Today marks the end of hundreds of adult education programs for seniors and the disabled — in Oakland, alone. Across the state, classes that once provided a source of needed stimulation for the elderly are falling by the wayside.
One reason behind this phenomenon is a 15-20 percent cut in state funding. But what really appears to be undermining some adult school programs more than others is a policy shift. California school districts can now take from the adult education fund to cover their expenses. To prevent this from happening, many adult schools are favoring programs with a clear benefit to their school districts — diploma classes, parenting programs and the like — rather than classes for those with mid-stage dementia, for example.
I’ve received a number of calls today from people who are crushed by what’s happening. Some people felt that the Oakland adult education program overreacted and cut too much (254 classes have closed, 206 of which are for “older adults”), especially since the district — as of now — doesn’t plan to dip into the adult education fund next year.
What do you think? You can read the story here.