A bill that would, among other things, narrow the focus of adult education programs has been put on hold probably until next year while Assembly Higher Education Committee members wrestle with conflicting views about the legislation. Passage by that committee was the last hurdle the bill faced before being put to the vote on the Assembly floor and then sent to the governor for approval. The Senate has already approved it.

Senate Bill 173, introduced by Carol Liu, D-Glendale and chair of the Senate Education Committee, would put into law what Gov. Jerry Brown has demanded to gain his support for continuing to fund K-12 districts’ adult education programs. The governor, as well as the Legislative Analyst’s Office, wants adult education to focus on helping adults gain the skills they need to become productive citizens. That includes basic education, high school diploma and GED classes, English as a Second Language and citizenship classes and targeted vocational education courses. What it leaves out are parent education programs and classes for older adults.

Currently, under the Budget Act, districts are required to maintain their adult education programs at the same level for two years. But in 2015-16, nothing has been decided. Proponents of SB 173 are concerned that the governor will veto any further funding for district-based adult education if the funds could be used for parent education or older adult programs.

“The reality is that the governor has been clear about what he wants,” said Dawn Koepke, a lobbyist for the state’s two adult education organizations. “We don’t want to throw anybody (such as older adult programs) under the bus, but we feel we have no choice if we want to save the system.”

Koepke says the law would not limit districts from providing those programs; it just would not fund them. Districts could raise class fees and work with city commissions on aging, senior centers and foundations to fund the programs, she said.

But those who support older adult programs say adult education should have a broader focus as the population of senior citizens grows. This includes the politically powerful American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which issued a press release supporting the defeat of SB 173.

Robert Oakes, spokesperson for Liu, said in an email that the senator shares the concerns voiced by Koepke that the defeat of this bill could mean that the governor would veto future K-12 funding for adult education.

“But the votes simply weren’t there to move the bill this week,” Oakes said, adding that the senator “will continue discussions with all interested parties to try to find a successful resolution.”

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  1. George Porter 3 years ago3 years ago

    In partial response to Paul's comments, the measuring methods of the official US Census is a blunt instrument for determining poverty rates and the Census Bureau itself readily admits it. To correct the problem, they've developed the "supplemental poverty measure" and their analysis to date indicates that senior poverty is roughly 1.5 times the "official" rate and some analysts think that still low. The Kaiser Family Foundation has crunched the numbers by State and found … Read More

    In partial response to Paul’s comments, the measuring methods of the official US Census is a blunt instrument for determining poverty rates and the Census Bureau itself readily admits it. To correct the problem, they’ve developed the “supplemental poverty measure” and their analysis to date indicates that senior poverty is roughly 1.5 times the “official” rate and some analysts think that still low. The Kaiser Family Foundation has crunched the numbers by State and found that senior poverty runs the gamut from 8% to 26% with California second from the top at 20% (only D.C was higher).

    We can argue the matter till were blue in the face, but this is not the place. Suffice it to say that the economic health of the 65+ population is considerably worse than the simple census method shows and that all indications are that it will become even more of an issue over the years ahead.

    Let’s stop this here – we’re veering off-topic.

  2. Paul 3 years ago3 years ago

    Bob Harper raises some interesting points about certain (not all) categories of adult school service provided to seniors. I don't perceive his comments as vitriolic in the least. He's saying he believes that populations other than seniors have a greater and more acute need. I believe that adult education funding should be preserved, and I disagree with the state's efforts to chip away at the edges of Adult School until there is nothing left. Nevertheless, when … Read More

    Bob Harper raises some interesting points about certain (not all) categories of adult school service provided to seniors. I don’t perceive his comments as vitriolic in the least. He’s saying he believes that populations other than seniors have a greater and more acute need.

    I believe that adult education funding should be preserved, and I disagree with the state’s efforts to chip away at the edges of Adult School until there is nothing left. Nevertheless, when there is an opportunity to recover costs, it is reasonable to do so.

    All costs associated with an adult education class created for a specific senior care facility should be recovered from that facility. Senior care facilities, whether public or private, have their own revenue streams, which include fees paid by individuals, by private insurers, and by Medicaid/Medi-Cal. If classes are an aspect of a facility’s advertised “quality of life”, it is incumbent upon the facility to dedicate some of its revenue to the cost of those classes.

    (I think we’d balk at providing a publicly-funded class inside a private school, and then inviting the private school to advertise the class as if the school itself had paid for it.)

    Both Bob and George are incorrect in assuming that most seniors live on a fixed income. Most seniors receive Social Security, which has, since 1975 (!), been indexed to the Consumer Price Index. If few people admit that Social Security benefits are indexed, fewer still understand how the Consumer Price Index operates. Recipients of indexed benefits often complain that they are “only” receiving an extra $30 a month this year, when in fact that $30 reflects the net increase in the cost of a “basket” of goods and services bought by a typical person. For example, the price of gas might have increased over the course of the year, but the price of telephone service might have decreased. The benefit recipient spends more money on some goods and services and less on others, but the person’s standard of living is essentially unchanged from the past year.

    http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/colaseries.html

    The people whose incomes are truly fixed are unskilled workers. The federal minimum wage of $7.25 hasn’t changed since 2009; the corresponding California figure, $8.00, hasn’t changed since 2008. The kinds of students turning to adult schools for ESL and GED classes are minimum-wage earners. Not only have their wages been fixed for 5 years in California, but these workers face the risk of reduced hours (underemployment) or layoff (complete unemployment).

    Accordingly, it is no surprise that in California, a person aged 18 to 64 is about twice as likely to be living below the poverty line than a person aged 65+. The correct poverty rate for seniors in California is 8.2%; for adults, it’s 15.6%. These figures are for 2011 and come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, one of the statistical updates produced between the decennial census years.

    http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032012/pov/POV46_001_100125.htm

    Again, I don’t agree with the state’s efforts to reduce total adult education funds or to “de-list” certain kinds of classes. But whatever the budget situation for adult schools, external costs should be recovered, and individuals with the greatest financial need should be served first. Financial need, whether at the group or individual level, is a factual question. The fact is that adults — and especially young adults — are much more likely to be poor than are seniors.

  3. George Porter 3 years ago3 years ago

    In response to Bob Harper's comments, I take serious offense at his mischaracterization of the senior population who take advantage of "Older Adult" courses as a batch of greedy, wealthy white geezers. Fact of the matter is that many, many senior citizens are already living in poverty, that California has one of the highest rates in the nation (1 in 5 according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report) and that this will become even more … Read More

    In response to Bob Harper’s comments, I take serious offense at his mischaracterization of the senior population who take advantage of “Older Adult” courses as a batch of greedy, wealthy white geezers.

    Fact of the matter is that many, many senior citizens are already living in poverty, that California has one of the highest rates in the nation (1 in 5 according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report) and that this will become even more of a problem over the years ahead. Of course here and there around the State some affluent seniors take advantage of “Older Adult” classes, but the vast majority of the students are at best middle-class living on fixed incomes and are only a major expense or two away from having their humble but comfortable world fall apart around them. The continued health, independence, socioeconomic contributions and civic engagement of this demographic is critical the ALL Californians’ weal and well managed educational opportunities extended to the elder middle-class and those economically below will go a long ways toward ensuring a positive outcome.

    It’s simply foolish to now eliminate the “Older Adults” programs. At this point they are a very, very small portion of the Education budget and the wise course is to slowly rebuild them with the more refined curricular and funding mechanisms that will promote more efficient use of the limited taxpayer dollar. I very much agree with President Obama that we need to “build from the middle” and that begins in this case with sustaining the broad base of affordable course offerings that encourage participation by the fixed-income middle class alongside new policies to foster better outreach to those in more difficult economic circumstances. If a few rich citizens sneak in the door because of this, so be it – no system is perfect. To do otherwise will be counterproductive, will create an educational landscape where only the affluent will have access to the learning needed to help them stay healthy and engaged and what I find most troubling about Mr. Harper’s comments is that it shows how easily well intentioned, left-leaning folks can be co-opted by those who have no hesitation to misrepresent the situation to serve their own selfish ends.

    As far as the issue of the interface of the Adult School system with other public and private entities goes, the problem was very, very rarely with Senior Centers, Community Centers, Churches, Municipal institutions and the like, but with other both not-for-profit and for-profit private sector entities focused on care of the Frail and Disabled. Though I would prefer to leave all this as “water under the bridge”, since Mr. Harper brought it up, it was the Adult School Administrators combined with ineffective policy and regulation at State level that encouraged the bloating of what could have been effective outreach. The central problem occurred in “captive participation” environments and the practice of sending out often inexperienced teachers into situations where they were able to claim ADA sometimes far in excess of the cost to the administrating Adult School became the standard.

    That’s not to say that this sort of outreach was without considerable merit – in general the Frail Elder and Adults with Disabilities instructors do valuable work (especially those who have survived the last few years!) – but only to point out that it had been turned into a cash-cow to support other Adult Ed. programs and had grown far too quickly and far too large. This was, of course, not the problem of the INTENTION of the outreach BUT WITH ITS ADMINISTRATION and I agree with Mr. Harper that clearing up this issue was long overdue even before the establishment of the block grant.

    In addition, though I’d prefer this water under the bridge as well, since Mr. Harper brought it up I feel obliged to point out that when OTAN, the CDE, the LAO and others looked at the “outlying” programs and saw that they were claiming a bit over 20% of the Adult Ed. budget, what they were seeing was ADA claimed and not the actual cost of their operation. I suspect the actual costs were much less, but who knows? who wanted to look? – the cash-cow was turned into sacrificial lamb in the interest of the core programs, the block grant earnings all but completely taken and this fact swept under the rug.

    Again, I would have preferred to leave this as water under the bridge, but Mr. Harper’s vitriolic attack is just far too poisonous and strong poisons require strong antidotes.

    George Porter

  4. Kristen Pursley 3 years ago3 years ago

    One of the assembly committee members, Reginald Jones-Sawyer, pointed out that Parent Education and Home Economics classes could be crucial for adults reentering their communities after incarceration, as these former prisoners have often been incarcerated since adolescence. Those of us who have been advocating against narrowing the mission of adult education haven’t been focusing on Home Economics, but Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer saw an important social justice reason for keeping the program. During the hearing, proponents of … Read More

    One of the assembly committee members, Reginald Jones-Sawyer, pointed out that Parent Education and Home Economics classes could be crucial for adults reentering their communities after incarceration, as these former prisoners have often been incarcerated since adolescence. Those of us who have been advocating against narrowing the mission of adult education haven’t been focusing on Home Economics, but Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer saw an important social justice reason for keeping the program.

    During the hearing, proponents of SB 173 repeated that Older Adult, Parent Education, Health and Safety and Home Economics programs have to go so that California’s 5 million low-literacy adults can become proficient and be trained for jobs. But the numbers just don’t add up. We are talking about $28 million dollars for these four programs for the entire state. In terms of education dollars, $28 million is not a lot. $28 million would represent a small fraction of the budget of even a medium-sized school district.

    It is fairly easy for me to do the math on this, because the ESL program where I work has a budget of $1 million. Reports on the numbers we serve with this amount yearly vary; I have seen 3,000 to 11,000 as the number, depending on how you count. Let’s be generous and say we serve 11,000. So $28 million would buy 28 more programs like ours. This means that, with the entire budget of all the Older Adult, Parent Education, Health and Safety and Home Economics programs in California, we could serve another 308,000 ESL students. That doesn’t make a very big dent in 5 million people needing literacy services. It wouldn’t have much of an effect on waiting lists for ESL and other literacy classes.

    And this is ESL, a very inexpensive ESL program at that. Our teachers are some of the lowest paid in our area, and these are old-fashioned adult school classes in poorly lit church basements and school cafeterias, with old textbooks (pre-2008), hardly any computers, no LMOs, and, if you are lucky, a white board that is not only completely stupid but probably scratched. Job training and Career Tech Ed classes, which the state will also supposedly increase with this money, are far more expensive, and would serve even fewer students with a mere $28 million.

    Committee Chair Das Williams said this is a zero-sum game, but is it? Older Adult and Parent Education classes save the state money. A study by the Zero to Three Policy Center determined that effective early childhood programs, of which parent education is a key component, produced savings of $3.78 to $17.07 for every dollar spent, with savings coming in the form of outcomes such as better school retention, improved earnings, and crime reduction. Recent research shows that mental, physical and social stimulation such as Older Adult classes provide can reduce dementia rates by 18%. Dementia care is enormously expensive, and some of the expense falls on the state. Can we really afford to cut these programs?

    Those of us who want to see Older Adult and Parent Education programs maintained (and maybe Home Economics and Health and Safety, too) are not afraid of change. We want to see intelligent policy making, not just cuts. We can see a bright future that includes Older Adult and Parent Education programs. Full Service Community Schools are an emerging model in California, and the model includes Parent Education as a vital part of its community involvement component. That is change, good change. We could tie Older Adult programs more closely to K-12 schools with more organized school volunteer programs for Older Adult students. Get the high school kids involved in volunteering with the Older Adults, too. With creativity and vision, we could make these programs even more valuable to their students and communities.

  5. Karen Arthur 3 years ago3 years ago

    Advocates are looking at a whole community, whole family approach to community adult schools. For example, the mission statement of Santa Monica Adult School is, “To provide our diverse student population with the necessary skills to become productive members of the workforce, participating community members, effective and caring family members, wise consumers, and confident lifelong learners.” When we are asked to succumb to the wishes of Governor Brown by changing the mission of … Read More

    Advocates are looking at a whole community, whole family approach to community adult schools. For example, the mission statement of Santa Monica Adult School is, “To provide our diverse student population with the necessary skills to become productive members of the workforce, participating community members, effective and caring family members, wise consumers, and confident lifelong learners.” When we are asked to succumb to the wishes of Governor Brown by changing the mission of our schools, and go against our philosophical beliefs, we draw the line. When older adult programs and parent ed are held in less esteem than the core programs, it reminds me of K12 districts sweeping funds and shutting down adult schools. Adult education was viewed as more expendable than other budget items. A couple of months ago, disabled adults were off the list of programs to be funded if SB 173 were to pass. Now they’ve made it through the door.

    If social justice is the issue, then why is it that educators in low-income, immigrant communities are advocating for an amendment to include these programs? If you watch the video of the hearing, you will see Irma Beserra Núñez speaking on behalf of the multi-generational, immigrant families that participate in these programs. She points out the connection between supporting families and and promoting economic growth in communities of poverty. I believe that California needs a social bank as well as a well-trained workforce.

    The regional consortia will be able to echo the goal of the LCFF in the realm of adult education by providing choice at the local level to design programs that best meet community needs. Older Adult, Parent Ed, Home Economics and Financial Literacy may meet needs in communities of poverty that aren’t apparent to those who don’t live in them, as was pointed out by Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer at the hearing. He said that in his area, Home Economics and Parent Ed are important for those who are released from prison and attempting to re-learn how to live in society. Given California’s prison problem, we should definitely consider this concern as we look at eliminating funding for these programs. “Backfill” doesn’t work everywhere. Citizens in these areas voted for the passage of Proposition 30 with the expectation that it would increase funding for needed programs in their neighborhoods.

    Returning to the adult school system of the past is not an option (and I don’t think anyone is suggesting such a move). Moving forward with a deeper understanding of the value of the whole community and the necessity to see adult education as an opportunity to build stronger communities should be the focus. We’ve seen that “creative funding” options for programs hurt communities of poverty the most.

    Have we adequately examined the societal value of the programs on the chopping block in the context of how they might help communities most in need? We need to look to the future with eyes wide open regarding how to shape adult ed to surpass what it has been and create a better system. All community members need the chance to be part of this process. Assembly Member Weber’s suggestion that public forums be held is a step in the right direction. I urge people to watch the hearing, listen to the speakers, and form their own opinion. Here’s the link to the Cal Channel: http://www.calchannel.com/recent-archive/

    Are there Machiavellian forces out to annihilate K12 adult ed? Perhaps there are. If enough people get informed and speak up, we’ll be able to create a movement that won’t allow K12 adult education to become extinct. With a focused effort, we can get the attention of Governor Brown. The regional consortia is a different plan than the one he presented last January. Let’s give him the opportunity to hear our voices. As he initiates his run for re-election, let’s challenge him to listen to the wants of the people of California. The big question is, what is the purpose of adult education in California? Keep in mind that at the hearing, legislators indicated that we may be looking at more funds in January when they revisit SB 173. I don’t want to short-change adult education in K12 or community colleges, especially as we enter our regional consortia and make decisions for our combined communities.

  6. el 3 years ago3 years ago

    I would like to see parenting classes be mandatory for all parents, personally. Every one of us could benefit.

  7. Bob Harper 3 years ago3 years ago

    It isn't "broad" when communities of poverty have long waiting lists for classes for critical literacy classes while in other places in the state there are classes where students have repeated classes like yoga and watercolor for many, many years. I do yoga, and I believe watercolor can keep seniors more mentally engaged and lower healthcare costs, but I see literacy students languish on waiting lists and 20 years facing an uncertain future. Cynthia, … Read More

    It isn’t “broad” when communities of poverty have long waiting lists for classes for critical literacy classes while in other places in the state there are classes where students have repeated classes like yoga and watercolor for many, many years. I do yoga, and I believe watercolor can keep seniors more mentally engaged and lower healthcare costs, but I see literacy students languish on waiting lists and 20 years facing an uncertain future. Cynthia, I am afraid you are defining “broad” as returning to an adult school before the crisis where positive seat-time attendance ruled all, without a reflective and critical analysis of what kind of adult learning was most needed in a community. Returning to an adult school where teachers didn’t want students to leave their classes because they were afraid the attendance would go down and the classes would close (can we not create a system that better protects teachers?). Returning to an adult school where “subcontracting” with some centers for adults with disabilities on senior centers (we’ll give you dollars if you give us hours we can report to the state for revenue). Returning to an adult school where publically funded services were provided at convalescent hospitals while the owners made money from advertising the quality of life for residents. I don’t want to return to that adult school: I want to challenge ourselves to make a real difference for those most marginalized (and make no mistake about it, seniors are marginalized, but any statistical analysis of who we served in older adult programs previously will demonstrate they are disproportionately white, and have higher income, even though fixed, than the median income of ESL students). So, I also would define broad as including childcare, special education and mental health support, counseling for the ESL, literacy students, and HS GED students who have no other option. “Many”, including adult educators like me who have worked in adult schools for 40 years, think our adult schools need to be a more effective force for social justice than they were. Status quo, counting attendance for students as we always have, maintains services for the disproportionately white and privileged at the expense of “broader” services to communities stuck in poverty. My school has 20% of its services in community education, largely older adult students. If the community colleges continue to block reform for adult schools, I have no doubt there will be community colleges, but I think the very existence of community-based adult schools is in jeopardy. And then where would there be an infrastructure to run the older adult program my schools has now? Gone. The victory I hope for is one that furthers the cause of educational opportunity and social equity – not a pyrrhic victory that prepares for a Govenor’s veto. Right now there is NO secured funding for K-12 adult schools in 2015.

  8. Cynthia Eagleton 3 years ago3 years ago

    Thank you again, Edsource, for covering Adult Ed matters when so few media sources do so. A few bits in response: 1. "That includes basic education, high school diploma and GED classes, English as a Second Language and citizenship classes and targeted vocational education courses. What it leaves out are parent education programs and classes for older adults." More accurately: the proposed list is ESL, Citizenship, Basic Ed, HSD & GED, VocEd - … Read More

    Thank you again, Edsource, for covering Adult Ed matters when so few media sources do so.

    A few bits in response:

    1. “That includes basic education, high school diploma and GED classes, English as a Second Language and citizenship classes and targeted vocational education courses. What it leaves out are parent education programs and classes for older adults.” More accurately: the proposed list is ESL, Citizenship, Basic Ed, HSD & GED, VocEd – and Disabled Adults. At some point in its journey, the bill was amended to include programs for Disabled Adults – but not Older Adults and Parent Ed. It would be interesting to know why Disabled Adults were added – but not OA and ParEd. Many older adults work – and OA programs are tailored to meet their needs, keeping them in top form for work, providing chldcare for their grandchildren, civic volunteering, or whatever else they do, etc. Many parents work also. Parent Education builds and supports strong families. It’s not just about young kids. It’s about older kids and teens. Some ParEd programs are focused on gang-prevention, defiant teens, and helping parents obtain much parenting skills as they become custodial parents again.

    2. “Assembly Higher Education Committee members wrestle with conflicting views about the legislation.” You can watch the video of the hearing at http://www.calchannel.com/recent-archive. I was at the hearing I didn’t actually hear much conflict from the members on the committee. Member Das seemed ready to approve the bill. No one else was. Everyone else ranged from strong disapproval to abstention. Weber, Jones-Sawyer, Quirk-Silva, Medina, Fox, and Wilk all expressed concern about narrowing the mission of Adult Ed. Some focused more on Older Adults, some on Parent Ed, some on both. Many expressed a desire to keep the mission broad and focused on “lifelong learning.” The only Legislator I heard speaking in strongly in favor of 173 was Senator Liu, herself.

    3. Dawn Koepke said “We don’t want to throw anybody (such as older adult programs) under the bus, but we feel we have no choice if we want to save the system.” (This is change, I notice, from Koepke’s earlier statement: “Importantly, this has never been about throwing any particular program or student population under the bus” – from her July 1 Legislative Update on the CCAE website.)

    But at the hearing, Assembly Member Fox said “I don’t buy the argument that they gave before that then there won’t be adult education in two years and there won’t be funding. The truth is we make a budget every year and we pushed back on the budget to protect adult education this last year and we should continue doing that.”

    4. “Koepke says the law would not limit districts from providing those programs; it just would not fund them. Districts could raise class fees and work with city commissions on aging, senior centers and foundations to fund the programs, she said.” In her July 1 update on the CCAE website (ccaestate.org), Ms. Koepke said, “we have to get creative and continue developing our local partnerships to help backfill funding.”

    If everything could be backfilled, we would never have had a crisis in Adult Education. Oakland would have thriving Adult Ed program right now. But it doesn’t. And neither do so many other places. Because you can’t backfill everything. That’s why we pay taxes and vote on what we want. So that we can pay for things ourselves, rather than having to go hat in hand for charity or have cookie sales as Ms. Beserra Nunez mentioned. Some regions have wealthy donors or large and generous foundations and folks skilled in asking for money. Other areas don’t. But even for the areas with the wealthy donors and the generous foundations and the skilled askers, this is problematic. Donors and Foundations tend to have pet projects. They’re not obligated to help everyone. Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer talked his desire for Parent Education and Home Economics courses for men in his district coming out incarceration. Are there donors lining up to help with that? If there were, I’m sure the very able Assembly Member would already have secured their donations. This is why we have a state government: to invest in its people… to understand their value and to shore up the banks, both social and economic, when and where needed, so that the problems don’t spill out and cause a flood of disasters.

    It is, in fact, a privilege to invest in ourselves… an empowering, exhilarating privilege… one of the many wonderful, burdensome privileges of democracy.

    5.“The reality is that the governor has been clear about what he wants,” said Dawn Koepke, a lobbyist for the state’s two adult education organizations.” To a point, I understand this. It is important to understand what the governor wants. It is also important to understand what the people want. Government is in service to the people – by the people, of the people, for the people. It’s very difficult to truly succeed as an elected government official – be that a City Council member or a state Governor or the President of the United States. You must constantly strive to understand what the people want, be in a dialogue with them about it, and strive to achieve it – with and for them… all at the same time. Gov. Brown’s job is to understand what we want and then to present us with plans that he thinks will implement that. He heard the voice of the people: We want better public education with more access for those most in need. He came up with the LCFF as a way to implement that. He heard the voice of the people when they said they didn’t want all Adult Ed to be under the Community College system – and so he changed his budget plan. Now again, what is most important is not just to listen to what he wants… but to listen to what the people want.

    And what do they want? That’s what Assembly Member Weber wondered. She suggested having public forums. She said we need to think seriously about this and “do the right thing.”

    In an effort to find out the same thing, I have made a questionnaire I’ve posted on the AEM blog:
    http://adulteducationmatters.blogspot.com/2013/08/what-do-you-want-for-adult-ed-in-future.html

    Many Assembly Members spoke to that point. What do the people want? We need to know. We need to ask them.

    6. Assembly Member Das said it’s primarily an economic issue. This is true. This is an economic issue.

    What’s also true and what I wish were more acknowledged is that people differ on how best to improve an economy.

    Many people see the answer to economic problems as job training, jobs, etc. I agree. Those things are important.

    But that’s just one part of improving an economy.

    If a society brings in more money – but a large amount of that money goes to social problems, the economy does not improve – not even if most people find good union jobs as prison guards.

    We need two banks to really thrive as a people: a money bank and a social bank. Then our work-training programs and jobs can bring in the funds that support a healthy people, rather than having an enormous amount of money go into healthcare, juvenile justice, criminal justice, incarceration costs, mental healthcare, fall out from drug and alcohol addiction issues, etc.

    As Wilk said, in speaking about the value of Parent Education, “I think parenting classes are important… I think we have a tremendous impact by teaching parent how to parent.. And you know what? There’s probably no way to quantify those benefits but I gotta assume they’re immense.”

    As a single parent with senior parents with health problems, I can tell you that my ability to work is directly impacted by the health and functioning level of my family – child, parents, etc. My personal “economy” is affected by my job – and my ability to work that job. I have to had to miss work to take care of my parents. OA classes keep them as healthy as possible – which means I miss less work.

    I think we actually could quantify the benefits of Parent Ed and Older Adults. I think some people probably already have. We already know that OA programs work to stave off dementia. Is there an economic benefit to that for the state? You betcha.

    That’s why, in the opinion of myself and so many, the mission of Adult Education needs to remain broad. In this way, we can best improve our economy and empower our people.