Sunday, June 23, 2013

This Wednesday - SB 173 Hearing: ACT NOW to Save Adult School Older Adult and Parent Ed Programs

State funding for adult school Parent Education and Older Adult programs is still at risk. 
Kristen Pursley, on the Save Our Adult School blog explains the current situation with Older Adult and Parent Ed programs and the need to act immediately.  There will be a hearing on SB 173 on Wednesday.  SB 173 explicitly defunds these programs. 

As Cynthia Eagleton wrote in her recent blog postAfter five long years, we got a seat at the table - with a glass half-full of victory!  Cynthia also wrote on the Adult Education Matters blog about Senator Ted Lieu and his effort to save programs for Older Adults.  

Senator Ted Lieu's opinion piece proves that he's the legislator for whom we've been searching!  Please sign his petition "to urge Gov. Brown and the Legislature to continue stable funding of older adult education programs."  Although the form checks to see if the email is sent by one of his constituents, it doesn't exclude those from outside his district from signing the petition.

George Porter of Berkeley Adult School has kindly provided us with a message to cut & paste (or edit as you wish) in an email to your legislator and education committee members.  George limited the text to fit the requirement of 2,000 characters, leaving 19 characters to type your name at the bottom.

Here it is:


- Older Adults education programs have been State supported for six decades and are more important now than ever before - the ongoing health, independence, socioeconomic contributions and civic engagement of older Californians will have an increasingly large part to play in the weal of the State. The educational offerings these programs provide support this and so far there has been NO DISCUSSION as to how the opportunity can be best taken advantage of.

- Over the past few years the Older Adult programs have suffered severe cut-backs and the annual cost is estimated at a mere $22 million statewide. Despite this, what remains is healthy, strong and the infrastructure investment of skilled teachers, relationships with Senior and Community Centers, etc. and integration into the daily operations of Adult Ed. is still in place. Throwing that away is poor policy and harmful to both the short and long-term interests of all Californians.

- It's time to wisely rebuild Older Adults programs, not eliminate them. Though work-force development is of primary concern to Adult Ed., older Californians are also an asset. There are ways to support these programs that will allow the educational offerings to remain affordable for middle-class, elder Californians living on a fixed income while ensuring that they don't grow too rapidly and demand a disproportionate share of funding.

- Again, at this point the issue of how to effectively support these programs has been ignored while the narrow-minded view that older Californians are simply a burden to be compensated for has prevailed. Assuming that those who have aged out of the workforce are no longer productive citizens worthy of investment is not only insulting to that community, but will result in policy detrimental to the California as a whole.  SB173's proposal to rescind funding is based on such an assumption and this portion MUST BE OPPOSED.

[Your Name Here]

Thank you to George, Kristen and Cynthia for all that they've done and continue to do!

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