Letter: Thanks to Denomy
I have worked as a part-time, adjunct ESL instructor for CMC, intermittently for many years. I so appreciated seeing the recent letter from CMC Board member Mary Ellen Denomy.
She reminds us that the college is funded by tax dollars. She talks about upcoming votes for bonuses and salary increases for faculty (I presume full-time) and staff, including the president. She does not believe that the president should “receive any more than the faculty and staff who keep our college great.”
She also notes that the budget contains items she disagrees with, “such as raising tuition on some of our most deserving students and increasing spending for projects that do not directly enhance the education of our students…”
Here’s what I see happening as an ESL teacher, or, the view from the frontlines:
First of all, we are losing our highly skilled, gracious program director and no one knows if she will be replaced or that position eliminated. She has done a terrific job and all ESL instructors deeply value her.
Also, tuition is going to be doubled at some point for ESL and GED Students, the most vulnerable and needy. Our students are also taxpayers and deserve to benefit from their tax dollars. Investing in them is a solid investment for the future. While it is true that there are nonprofit organizations in the valley doing good outreach work with this community, no English learning program can compare with the excellence, accessibility and depth of the CMC ESL and GED classes.
I just spent the better part of the last three years taking four required, intensive 45-hour Adult Basic ED Literacy classes required by the state and CMC. All ESL/GED instructors had to become certified as adult basic ed Instructors. These classes required 8-12 hours weekly resulting in unpaid work for months at a time, and a huge sacrifice for no increase in pay. We put ourselves through this process in order to continue to do the work we love with the adult student immigrant population that we are privileged to teach and learn from.
CMC in the meantime, to save money, shortened hours spent in the classroom and cut back a few weeks of the semester for these targeted classes. They also significantly reduced the pay of any instructor who subs for another. ESL instructors substitute for one another when needed. Any teacher will tell you that subbing in another teacher ‘s class for one session, is very challenging and requires a lot of preclass prep to communicate with the regular teacher, and post-class reporting on how it went. Now CMC has decided to pay the substitute teacher (who is highly experienced and certified) approximately only two-thirds of what they get paid as regular instructors.
It is no secret that the CMC ESL and GED programs do not make money for the college. But these measures are really hard to accept and understand, in particular when we see the top-heavy wages and bonuses at the upper levels of administration, much like a regular profit-making, top-heavy corporation.
So, I thank Mary Ellen Denomy for the public reminder that CMC “should use the money that our taxpayers have given us with the utmost care.”
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