Write Governor Brown about Older Adult Programs

Governor Brown needs to hear about your support for Older Adult and Parent Education programs in adult schools.  Here, from George Porter, a teacher of Older Adult students at Berkeley Adult School, is a pithy explanation of the current situation of Older Adult programs in California, plus a step-by-step guide on how to contact the governor.  Mr. Porter focuses on Older Adult programs, but the same approach would be appropriate for Parent Education, Health and Safety, and Home Economics programs in adult schools, all of which are in the same situation as Older Adult programs.

Here is Mr. Porter’s message:

Friends,

THE CURRENT SITUATION REGARDING STATE FUNDING FOR THE LIFELONG LEARNING PROGRAMS:    The Governor is forming his preliminary budget and it would help if a goodly number of you would send him a short comment urging him to include designated funding for Adult Ed.’s “Older Adult” (Lifelong Learning) programs in it.    We made good progress last summer, but not enough to ensure these programs’ survival – though they remain on the books in both the Adult Ed. and Community College systems, they have not been included in the proposed designated funding stream and this puts them in a very precarious position. In the case of Adult Schools (like Berkeley Adult School), the School Districts will still be “allowed” to fund them out of their general fund, but there is no incentive to do so except for community pressure. Here in Berkeley we might be able to win that battle, but it will go on year-in/year-out, provides no stability and I can personally attest to the fact that it is a recipe for nasty, intergenerational frictions. In most other municipalities they’ll simply be toast.    Survival of the Older Adult programs doesn’t belong in the hands of local School Boards where it pits kids needs against those of the grandparents, but where it’s always been – funded through the Adult Ed. System and vying for limited resources with the all the others programs serving the needs of Adult Learners. I’ve no problem with ESL, GED and Career Tech Ed. receiving the lion’s share of these funds, but that doesn’t mean Older Adults (as well as Financial Literacy, Parent Ed., etc. – “Life Skills”) should be starved to death by School Boards that will understandably give the purchasing of new helmets for the High School Football team higher priority.    Clearly Older Adults programs need both funding and coordination at the State level – this isn’t rocket science. How to best go about this is a serious question, but one that must be dealt with. Before the “great recession” the Lifelong Learning courses were all free to anyone over 55 and, though that would be nice again, it really isn’t practical. Our older population is rapidly growing, the Boomers are inclined towards “learning for learning’s sake” and simply providing free classes to all in that demographic could begin eating up far too much of the Adult Education budget. There needs to be some sort of balance point between California Dept. of Education funding, moderate student fees (for those who can afford them), support from municipalities, philanthropic organizations and on.

HOW YOU CAN HELP – THIS IS EASY, EASY, EASY:

Though I’m personally in favor of what I now see as a “Matching Funds Subsidization Plan” I came up with last year and have been pitching it to every Policy Committee, Legislator, Analyst and Advocacy Group I could lay my hands on (and I’m happy to report it has seems to have gained a bit “traction”), we don’t need to address those sort of specifics now.    ALL WE NEED TO DO NOW IS REQUEST THE THE GOVERNOR INCLUDE DESIGATED FUNDING FOR OLDER ADULTS PROGRAMS IN HIS PROPOSED BUDGET – the how much and on what terms can wait till later. That said: _________

STEP 1 –    Go to the Governor’s contact page:    https://govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail/mail.php _________

STEP 2 –    a) scroll down to “Email the Governor”

b) choose “Have Comment” as “Purpose of Communication”

c) enter your first and last name and email address in the boxes

d) From the drop-down “Please Choose your Subject” list pick “Education Issues and Concerns”.

e) if you want a reply, check that box

f) click on “continue” which takes you to the next page

STEP 3 –

a) check “Pro” as position

b) construct a short, to the point email (you can do so beforehand and just copy and paste it)

c) put your name, address and any creds. you might have below this.

d) click on “Send Email” ___________

AGAIN, THIS IS REALLY EASY and here’s what I sent:

TO: Governor Brown

RE: Adult Education’s Older Adult Programs

Governor Brown, Please include designated funding for Adult Education’s Older Adult programs in your preliminary budget. Investing in educational programs that promote the ongoing health and community/civic engagement of our rapidly growing older population is good for all Californians.

And here’s the sort of thing you “students” might say:

TO: Governor Jerry Brown

RE: Designated funding for Adult Ed.’s Older Adult programs

Governor Brown,    I’m an older Californian and am writing today to urge you to include designated funding for Adult Education’s Older Adults programs in your preliminary state budget. I attend the classes these provide and they are important to me, help me remain healthy and involved in the community. I strongly feel this is not only to my benefit, but to the benefit of those around me and all Californians. Educational opportunities for our aging population must remain affordable and require coordination at the State level. Older Adults programs need and deserve a designated funding stream – please have your upcoming budget proposal reflect this.

Jane (or  John) Doe 1234 Liberal St. Berkeley Ca, 94… Long-time California resident Consistent Voter Tax-payer Homeowner Retired Person who has contributed and continues to Prop 30 supporter Member of the “Just because you can get Dems. and Reps. to work together doesn’t mean you can’t still make dumb-*ssed mistakes” Club Whatever Else

Thanks in advance for your continued support – we’re all in this togethe.

 

 

 

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