Op-Ed By MAGGIE ISHINO in the Rafu Shimpo, Los Angeles Japanese Daily News | http://bit.ly/N0peJ8
Thu, Jul 5 2012 :: Several months ago a press release was sent to the Rafu Shimpo office indicating that the Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy’s proposal was to eliminate adult education in Los Angeles beginning in the 2012-13 school year. There was also a massive exhibition of LAUSD adult education supporters on Feb. 14 in downtown Los Angeles, which I witnessed.
Why is it that whenever the economic situation is threatening, education and everything pertaining to it such as teachers, classroom classes, etc., seem to be the first ones “to go” or eliminating thoughts come to mind?
At the Rafu Shimpo office, we receive some letters, articles and Vox Populi that have poor grammar, incorrect punctuation, and “doesn’t make sense” sentences to the point where I really want to cry. I say to myself, “If only these people would take an adult education class in English, they would improve themselves to a great extent.”
Attending adult education classes opens up new horizons and becomes a challenge and a “stick-to-it” purpose in life. Life becomes more meaningful and more responsible. One may want to learn a new language such as Italian, Japanese or Spanish, etc. One may learn a new hobby such as photography or something else of interest. Adult education stimulates the mind and keeps the body active, and it doesn’t give way to becoming bored.
By attending adult education classes, one can meet new friends and some eventually become like family. I have met such friends by attending evening adult education classes.
Adult education should never be eliminated under any circumstances. I firmly believe that people who are in the upper echelon of society and/or community are the ones who really need to become more humane and become aware of the less fortunate. Without adult education, there would be no means of obtaining resources for adults to better themselves. I realize, too, that it is up to the individual to choose to attend or not attend adult classes, but isn’t it wonderful to have that choice?
I am a product of adult education. I would not have had the privilege or opportunity to obtain my college degree in English or an Adult Education Teaching Credential at age 57 were it not for adult education. I thank God for these accomplishments and the Los Angeles Unified School District’s adult education system. Meow.
Maggie Ishino is a Rafu typist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.
●●smf: Thank you Maggie for your meow; your opinion is necessarily that of 4LAKids.
What was gone unreported and undiscussed in the elimination of 55% of the LAUSD adult education program (which the superintendent and the board president have spun in the media and their public pronouncements as “saving” the program) is the behind-the-scenes iron-fisted intimidation and punishment of Adult Education leadership who opposed the superintendent’s move in their February 14th demonstration in support of Adult Education.
The Feb 14th demonstration was joined by former members of congress, current Los Angeles (and other city) councilpeople and county supervisors; by Adult Ed staff and teachers – and most importantly by adult ed students and alumni who spoke eloquently of the program’s success and positive impact on their lives and the life of the City of Angels we aspire to be . Faced with overwhelming popular and logical opposition The Board of Ed and the powers-that-be recanted and reevaluated their thinking.
Truth was spoken to power …and power blinked.
And then they retaliated by firing Adult Education Division chief Ed Morris within a week - literally escorting him out of the building – making it clear to all in Adult Ed – and by extension Early Childhood Ed, Health Education, Beyond the Bell and any-and-every other program subject to reductions in force and/or the budget axe : “You can be a good soldier and go along with the program …or there’s the chopping block!!”
Whatever morale there was in the District, whether at Beaudry or at the local district and program offices, or at school sites was crushed. Whatever spirit of resistance there was ended. That was the real Valentine’s Day Massacre …it just happened a week later.
John Deasy and Monica Garcia have made it abundantly clear: “You are ether with us or you’re against us.”
I for one, am against them.