Skip to comments.LAUSD to gut education for older adults
Posted on 05/04/2009 8:50:15 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
As education in Los Angeles is slashed to the bone, even those who are long past their school days are feeling the pain.
Senior citizens are fighting budget cuts proposed by the Los Angeles Unified School District that could gut adult-
education programs that help keep them connected to the outside world.
But the fight could be in vain, according to district officials, who say that programs for seniors - especially those living in residential facilities - sit near the bottom of the district's list of priorities.
The district's adult-education system faces a cut of at least a third of its operating budget - a $53 million loss overall - with at least one of the eight adult schools in the San Fernando Valley shutting its doors.
District officials continue working on the exact cuts to specific programs, with a final decision expected later this month.
Plans call for the Reseda Adult School to be merged with El Camino Real Adult School, and virtually all programs geared to senior citizens will be canceled as of June 30, according to Ed Morris, LAUSD's interim assistant superintendent for adult and career education.
"Unfortunately, it's unavoidable," Morris said.
News of those closures hit hard at the Park Ventura Retirement Hotel in Woodland Hills, where for years residents have been taking classes offered by Reseda Adult School.
Viola White, 82, a retired artist and teacher, was near tears in Advertisement discussing the impact of the cuts.
"Anything that expands your mind is good no matter how old you are," she said. "I think this is going to be a terrible loss."
David Abrams, a disabled 51-year-old who also lives at Park Ventura, said those making the cuts erroneously assume that older people have lost their intellectual curiosity.
"We will no longer have the intellectual stimulation these classes have provided," said the retired lawyer.
Susan Weisbarth, executive director of the Park Ventura Retirement Hotel, and David Fritz, a 16-year teacher of older students in the adult school division, have been lobbying the district and the state to save the classes.
"The loss to older students will be tremendous and will have potentially serious ramifications - depression, which could lead to all kinds of other mental health problems," said Fritz, who specializes in gerontology issues.
Weisbarth said the seniors at Park Ventura will be devastated by the loss of classes.
"This is their connection to the world," she said.
Officials say educational programs for "active seniors" - those who attend classes at school campuses or senior centers - will be maintained at some locations.
"We are trying to serve as many students as we can," said Carlynn Huddleston, principal of Kennedy-San Fernando Adult School. "We just feel that many of the residential facilities already have (educational) programs provided by those facilities that can meet the needs of those residents."
Operators of senior centers and residential facilities say they will continue with their own educational classes as part of their activities programs.
"We have anticipated these cuts, and we're going to survive just fine by putting other alternatives in place," said Larry Lisonbee, director of ONEGeneration Senior Enrichment Center in Reseda.
A mind is such a terrible thing to waste.
Having said that, how many minds and billions has LAUSD squandered? .. using the past proceeds from folks they now stiff.
Decimate the membership of the teachers unions and you will have the money.
No offense to folks but adult ed it a “nice to have.”
Other than those returning to get their GED or HS degree, it is fluff. If you want to expand your mind — PAY FOR IT.
CA taxpayers are currently taxed for $159M/year, so retired lawyers can go to hobby schools? WTF? They can’t start a free book club?
This seems like the perfect thing for a CHARITY to do. They would do it better and probably cheaper.
What the LAUSD should do is exclude illegal immigrants, since their parents don’t pay taxes maybe that’s why the district is in the red.
It really is breathtaking, how much “responsibility” these various divisions of government think they must shoulder for The People.
The last thing these school districts should do before (gasp) shutting down every last one of these “adult education” programs, if they can’t resist one last spending spree, is to mail a current catalog from The Learning Annex to their adult education students.
This IS sad. However, older people with education and skills can form classes on their own and teach one another. Beats sitting around reading the LA Times.
Come to think of it, the Times can be shredded, mixed with flour and water, and used for papier mache craft projects. You don’t really need a teacher for stuff like that, just a book from the library.
Oh wait. They’ve all been stolen? The library’s closed?
“”We will no longer have the intellectual stimulation these classes have provided,” said the retired lawyer.”
Then get off your ‘I’m entitled’ butt and teach yourself something instead of demanding the tax payers do it! Enough all ready!
Those old people are all going to die anyway, when the nationalized health care takes over.
So, not only will there not be nearly as many older folks around to say "BS!" when some Socialist snotnose professor twists history, the ones who did can be declared "depressed" and drugged if they can no longer attend classes? (Is that where this is going, or is it maybe that providing education for illegals has gutted budgets? )
As a very pro-education person, I just can’t fathom the thought that this district is enrichment-educating adults. That is not part of their mission. At most, a GED program could be offered.
If governments would stop doing stuff like this when the economy is good, then they won’t have to anger people by cutting them when things are bad. Why don’t they get this simple principle???
This amazes me. I’m not opposed to using empty schools at night and volunteers for these classes, but to build separate buildings and pay salaries is just too much. Presumably these people have worked or are working, so they should have to pay.