Sunday, December 8, 2013

In Parting Shot, Bloomberg/Walcott Oversee Demise of Adult Ed

Thus the charge in an email document received from an anonymous source.

If Chancellor Walcott has sent the current Superintendent, Rose-Marie Mills, to the Office of Adult and Continuing Education in order to oversee its demise, she has been well chosen.  The policies she has instituted, and the many vice-principals she has brought with her, have nothing to do with Adult Education.  There is no awareness of or care for our students or the specific issues that they must face.  If, as the new supervisors tell us, the Danielson assessment is soon to be used in Adult Education, they should read what Danielson has to say about taking into consideration who the students are and the nature of the school and the class.

Considering monetary issues, classes are being cut and schedule changes are being implemented that directly affect the income of the program.  Since the program is paid for on a reimbursable basis, every class that is cut, and every person who is forced to leave before the end of a class because of schedule changes, costs the program money. Every senior, experienced teacher who finds herself with too few students to sustain a class is in danger of having that class closed, to the detriment of the students.  The students then leave, to the detriment of the program. The closed classes then become an excuse to cut the program further.

Why is this Superintendent, who is paid for by tax levy monies, unlike the teachers, as she boasts to staff, shrinking the number of classes?  Why is she spending scarce money for children’s books, at one end, or for recorded books that are entirely too difficult for our population on the other end?  Why has she chosen to purchase huge, unwieldy and impractical easels, when teachers need decent text books or access to copying services, or smaller classes?  Perhaps it is because she does not know and does not care who our population is.  Or is this merely another instance of the improper use of funds that caused the parents of District 19 to drive her out?  Ms. Mills consistently refers to the needs of the program as separate from the needs of the people it is supposed to serve, among them the parents of the P-12 students.  Ms. Mills boasts that she was specially selected for this job.  Why might that be?  Is it possible that her superiors do not want our population too well educated, so that they will be docile and will not cause trouble? 

That might explain why the teachers who should be preparing their students for the new High School Equivalency exam , the TASC, have been given no information as to what that exam is like.  Professional development time that could be profitably devoted to helping these teachers is spent on explications of the Common Core, which becomes vaguer every time it is explained, and in spite of the fact that Adult Education is exempt from the Common Core, since our tests are different from those of the P-12 students.

Teachers are demoralized. People suddenly hate to go to work.  Our twelve hour days, hard as they were, were manageable because the rewards of working with our students were great enough to overcome our exhaustion.  Now we all feel beset; we cannot concentrate on our students’ needs.  What a wonderful way to serve our population, who are already working the same twelve hour days as we are, after which they flog themselves into coming to class!  And what do they find?  Teachers who are not allowed to teach, or to answer their questions, because a schedule must be adhered to, and a certain objective must be met, never mind what the students are telling us that they need.  Thank you, Ms. Mills. Thank you, Mr. Walcott.  Thank you, Regents.


  1. It is very important that we monitor the change that is soon to come, even in these difficult times. The mayor elect has said that he does not want to put candidates for Chancellor on display. I believe he must be made to do exactly that! While all our problems will not disappear with Bloomberg, that new Chancellor will be able to set new policies and a new climate that will make working conditions better. Parents and teachers must have a voice in the process. I believe that we need to start a petition to select our new Chancellor.
    Who should we ask for? Diane Ravitch? Carol Burris? We need to make it clear that deformers are not welcome!

  2. Superintendent Mills has been a disaster for the Office of Adult and Continuing Education. This program used to be supervised by adult educators who not only cared about the adult student but knew something, after careers of decades, about how to educate urban poor, working poor, and disadvantaged adults in New York City. Ms. Mills has installed so many of "her" people, none of whom have a background in adult education, and has spent large sums of monies on supplies and materials for children. These expenditures are going to waste. Ms. Mills feels that she has been given the keys to the kingdom and can sit behind closed doors with no transparency as to the public monies she is spending on materials, some of which are disappearing or being diverted elsewhere.

    Ms. Mills, lacking any understanding of adult students and educators, is trying to impose the Common Core curriculum for children onto an adult education program that for years has been effective precisely because adult educators understand the diverse working, family and life experiences of our students and do not impose a one-size-fits-all approach where it doesn't belong. Perhaps Ms. Mills can use the Common Core curriculum to justify spending ever more sums of monies on the vendors she has a relationship with, at the expense of what used to be an excellent program serving tens of thousands of adults every year since the early sixties.

    The appointment of this superintendent in 2012 has proven to be a cruel and costly decision by the Department of Education and District 79 leadership. Had they wanted to destroy public adult education in NYC they could not have picked a more perfect saboteur.

  3. When administrators make decisions that are not informed by knowledge and concern for the growth ( academic, social, cultural, and economic) of the students they serve, they are doing a disservice to their students and to the larger society. As civil servants, they have been hired to serve. Why are their management (mismanagement) practices unexamined? In a constitutional system of checks and balances and in an era of overemphasis on student evaluations and teacher evaluations, why aren't administrators as strictly evaluated and held accountable for their serious errors in judgment (unfair teacher evaluations and mismanagement of funds) Adult Education is presently beleaguered with these woes.
    I implore you to take notice, Chancellor Farina.

  4. Well put. When administrators refuse to listen to teachers, the students' needs are not met. We are in desperate need of appropriate materials, and we need relevant, useful professional development.

  5. I'm a teacher. I am reading and agreeing. However I must make an observation about you all. In June 2014 you were all there with Mills on stage and Gibson behind her. You had an excellent opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder and give her a good tongue lashing in front of her superiors. You all said NOTHING when you had the chance to make her speak to this. NOTHING!!!!! I hoped someone would have had the guts to express this and then another and another. Could she fire everyone? You are tenured whiners who are not taking advantage of that shield. That's when you all should have forced her to answer to this. Stop being afraid and anonymous.


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