There’s only one solution for many of the challenges facing California — education, and not just for children, but especially for adults.

Fully 75 percent of prison inmates failed to finish high school. The children of parents with low literacy skills are 72 percent more likely to be illiterate themselves, get poor grades, disrupt classrooms, and drop out.

About 3.5 million California adults have no or few English language skills, while six million lack a high school diploma, leaving them unemployed or trapped in low-skill, low-pay, dead-end jobs.

Adult education is helping fix this, providing a way up for our immigrant communities, people in poverty, the homeless and inmates reentering society. We’re giving them the skills to succeed in the workplace, at home and in life — and that benefits all Californians by reducing the need for public assistance and more prison cells. We’re an important part of a better safety net.

Millions of Californians are changing their lives thanks to adult education, like the former gang member who’s now in college studying criminal justice, the immigrant couple who learned English to become citizens, the young woman who grew up working in the fields with her migrant parents, and is now the first in her family to graduate from college — and high school. These are real stories.

Here at Hacienda La Puente, twin sisters earned LVN degrees and are both now working — one with special needs children, the other in longterm care. They’re making California better.

We give adult Californians, especially those in our underserved communities, an opportunity to train for good-paying jobs, earn a high school diploma, study English and basic education, prepare for college, attend citizenship classes, and acquire the parenting skills to raise healthy children.

Moreover, our students learn in local schools offering flexible schedules to accommodate those who are working. And by putting classrooms to work in the evenings, we’re doubling their impact.

But as demand for adult education increases, funding isn’t keeping pace. While this year’s modest increase for the adult education block grant program was a good start, the Legislature needs to do more — to help more Californians learn their way into better lives.

This is an investment worth making.