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Yes! How about a progressive public education for New York City adults too?

opinion-editorial

By Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Deputy Chancellor Dorita Gibson | 2/21/2014, 12:03 p.m.
Dear Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Deputy Chancellor Dorita Gibson:
Bill de Blasio Photo by Bill Moore

Dear Mayor Bill de Blasio,

Mayor de Blasio, universal pre-K is essential. However, we cannot improve our pre-schoolers’ chances at a better future in school and life without also addressing their parents’ educational and career needs. How do we teachers at the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Adult and Continuing Education do that now that our program is under an administration that treats our program more like the military than a place to nurture educational growth? This administration, under Superintendent Rose-marie Mills, has little regard or respect for the teachers, support staff or adult students. Because of this, some people now refer to her as “Gen. Mills.”

One teacher refers to our current work environment as the “reign of terror.” Teachers and staff are relentlessly and systematically harassed in an intimidating and punitive manner. This superintendent and the 10 new central administration assistant principals she has hired have no experience or knowledge about adult education or second language acquisition. These positions cost over a million dollars per year while teachers and students go without appropriate classroom books and materials. This year, Mills spent thousands of dollars on books that are meant for young children in grades K-2, not adults. Do you think adults enjoy reading baby books about worms and rabbits? I think that is demeaning. Mills has an obsession with data and considers this over the well-being of students and staff. It’s a “gotcha” environment, Mayor de Blasio. Isn’t this what you publicly said you are opposed to? Mills has berated teachers for asking her questions, and she has refused to engage in any meaningful dialogue with our union reps. Everyone is petrified about retaliation because we have seen so many of our colleagues harassed and forced out of adult education. She has even ordered our principals to give unsatisfactory ratings to teachers. The only principal with morals quit rather than kowtow to her unethical demands.

Please, Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Fariña and Deputy Chancellor Gibson, we are counting on you to help us regain our dignity and help us give the adult students of New York City the education they deserve. To do that, we need materials and respect, and this superintendent doesn’t give us either. We give Mills an unsatisfactory rating for lowering morale and taking an incompetent approach to our adult education program, and we demand that she be replaced immediately!

Signed,

More Unhappy Adult Education Teachers