Educators, former students, City and state officials, and others met in 2007-2008 to envision the future of adult education in New York City. One consensus was the need to keep our system and its many programs “student centered” (or, in some cases, to make them more student centered). Following the visioning process, the Mayor’s Office of Adult Education set out to better define what that might mean in practice. We engaged nearly 150 learners and their programs in a participatory research project to better understand students’ perspectives on the adult education system. The findings of this project are in the Student Voices Survey Report, or in the Student Voices Survey One Page summary.
From this work, the Mayor’s Office created the Transition to College Internship for student leaders and adult education alumni, focused on helping GED students to persist and plan for successful transition to college. The internship was a tremendous success: the interns were in high demand as motivational speakers and advisors, both locally and at several national conferences. The interns worked diligently for over a year to create a body of work that demonstrates the immediate potential of engaging learners as partners in the educational process.
In mid-2009, the Mayor’s Office expanded our work in this area by honoring 18 outstanding individuals with the Calvin Miles Award for Student Leadership. These student and recent alumni leaders worked together with “allies” from their programs to analyze priorities and opportunities for student leadership within the system. The Student Leadership in NYC report gives a good overview of the issues involved in promoting student leadership and demonstrates the value of participatory research and analysis involving adult learners, teachers, and program managers.
The Missing Piece is a new
documentary highlighting three initiatives in New York City that build on the
leadership potential of adult learners: The Mayor's Office Transition to College Internship (T2C), IMPACT and the Future Now GED Program at Bronx Community College, and the Adult Education Alumni Alliance.