Thursday, December 26, 2013
Will de Blasio's DOE rescue Adult Education from Superintendent Rose-marie Mills?
Sent to Ed Notes anonymously:
Laura Feijoo December 2013
New York City Department of Education
RE: Removal of superintendent Rosemary Mills
Dear Senior Superintendent Feijoo,
We in New York City adult education are perhaps very close to a tipping point in the relentless attack upon the morale of the instructors and support staff of the Office of Adult & Continuing Education programs and services. There will come a time in the near future when a room filled to capacity with OACE teachers and staff will express serious concerns about Superintendent Mills, and the numerous non-adult education administrators that she has brought in and imposed on this program in such a short time. We are heartened to see that more voices are beginning to surface (see attached internet article) and we request that this matter be addressed as soon as possible. While some of Ms. Mills’ questionable practices during her previous tenure at District 19 are known anecdotally, we want to be sure that this time there is a readily available paper trail documenting the issues.
In light of the increasing concerns regarding accountability in public education we respectfully request that this and all previous letters regarding the removal of Superintendent Mills be placed in her file. Someone in such a vital and critical role should be capable of facilitating, supporting, and understanding the needs of adult educators and by extension, the 40,000 students they serve year in and year out. This superintendent has demonstrated quite the opposite, alienating a vast majority of the personnel in this program and displaying little care, respect, or understanding for adult learners or adult educators and support staff.
Our concerns with regard to Superintendent Mills are numerous, but chief among them:
*A superintendent who has had zero experience in adult education, bombarding OACE teachers and staff under a with an increasing barrage of P-12 based policies, including obsessive preoccupation with Common Core standards and poorly aligned textbook and classroom resources. Not a single, veteran Instructional Facilitator within this program was consulted on the purchase of several hundred thousand dollars worth of books, resulting in a massive waste of money on materials that are not aligned with adult learners.
*An overbearing, punitive and unthinking approach to the closing of classes based upon a new policy of ADA 20 students, “or else”. Where did this number come from? Are there budgetary concerns because of the dramatically increased layers of administrative personnel that the superintendent has brought in to OACE in just one year, none of whom have had a single moment of adult education experience? There seems little appreciation for the realities of adult learners and their numerous life issues.
*Increasingly onerous, punitive and misguided workplace regulations governing:
· teachers leaving their room to use the bathroom or for any justifiable reason,
· Ever-increasing and redundant paperwork , increasingly data-driven mentality that sacrifices real teaching for mindless, rote, mis-aligned policies that do not serve adult students and demand increasing time and energy from teachers who have never had any prep time.
*Increasingly onerous, P-12 teacher assessment models and micro-managed lesson plan and preparation requirements that demand ever increasing time and resources, including a slavish devotion to one-size-fits all approach in the classroom, demonstrating little ability to think critically about adult learners and their educators.
*The elimination this year of any type of outside professional development towards the mandated annual PD hours, and in its stead, repetitive and redundant exposure to the Common Core standards and Danielson framework. These are adult students and we are adult teachers. Even P-12 schools are rejecting the Common Core. In past years teachers were afforded the flexibility to select meaningful professional development beyond the limited offerings of OACE.
*The sell-out of the Manhattan Adult Learning Center in Harlem to yet another Charter school co-location. Indeed, was Ms. Mills brought in to facilitate the shrinkage and eventual demise of the largest adult education program in the country, which every year serves 40,000 immigrants, parents, people of color, and hardworking adults seeking to improve English, High School equivalency, technical skills and certifications in an increasingly disparate city?
*An inability and unwillingness to engage in any type of meaningful dialogue with or respect for the decades of experience in adult education of the vast majority of instructors and support staff in this program.
We respectfully demand a change in leadership, one that will serve, facilitate, and honor the practices and successes of this long-standing adult education program, the largest adult education program in the country.
Let the Office of Adult & Continuing Education return to its primary goal of service to the community, not obsessive worship of state testing rubrics and P-12 Common Core standards which have little relevance to androgogy (pedagogy for adults).
When you have one of Ms. Mills’ hand-picked principals resigning in protest, you have ever-increasing evidence that her leadership is very problematic.
Ms. Mills seems to be of the opinion that she was specially selected to serve as Superintendent of the Office of Adult & Continuing Education. If this is so, we would respectfully ask who made the determination that this excellent program, which has served disadvantaged and deserving adults since the 1960’s, has been targeted for such morale-crushing, insensitive leadership?
In the spirit of accountability in education, we repeat our earlier simple request:
Please distribute a guaranteed anonymous survey to all administrators, educators, and support staff in this program in order to assess the performance of superintendent Rose Marie Mills. Leave room for comments.
Dr. Dorita Gibson, Deputy Chancellor
Carmen Farina, Mayor de Blasio transition team
Tara Colton, Executive Director, Mayor's Office of Adult Education
Dennis Walcott, Chancellor