Quick, think "Adult Education."
What did you see?
Immigrants bent over books, learning English?
Yes, that's true.
That's part of Adult Education.
Adult Education is also seniors.
Older adults, some vital in mind, body and spirit, engaged, learning, teaching, sharing. Some frail in body but strong in mind. Others struggling cognitively, but with physical stamina. Still others, many others, dealing with their own challenges, while serving as caregivers for spouses, siblings, even parents.
Here is an example of the sorts of classes seniors can take through Adult Education programs, driving safety, brain fitness, computers, current events, among them.
And these recent articles point to why it is important seniors have access to such classes:
"Loneliness Lethal for Seniors - UCSF Study Says" - San Francisco Chronicle, June 2012.
"California - Many Ineligible for New Adult Day Care" - San Francisco Chronicle, July 2012.
As well as Herb Alonso's powerful testimony.
And yet, these programs, like all Adult Education programs, are threatened by cuts, cuts, and more cuts.
Who are we?
This question addresses not only who is served by Adult Education -
but who are we, the people, who make the choice to serve or not serve.
Who are we to think it is okay to neglect our elders?
Who are we to think it is okay not to pay back what they did for us?
Who are we to think we will not be seniors, ourselves, one day?
Who are we to think we have never received help from others and that we will not need help in the future?
Our elders have already helped us.
They built and paid for the excellent free-or-affordable-to-us public education many of us received.
They built and paid for the roads we drive on.
They built and paid for the aquaducts that transport the water we drink and the bridges over which needed goods are brought to us every day.
They raised us as people and as a state.
Now it's payback time.
Who are we to think it's not our debt to pay?