes at K-12 schools are a key component  of  the Full Service Community Schools model, which is gaining importance in California.

SB 173 further destroys California’s shredded safety net by eliminating funding for adult school Older Adult and Parent Education programs that support families.  Adult schools are about lifelong learning and community, as well as workforce training. Keep California’s communities strong!

Please fight to amend SB 173 to restore state funding for civic participation programs like Older Adult and Parent Education. A slogan at our school says, “Every successful society educates its children early and its adults continuously.” Recite it to your peers!

Dale Mead





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