Congratulations to Jason Cadeau on completing his adult grade 12 graduation at the Salmon Arm Storefront. See the inspiring Observer article Determination conquers challenges (Brouwer: June 19 2013).
Jason’s determination and success are to be commended and the great support offered by the staff at Salmon Arm Storefront is what they do… day in and day out!
Each year, storefront programs (there are programs in Armstrong, Enderby and Sicamous as well) provide the opportunity and the support for adults, young and older, to move forward with their educational goals and dreams.
Amidst this good news story though is major bad news. The storefront programs in the district – which provide community-based programming for local residents – will be cut back by 70% 0r so starting in the next school year.
Why? Changes in funding by the provincial government are having major provincial-wide implications for adult education programs everywhere. Additionally, the decisions by the local school board have exacerbated the problem.
The end result? Adult learners in our communities will now have increased barriers to education in front of them because of decreased access to educational programming appropriate to their needs. All of this at a time when the need for upgrading and training is espoused by the politicos, businesses, community organizations and indeed adult students themselves.
What to do? While the aspects are complex, this is mainly an issue of allocation of funding and it won’t change if individuals and communities don’t speak up and don’t blindly accept the current self-serving political spin.
Hard questions need to be asked by communities and learners alike.
Ask your MLA why funding isn’t representative of local adult upgrading needs. Ask your local trustee why educational opportunities for adults are a diminished part of the district’s educational mission for all learners. Ask them all what exactly they are doing and plan to do to address these needs … and keep on asking them.
Finally, ask yourselves about how important the access to relevant and appropriate educational options is for you and your community.
If you don’t continue to use it and advocate for it, you may indeed lose even the last remaining bit of it!