Associated Administrators of Los Angeles Weekly Update | Week of July 29, 2013 | http://bit.ly/14YHYD1
July 25, 2013 :: You may recall that Governor Brown attempted to move oversight of adult education programs from K-12 districts to community colleges in his initial budget proposal. That provision received much opposition and the final budget included a compromise that districts would keep their adult programs for two years while regional consortia were being developed to oversee them. However, older adult and parent education programs have been eliminated in the new budget. Senator Carole Liu (D-Glendale) has introduced legislation to enact the compromise, providing funding to K-12 districts only for adult school classes offering elementary and secondary basic academic skills, English as a second language or preparation for citizenship; short-term vocational programs with high employment potential; and programs for disabled adults. Community colleges could offer ESL and citizenship classes for free, but the campuses would have to charge fees for all other classes.
The changes are being proposed due to limited resources and in an effort to focus on the knowledge and skills needed for the workforce. Supporters of older adult classes object, noting that seniors may no longer be officially working but are still productive members of society. By 2030, almost one in five Californians will be over age 65 and programs which keep them mentally and physically fit will provide savings in medical and care costs. Advocates for parent education classes do not consider such courses frills, but critical for parents to learn how to help their children succeed in school. They argue that they need dedicated funding from the state because districts have limited funds to provide for parents.
SB 173 is scheduled to be heard again in August. Advocates for older adult and parent education programs are hoping the bill will be amended to include funding for their programs. If not, such programs will have to be locally funded if they are to continue to be offered.