Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Have you written Martha yet?

Write Martha Kantner, Under Secretary of Education and former adjunct, that is. In her IHE comment and on the adj-l listserv, Betsy Smith urges adjunct faculty to write Martha Kanter about living as an adjunct.

Speaking at the Saturday lunch, Martha Kantner, also a former adjunct, assured all present that she reads all of her e-mail personally - and gave her e-mail address. I know of at least one that she has read and answered.  As Raye Robertson at the The Adjunct Voice might say, It's good to have a voice.

if you haven't written yet, go to the Inside Higher Education article about adjunct issues at the 2010 NEA/AFT higher ed conference in San Jose. To get the email address, scroll down to Comments or just text search the page for "Write Martha Kantner."  Then write Martha. Betsy encourages members of the Contingent Faculty listserv to cc If you prefer the contents of your letter to remain private, that's your choice, but do let your letter be counted.

The more letters written, the better: the louder; the clearer and the more polyphonic the adjunct voice, the better ~ whether from individuals or representing groups. 


  1. not me; going to the feds for help on this
    you might as well go to mcgraw-hill or
    some megabank and get it over with.
    these guys like it this way or anyway
    they designed it this way. my "voice"
    is easy enough to find... here's
    the triage lecture
    from last year... but letters-to-political-appointees?
    to be sorted into yes/no piles by some underemployed
    volunteer and then not even recycled when the
    bogus numbers they've already made up get
    forwarded to the secretary of the undersecretary?
    who rightly believes that their boss doesn't want
    their mind changed on this or any other issue
    and rightly believes that if anything interesting
    happens today it'll be their ass? what the devil *for*?

  2. Why? Why not? You can believe letter writing a useless endeavor, but you can't really know for sure. I expect a higher level of rationality and less assumption jumping from a mathie.

    No matter how likely or unlikely, one thing is dead cert: you can't be counted let alone heard unless you speak out.

    This is not a no-tilting-at-windmills zone. Give it a try too. It won't even cost you a stamp or a trip to the P.O. and can be done in the time it took you to rant this, less if all you do is send that link.

    By the way, Kanter may be a political appointee, but she is also an experienced educator with real teaching time in the K-12 trenches before moving to community colleges. Adjuncts teaching under her administration have good things to say about her... that she is fair, listens, works with adjuncts, promotes from within.

  3. Hello, r.r. -- as I see it, there are solutions that might...just might...come from afar, and as colleges hear of these, they will want to jump on the bandwagon. We are facing very bad economic times. I'm not sure that busloads of adjuncts in D.C. wearing regalia is not such a bad idea...a very, very civil protest.

  4. I received no response from Dr. Kanter. Is this the norm for official these days?

  5. I'm sorry to hear that. Although silence from officials may not be uncommon, everyone one I heard from who wrote got an answer. Several, like Raye at the The Adjunct Voice. More were published on the adj-l list.

    Possibly the "write me" invitation was of limited duration rather than indefinite, open-ended. Still, an invitation is an invitation. Conditions and limitations should have been stated.

    Your experience compels me to write. I'll keep you posted. If you try again, keep us posted.


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