Another Response from an Expert on the Child Development Program

HWC Superstar and Child Development faculty member Jen Asimow has, in the spirit of her colleague’s thoughtful and excellent response to the initial meeting and announcement of the “plan,” has taken some time to detail her thoughts about the official announcement through annotation of that announcement. You’ll find her writing in italics. She asked me to post it here, and I am happy to oblige.

As a member of the Child Development faculty at Harold Washington College, I am writing this response to the following announcement.  My comments are in blue italics after each section.

This response is not meant in any way to be disrespectful to the writer of this announcement.  We know that the administration of CCC work under very different conditions than faculty and cannot possibly say what they want or believe.  They serve at the “largesse” of the Chancellor, so they can in no way speak out against her or the people who work for her.  I have absolutely no doubt that the administrators at any of the affected campuses do not think that this decision is a good idea, do not believe that it serves students, or that it will be good now or in the future for the City Colleges as a whole. 

 

Faculty and staff:

We are writing to inform you about important changes in City Colleges of Chicago (CCC)’s Child Development and Education programs as we continue the implementation of the College to Careers (C2C) initiative.

Background:  City Colleges’ C2C initiative is designed to ensure our educational programs fully prepare students for the demands of employers and transfer universities so they can seize one of the more than 600,000 jobs coming to the Chicago region in high-demand careers over the next decade.  We do this through partnerships with employers and four-year universities who not only help design our programs but also provide our students with internships, employment and transfer opportunities.  Additionally, we ensure our curriculum is relevant to real-world expectations, and we invest in faculty and staff, equipment and facilities to make sure students have access to the best education available.

 

The City Colleges has for years (its entire existence prior to Reinvention and the C2C initiative) committed itself to investing in faculty and staff, equipment and facilities to ensure that students have the best education possible.  This is not new to this initiative and the insinuation is misleading and unfair to all of those who spent their careers working for City College’s students in years past.  In addition, partnerships with four-year universities have existed since the beginning as well. This is nothing new.  In Child Development, we have forged partnerships throughout the city and surrounding areas over the years, by ourselves, without the help or support of district initiatives.

 

Each of our seven colleges serves as the official home for a C2C focus area. Last year, Harry S Truman College was designated as the C2C hub for Education, Human and Natural Sciences.

Action:  There will be a phased transition of Child Development and Education programs to Harry S Truman College.

Rationale: To better serve students by bringing together district wide faculty and staff under one roof, into one hub.   Specifically:

  • Consolidate our investments and gain efficiencies to better support our students.

 

I do not know how this is more “efficient.” Since when is asking people, both faculty and students, to spend more time commuting, efficient?  Consolidation is not a good thing either.  It minimizes diversity of thought, which is necessary to move systems forward. It centralizes talent, rather than spreading it out where it is needed and it takes access away from the vast majority of communities in our city.  I am not sure what “consolidate our investments” means.  The only district investment in the Child Development Program is the faculty.  Unlike nursing, or the medical degrees which require expensive laboratories and equipment, the cost of the Child Development program is no different if we are all at one campus or several.  Yes, we are all accredited, which has an additional cost, but national accreditation is an investment in the programs that is minimal.  Consolidating us as people is a terrible idea.  Cutting off our ability to work in communities where our students live and learn does not gain efficiency and it most definitely does not better support our students.  In fact, it does exactly the opposite.

 

  • Concentrate our resources to provide students with access to excellent facilities and strong partners.  The partner list includes: Chicago Public Schools, Jewish Council for Youth Services, and Christopher House, who are among the nearly 50 employer partners who have hired CCC students for education-related jobs this fiscal year.  Some of our transfer partners in Education include: University of Illinois at Chicago, National Louis University and others.

 

The entire paragraph above is misleading.  In my opinion, the facility at Truman is far from excellent, relative to the relatively new campus at HWC, KK, and soon-to-be open M).  Currently the Truman campus is fine, much like the old MX; the bathrooms could use an update, and the child development lab school should probably be completely rebuilt. They currently do not have a wonderful teaching lab, as we do at HWC.  Perhaps there are plans for updating Truman College.  I am not sure about that and I would welcome that if we were to move there.  However, in its current state, it is not the excellent facility they are claiming it to be.

The “partnerships” described above are also not quite accurate.  Over the past 15 years at HWC, I have developed partners with 10 times the few mentioned above.  Each of the 5 affected campuses has done the same.  What will happen is that all of those wonderful partnerships will dissolve, and only those few partnerships on the north side will remain. 

The transfer partner list is also extremely misleading.  Over the past 2 years, several of the Child Development faculty, myself included, has worked on articulation agreements with four-year universities.  This work was funded by the Early Learning Challenge Grant, which came to higher ed in Illinois via Race to the Top funds.  The district office agreed to allow us to partner with these universities, and signed MOUs about our involvement. The new partnership with UIC is the result of 15 years of my work with UIC.  That work was between HWC and UIC, even though we all agreed that any agreements would be for all of the colleges (the more the merrier!)  To insinuate that this partnership has anything to do with the consolidation with Truman College is false.  Our relationship with National-Louis has existed far longer than my tenure at CCC.  What isn’t mentioned is that Daley College worked for the past 2 years to develop a partnership with Xavier College.  Now that partnership is signed, it is essentially useless, as Xavier chose Daley because of its proximity.  This is also true for a partnership with Roosevelt and HWC.  Again, the work was based on proximity to local campuses.  To claim that these partnerships have anything to do with this decision is false.

Here is a current list of my child care partnerships at HWC:

Cook County Child Care Center

Concordia Place

Rainbow Daycare

Loop Learning Center

YMCA of Evanston

Carole Robsertson Center for Learning

Taylor Center

The Children’s Center

Downtown Learning Center

Marcy Newberry Association

Paolo Freire Center

Chicago Public School

State of Illinois Child Care Center

St. Vincent de Paul

The Nia Center

Guadalupano Child Care Center

Chinese American Service League

Christopher House

Bridgeport Child Development Center

Children’s Home and Aid Society

The list goes on and on.  These are just a few off the top of my head. This is a much more interesting list than the partial list provided in the announcement.  . These partnerships span the city, serve diverse populations, and provide on-site field placements for our students.  Now multiply that list by 5 and that is what is being lost at the expense of this consolidation

 

Child Development and Education Programs Transition

Beginning in the fall of 2016, Harry S Truman College will house City Colleges’ Child Development and Education programs as part of its College to Careers emphasis on education, human and natural sciences.

  • Programs transitioning to Truman are:

o   Basic Certificate (BC) in Child Development Pre-school

o   Basic Certificate (BC) in Family Child Care Business

o   Advanced Certificate (AC) in Child Development Pre-school

o   Advanced Certificate (AC) in Child Development and Infant Toddler

o   Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Child Development Pre-school

  • Additionally, the BC, AC, and AAS in Social Work will be consolidated over time into a new AA (transfer pathway) in Social Work to be offered at Truman College, because the industry is moving to requiring a bachelor’s degree so this will help ensure our students have a credential that corresponds to job market demands.
  • Students enrolled in Child Development and Education at Daley, Harold Washington, Kennedy-King, Malcolm X and Olive-Harvey Colleges will continue their programs at their current colleges through the end of the spring 2016 semester.
  • New incoming students will be able to begin their Child Development and Education programs studies at Truman College for the fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters.

 

Should we send them there? 

 

  • At the end of spring 2016, all students in Child Development and Education at Daley, Harold Washington, Kennedy-King, Malcolm X, and Olive-Harvey Colleges who have not completed their Child Development certificate or degree must transition to Truman College to complete their program. Students should work with their advisor at the beginning of the spring 2016 semester to plan for this transition.

 

It is my understanding that as a part of a legitimate “teach out” and “sun setting” of programs, HLC requires adequate time for students to complete their program or certificate.  I am confident that means that students who enrolled this summer, before the announcement at any of the affected campuses, have more time than what is indicated above..  Forcing them to move earlier is contrary to our accreditation. For more information about a Teach-Out Plan, see: http://policy.hlcommission.org/Federal-Regulation/approval-of-teach-out-arrangements.html?highlight=WyJ0ZWFjaCIsIm91dCIsInRlYWNoIG91dCJd

 

  • Child Development 101 and 102 will continue to be offered as part of the Addiction Studies pathway at Kennedy-King College and the Occupational Therapy Assistant pathway at Malcolm X College.

 

This is one of those decisions that remind us of how little the district understands our work.  The Human Development series is a much sought-after requirement for many programs and for transfer.  Limiting access to these courses will result in students having to go elsewhere for these prerequisites into Nursing School, Med School, Physical Therapy School, etc.  Here, I am not referring to the programs that will be available at MX.

 

No faculty or staff positions will be eliminated as a result of this change.

 

This too, is a very simplistic view with a lot of “maybes” and “best-case scenarios.”  I know that the focus here is not about the adjunct faculty, but we at HWC have adjuncts who have served our students for almost as long as I have and longer than both of the other full-time faculty members.  They bring their expertise to the classroom as professionals who are on the front lines, in the field.  This loss is monumental. 

However, I believe that the above statement refers to full-time faculty.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.  We currently have 16 full-time Child Development faculty members.  In order to have enough classes so that each of us can teach a full load, Truman will have to grow exponentially in the next year. 

This semester, Truman College is offering 23 sections of Child Development Courses = 81 credits. This is the equivalent of just about 5 full-time faculty.

In order to keep us all, they will have to fill about 80 sections of Child Development Courses. = 240 credits.

This is fifth grade math.  Even I can do it.  It is clear that there will be RIFs, so saying that there will not is their way of keeping everyone calm. Of course, the first to go will be the handful of untenured faculty in the program.  What a loss.

Now, let’s look at this another way.  This semester Olive-Harvey is offering 17 sections of Child Development Courses.  If those courses fill at a 60% rate, they will have about 400 child development students this semester.  Now, let’s assume that a rather large number of these are duplicated students (sitting in more than 1 child development class).  If we consider that about half are duplicated, that leaves about 200 students who are in the Child Development program at Olive –Harvey this semester.  Those students also take English, Math, Humanities, Social Sciences, and so on.  If you take away their reason for going to Olive-Harvey, Olive-Harvey’s enrollment will drop. Over the long term, this could mean the loss of jobs in every department.  This is not an extreme view or a conspiratorial one; it is simply a fact.  Everyone should sit up and take notice of this.  This isn’t just about Child Development.  It is about education for all in an institution that is supposed to be serving all.

 

 

All locations are accessible through public transportation, the CCC shuttle service, or both, so students should be able to access the campus no matter where they are coming from. The Truman campus is easily accessible by the CTA Red Line – it comes right to Truman’s doorstep – and the CTA 78-Montrose bus line as well as being within a short walking distance of other bus routes.

 

This is where the rubber meets the road (excuse the pun).  There is NO WAY that the busing system provided by CCC or the CTA can make this happen.

If you look at the CCC website under Shuttle Service, you will see how the current schedule and routes move and how they currently don’t even serve to Truman College.  There are some that go to the Red Line, which goes to Truman, and perhaps there is a plan to develop a more comprehensive busing system to unnecessarily move students around the city, but as of today, the Shuttle Service does not address the needs of students who are being forced to “consolidate.”

So, I moved on to the CTA. I just spent a couple of hours on their website and this is what I found.

Daley – Truman16.9 Miles In order to arrive at Truman by 6:30 Take 2 buses and a train Cost $4.50 Total Travel Time = 1 hr. and 28 minutes
Daley – Truman16.9 Miles In order to arrive at Truman by 9:30 Take 2 buses and a train Cost $4.50 Total Travel Time = 1 hr. and 26 minutes
Olive-Harvey – Truman19.2 miles In order to arrive at Truman by 6:30 Take 2 buses and a train Cost $4.50 Total Travel Time = 1 hr. and 28 minutes
Olive-Harvey – Truman19.2 miles In order to arrive at Truman by 9:30 Take 2 buses and a train Cost $4.50 Total Travel Time = 1 hr. and 24 minutes
HWC – Truman College5.9 miles In order to arrive at Truman by 6:30 Take 1 train Cost $2.25 Total Travel Time = 29 minutes
HWC – Truman College5.9 miles In order to arrive at Truman by 9:30 Take 1 train Cost $2.25 Total Travel Time = 29 minutes
Malcolm X – Truman College8.7 miles In order to arrive at Truman by 6:30 Take 2 trains Cost $4.50 Total Travel Time = 54 minutes
Malcolm X – Truman College8.7 miles In order to arrive at Truman by 9:30 Take 2 trains Cost $4.50 Total Travel Time = 53 minutes
Kennedy King – Truman College14 miles In order to arrive at Truman by 6:30 Take 1 train Cost $ 2.25 Total Travel Time = 55 minutes
Kennedy King – Truman College14 miles In order to arrive at Truman by 9:30 Take 1 train Cost $ 2.25 Total Travel Time = 55 minutes

 

I chose 9:30 and 6PM as arrival times for Truman as those are the most traditional times classes are offered for day and evening students.  These are just examples, but you understand our concern. 

-If a student leaves work at 5 PM (not unusual for a working person) and wants to get to a 6PM class, it will be impossible if that student is near Daley or OH.  It will be nearly impossible if that student is coming from MX or KK.  If that student is coming from HWC, she might make it.  All of these calculations are based on students who are already on these campuses.  Most students will be coming from other places.  This will add time to their commutes.  The above CTA calculations are “best-case scenario.”  I have been commuting on the CTA for my entire adult life.  If the schedule says that I need 38 minutes for my commute, I plan at least an hour.  We all know this to be true.  This is ALL dependent on the buses and the trains running on schedule, that the student does not need to eat or go to the bathroom, or attend to any other adult life responsibilities.

-Students who attend morning classes will no longer be able to get their own children safely to school.  There won’t be enough time.

-Students who attend afternoon classes will not be able to get back into their own neighborhoods to pick up their children from school.  There won’t be enough time.

-Students will have to pay for additional childcare for their own children so the extra hours required to travel to and from school are covered.

-This “consolidation” will force students to spend less time with their own families, at work, or doing homework.

 

It is my belief that this model is untenable.  These students will not be able to make this transition and the City Colleges will lose them. 

Moreover, the city will lose good people who want to become teachers, but won’t be able to because of the aforementioned (and many other) problems.

 

This transition represents a unique opportunity for all our Child Development students, faculty and staff to be associated with best-in-class programs, helping to ensure all students are prepared to reach their goals – whether those goals are to transfer to a four-year university or to move immediately into an in-demand career.

 

This is not an opportunity, nor is it unique (do you remember the Nursing consolidation?)  This is a loss of opportunity.  There is nothing in this plan that improves our already accredited and excellent programs.  It reduces them.

We have been helping students reach their goals for years and years.  Don’t insinuate that this is somehow an improvement – it is not.

 

A similar communication has been shared with students.  A list of Frequently Asked Questions is attached to this email.

 

For any additional questions about this transition, please contact Peggy Korellis, Dean of C2C at Truman College, pkorellis@ccc.edu or 773-907-4321.

 

For questions or concerns about my responses, please feel free to contact me at Asimow@sbcglobal.net.

 

 

11 thoughts on “Another Response from an Expert on the Child Development Program

    • That’s great, Jennifer! Fred Klonsky’s blog will be a huge help in getting the word out about this to a much wider audience. Love the map, too. Well done

  1. Thank you Jen for writing this. I would like a written response from the District administration.

  2. An eloquent response from someone who clearly has a clear understanding of students being served and their needs.

  3. Isn’t this all true for all the programs being “sunset” and phased out? I think our mistake as faculty has been that we didn’t fight or try to stop them at the beginning of reinvention. It’s just snow-balled now and it seems that in order for the argument to work for one program, it needs to work for all. Otherwise, no faculty member and no program will be exempt from this.

  4. Thank you for your responses, both here and in my personal email. It is clear from what I am hearing here, and via the petition, that there is agreement throughout the city, that this is a disastrous decision.

    Just to clarify…
    I had one reader ask about the cost of the CTA trips. I also thought the numbers were wrong, but I used the CTA Route Planner to gather all of the information, and this is what they said he trip would cost. Of course, in the city that works, I expected the site to work. Regardless, the trip may be $2.25, $2.50, or more depending on transfers, etc., but according to the website, the costs indicated are accurate. Go figure.

    I also think it is important to note that those times and costs are ONE WAY. Imagine spending 3 hours round trip to attend a course? Would you do it? Would you expect your children to do it? Your mom? Your brother? Do you think Rahm would put his children on the CTA at 5 PM to travel an hour and a half, to take a class, and then travel back for an hour and a half? I don’t think so. Even if his driver were to take his children to school across the city….

    I also understand at this point, Truman does not even have the needed space /classroom to accommodate the coming changes. Is it a horse/cart scenario, or a “if you build it, they will come” scenario. Time will tell.

    Let’s keep talking about this. Engaging in an academic dialog about these issues is what we do best. I would love it if the district would engage with us.
    Jen

  5. Jen, I think what you wrote was an excellent response to that special announcement. Did you send it to anyone specific at District? I would be interested to hear if they actually responded. Besides posting the petition, please let us know what else we can do to support Child Development!

    • We didn’t send it to anyone at District. I know that there are several administrators who have read it, but this was written directly to faculty who received the original announcement. I felt that it merited some explanation from the Child Development side, especially since the people who made this decision are not content experts and have no experience in our profession.

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