Urgent: Save Adult School Older Adult and Parent Education Programs ; Write Your Assembly Member and Sign the Petition

State funding for adult school Parent Education and Older Adult programs is still at risk. While the legislature recently agreed on a budget plan which does not preclude state funding for Older Adult and Parent Education programs, SB 173, which explicitly defunds these programs, has a hearing in the assembly this coming Wednesday, June 26.

Write or call your state assembly member before Wednesday, express your concerns about SB 173 as written, and ask him or her to preserve state funding for Older Adult and Parent Education classes. There is also a petition you can sign in support of Older Adult programs, a petition that was started by a California state senator, no less!

While SB 173 has passed out of the state senate, Senator Ted Lieu has taken a strong stance in favor of state-funded classes for Older Adults.  You can read his excellent opinion piece,  which cites several scientific studies that establish the health benefits of the social, mental and physical stimulation provided by Older Adult classes, here:

http://sd28.senate.ca.gov/news/2013-06-06-ted-s-words-california-s-older-adult-education-programs-must-be-saved

One clarification of Senator Lieu’s piece: the $700 million figure he cites is actually the entire state budget allowance for adult education. As Senator Lieu points out, this is a small fraction of the state budget; but the amount spent on the Older Adult programs is much smaller, about $22 million.  It is truly a tiny fraction of the state budget, a small price to pay for a program that pays for itself several times over in social benefits.

You can sign Senator Lieu’s petition here:

http://sd28.senate.ca.gov/save-adult-education

Proponents of SB 173 will say that the bill does not prohibit adult schools from offering courses for Older Adults, it just withdraws state funding so adult schools will have to charge for them. Here is an article from the Napa Valley Register that clearly shows where that leads and the kind of pain it causes:

http://napavalleyregister.com/news/opinion/mailbag/fee-increases-hurt-napa-valley-adult-education-students-teachers/article_d850f7f4-d62a-11e2-97a3-0019bb2963f4.html

Note how this article shows how the fees went up and up. “Affordable” at first, they quickly escalated to where many could not pay.  This tends to be the way with fees, as UC and community college students can attest.  Note also how the adult school may, in fact, be pricing itself out of the market, so that the eventual result may not be more revenue from the class, but simply no class, as the number of students who can pay dwindles.

The fact is, there are plenty of educational opportunities for older adults with money.  They can sign up for the Osher series of classes.  University extension programs offer them Italian language classes in Italy and other luxurious possibilities.  No one contests that education is beneficial for these lucky seniors who can pay.

But what about those seniors who are not so lucky? Many people work hard all their lives, raise families, pay taxes, and end up in old age with little to spare.  Often health care costs eat up more and more of their limited incomes.  Free adult school classes are an important resource for these older Californians, a resource which, as Senator Lieu points out, can keep them from needing more expensive state services.  At a time when many other services for older adults have been cut, the loss of adult school classes will be devastating.

The State of California should also maintain state funding for Parent Education classes.  Classes for parents are a vital support for families and children. The Local Control Funding Formula, a sweeping reform of education funding which the state has just adopted at Governor Brown’s urging, is provides extra funding for low-income and English Language Learner children.  Governor Brown has called this a moral issue. Parent education classes for the parents of these children are also a moral issue. If the state really wants to see low-income and English Language Learner children succeed, it should be providing more Parent Education, not less. If effective parent education is to reach low income families, not just those who can pay, these classes need to be funded by the state.

Please feel free to revise and use the following sample message:

I am writing/calling to express my concern about SB 173, which eliminates state funding for adult school  Parent Education and Older Adult classes. Older Adult classes are an inexpensive and effective way to keep seniors healthy, engaged and giving back to their communities.  Parent Education classes strengthen families and support children’s school success. Forcing adult schools to charge fees for these classes will mean that low-income seniors and families will be shut out of these vital services. The State of California will ultimately pay dearly for the restriction of these services to those who can pay: in health care costs, law enforcement, interventions for children who are failing in school, and more. Please keep state funding for adult school Older Adult and Parent Education programs.

You can find your state assembly member here:

http://www.legislature.ca.gov/legislators_and_districts/legislators/your_legislator.html

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14 Responses

  1. I would be at a loss without the Adult education classes. They give meaning to my life.

    • My goal is shared by all the seniors in my class. We want to stay strong, keep our balance, remain flexible so WE CAN LIVE PRODUCTIVE, WELL LIVES and avoid DOCTORS, ILLNESS and INJURIES. – I have only been exercising for two years and I am amazed at my physical improvement. – It is a slap in the fact mothers, fathers and your grandparents to consider cutting back our WELLNESS PROGRAM at this stage of our life.

  2. THIS WOULD DEPRIVE A LOT OF US ELDERS OF THE OPPORTUNITY TO ROUTINELY EXERCISE AT A LOCATION NEARBY TUITION-FREE. PLEASE ALLOW US TO CONTINUE WITH THE SADDLEBACK COLLEGE EMIRITUS PROGRAM AT SAFE LOCATION SUCH AS THE SAN CLEMENTE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH ACTIVITY ROOM, RENT-FREE. THANK YOU.

  3. Please save Adult education in California. Adult education is the key to a longer and healthy life for seniors.

  4. These classes have been a big help for my joints and my doctor is happy with my progress. These teachers help us with the proper usage and watch us as we exercise. When these people get older they too will see what a help classes are to the well being and how it helps us to get older without problems. Please, please save this for us. My consumer health classes are wonderful since I have learned so much from my teacher on how to stay well and active. We need these to help with a better quality of life.

  5. Please save adult education that benefits seniors. Like many, I am retired on a limited budget with increased medical expenses. Saddleback College’s Emeritus Program gives me the opportunity to stay physically and intellectually active in the company of many new friends, and is affordable to all of us. Like other seniors, all my life I have paid taxes and helped others; please help us to stay educated and active. Save Adult Education for Seniors in California!!!
    Carol Buss

  6. Please vote to save our emeritus programs . They are very important to the health of the older community residents…

  7. I really need the classes I take since they help me with investment decisions. Generating income has become very difficult for seniors with no pensions. Thank you.

  8. Adults make excellent models for the young people enrolled in the same classes. We are punctual, stay to the end of class, attend to the instruction and want to do the homework. We participate in discussion from the perspective of experience. We do not talk on our phones during class. We want to learn. We use what we learn in our daily work lives and in participating in our democracy. We receive a great deal from school and we give back.
    Sincerely,
    Carrie Luger Slayback

  9. The classes for Adult education are so important to keep up the good spirit and also help us to stay in healthy condition. Without the classes what an older people could do? Sitting there and becoming an useless person.
    We need the classes.
    Cecilia Jen from Laguna Woods Village, a senior community.

  10. WHY NOT! DO NOT TAKE THESE IMPORTANT PROGRAM AWAY FROM PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY SHOW UP FOR CLASSES.
    S. GOLPER 6/26

  11. The older and parent education of this blog is very needy for me and i was searching for it.

  12. Please keep the emirihtus classes going ,it keeps the seniors active in the outside world
    Thank you
    Sheldon cunningham/ Mission Viejo

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