Monday, April 8, 2013

Weekly Update 4/8/13

This past week has been one of discovery.  More people are finding A4CAS online and we’ve become aware of more groups advocating on behalf of adult schools all over the state.  A student named Florecita Bogan at Vista Adult School obtained six hundred signatures on their petition.  It’s always a relief to find one another and realize that our movement to save our adult schools is the same regardless of our geographic location.  Adult school teachers know the value of what we do.  If you ask community members, they also appreciate what we do.  We know that what happens in our classrooms must be preserved.  One has only to read CDE’s Linking Adults to Opportunity, especially the section titled, “The Return on Investment in Adult Education” (page 8) to have ample research-based proof that adult education matters to all Californians.  It impacts every segment of our society.

One group that hasn't received much attention is senior citizens.  The adult school classes for seniors were some of the first to be cut when funds started being swept by our K-12 districts.  When we talk about rebuilding, it’s important to include older adults in the conversation.  One teacher who illustrates the dedication of adult school teachers is Mike Lepore of Claremont Adult School.  On April 7, 2011, he sent a letter to the board members of his district, the second time they considered terminating the classes:

For the past fourteen months, the evening Circuit and Resistance Training, (Exercise & Fitness), classes of the Claremont Adult Education, have engaged in a range of activities in an attempt to support the continuation of these classes. These actions have included:

• The payment of fluctuating fees, (classes were state-supported prior to this time).
• Holding a fundraising yard sale,
• Soliciting tax-deductible sponsorship donations,
• Facilitating the acquisition and utilization of  cardiovascular equipment donated by The Claremont Club
• Voluntarily welding, repairing and replacing equipment
• Working with the Claremont H.S. Video Production class on an informational video
• Attending and speaking at a school board meeting

The classes are composed primarily of senior citizens and baby boomers, many of whom live on fixed incomes or have recently been downsized. The instructor for the classes is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist, along with holding NSCA and NASM-CPTs, and certification in Functional Movement Assessment, and has over 30 years of experience in the field.  Programs are individualized to meet the diverse needs of the student population, addressing a wide range issues such as obesity, type II diabetes, joint replacement, sarcopenia, osteopenia, and osteoporosis, fitness and conditioning and sport - specific training. Approximately fifteen years ago, the state of California recognized these classes as applied public health classes, and funded them relative to class attendance.  In the wake of multiple budget cuts over the last several years, California has reduced its funding, and now sends it under a discretionary umbrella.

Mike Lepore has worked tirelessly to provide seniors in his community with the classes that are vital to their health.

  • InterValley has supported the classes for the last three years. The total amount they have contributed to date has been $3,500.00. A student in Mike’s Circuit Training class named Mark Levine works with CEOs of non-profits, (Habitat for Humanity,among others), on designing fundraising projects. Mark contacted Marcia Lerner at IVHP, and invited her to come observe the class. She observed the class, liked what she saw, and convinced the IVHP board to support them.
  • The local Kiwanis club made a one time donation of $1,000.00 three years ago
  • Class members have organized and held two yard sales, raising a little over $3,000.00.
  • Twice several of class members wrote the school board, and spoke at board meetings, when termination was being considered.
  • Mike met with Steve Boyd at the district office and they settled on $5.00 a week as a reasonable fee for the class.. The money is in an account titled Resistance Training Sponsorship Fund. To date some of the funds have been used on several occasions to pay for additional weeks of class. Consistency is an important variable enhancing the benefits of exercise, and the revised schedule sometimes includes 6 or 7 week breaks, so funds have been used to expand the availability of the classes. Any ongoing student for whom the $5.00 weekly fee poses a hardship is covered with Sponsorship Fund money.
  • Mark and Mike have sought a meeting with their Congresswoman Judy Chu in order to inform her of their circumstances.

Randomized clinical trials have demonstrated that increased exercise participation and improved lifestyle behavior in areas such as dietary intake are more effective at managing diabetes risk and clinical depression than standard pharmacotherapy.
Appropriately designed exercise programs addressing chronic diseases and disabilities have the potential to impact a large segment of the population. “An estimated 90 million Americans are currently living with a chronic health condition and this figure is projected to rise sharply in the years to come as a result of the rapidly expanding older population subgroup.”

“… the direct medical costs of caring for individuals with chronic diseases accounted for more than 75% of the nation’s $2 trillion medical budget in 2005.”
“ Until such time that physicians, practitioners, and employers more readily embrace the idea that physical inactivity is a key antecedent to most chronic diseases and disablements and thus should be a cornerstone of targeted intervention, there will be little impact on controlling or reducing medical costs associated with chronic disease.”
“ Higher levels of muscular fitness are associated with significantly better risk factor profiles, lower risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events, improvements in bone density and articular tissue strength, and lower risk of developing functional limitations and non-fatal disease.”
The level of muscular fitness seems to have additional relevance for seniors. “ In one study, greater muscular strength was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality risk, even after overall exercise levels and comorbid conditions were accounted for.”

The final assertion drawn from the ACSM pertains specifically to the issues frequently associated with frailty in elderly individuals.”Physical activity appears to be of critical importance for delaying the metabolic and inflammatory disorders associated with aging, such as sarcopenia and osteoarthritis. In older populations, physical activity improves muscle strength, endurance, and maximal aerobic power. Flexibility, balance, motor control, and coordination are also improved, resulting in decreased risk of falling while enhancing mobility. Exercise has also been shown to prevent or delay cognitive impairment while increasing socialization and self-esteem. These benefits improve functional limitations and have important implications for maintaining or promoting independence in daily living activities.”

Numerous studies have shown that resistance training can increase muscle mass and strength in persons who are elderly. In addition, the training can result in significant improvements in muscle function and also general motor performance  such as walking and stair climbing.

In older adults (50 and above), resistance training has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and lower the probability of premature all-cause mortality.

  • Risk of cardiovascular disease is lowered through the reduction of body fat through regular exercise. This is also a major preventive factor for type II diabetes.
  • Resistance Training’s positive impact on resting metabolic rate, may have a greater effect on fat loss than aerobic activity.
  • Resistance training decreases resting blood pressure
  • Resistance training improves blood lipid profiles
  • Resistance training enhances vascular condition facilitating circulation and arterial blood flow.
  • Beneficial cardiovascular adaptations from resistance exercise provide risk reduction for metabolic syndrome.
  • Resistance training speeds up gastrointestinal transit, slow transit is associated with increased risk of colon cancer.

Remember all that we’ve lost since the onset of flexibility.  We are making a difference by speaking up and insisting that our concerns be heard.  As James Gulli wrote, the human element  "always seems to be thrown from the bus during budget cuts" (3.14.13 letter to Rebecca Kimitch, SGV Tribune City Editor).  It’s our job to remind everyone of the importance of the human element.  To forget it is to be penny wise and pound foolish.  If we truly want California to make a comeback, we need to look at the long term and be careful not to let short-sightedness and a misguided proposal dictate reform that will have devastating long term effects on our state.

On Thursday we will find out if the Senate subcommittee agrees with the Assembly subcommittee on the issue of adult ed.  Take the time to contact these subcommittee members and tell them what you think of Governor Brown’s plan to shift the responsibility of all adult education to community colleges: (Senator Roderick D. Wright) (Senator Mark Wyland)

Please keep promoting the petitions and getting as many signatures as possible:

    Leg Day is almost here!  We are in the final days of the time period where input from citizens can make an impact on the decision makers.  It's important to note that these people work for us.  When we work together, we are powerful!

    Have a great week,


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