June 21, 2013

Letters to the editor: Adult students need single, central school

I hope the Portland Adult Education program can be settled into one central and great place. The city must do everything in its power, and then some, to maintain and support Portland Adult Ed! It is one of the brightest lights in local education.

click image to enlarge

Students Nyareath Reath, front, and Steve Wich take part in an English language class at Portland Adult Education in 2007. The West School, which has housed the program for 27 years, is scheduled to be shut down at the end of this month. City school officials are still working out arrangements to relocate the program.

2007 File Photo/John Ewing

Unemployed, I decided at 54 years old to return to school and get my degree. There were two glaring obstacles: a learning disability and math.

I enrolled in Southern Maine Community College in 2010. Developmental math classes there cost the same as a credit course -- for no credit. I opted instead to go to Portland Adult Ed. It was the best decision I could have made.

I needed to go way back to the basics of fractions, etc,. first. I also needed algebra and, depending on how I did in that first algebra class, would need a second one to pass the Accuplacer, which would make me eligible for a basic college math class.

After Algebra A, I took the second part and scored a 50. I needed a 67. The head of the math program told me if I took her one-on-one course, she could get me there. (She was amazing and is about to retire -- a major loss for Portland Adult Ed.) I took and passed the second part three weeks early with a whopping 83!

I worked hard, but I could not have done it without Pam Meader, Minh Canfield and Portland Adult Ed. The classes are small and intimate, you get more time and attention out of the instructors and it is far less expensive than a noncredit class at a college. The multicultural experience was so rich, too.

I did well in a college math class, earned my associate degree last year and am now a senior at the University of Southern Maine. My bachelor's degree is within reach at 58 years old!

Lucie Tardif


Re: "Portland Adult Education loses its home" (June 13):

Portland Adult Education has provided education for adult learners since 1849. It now needs a new home because its present facility is in disrepair and is uninhabitable.

The solution has been posed to split a facility into two locations. This would make effective operation difficult because lack of a central place would eliminate important interaction between students, faculty and administration.

By not supporting the need for a central facility, it implies to all constituencies a lack of respect for a program that has ably served some 2,500 adult learners annually.

I volunteer in classes for learners of English, and I believe in new beginnings.

These students are diligent, eager and appreciative individuals who all have difficult lives and have come to Portland to create new possibilities for themselves.

I am saddened to think that the city of Portland cannot create an effective place of learning for these deserving students whose voices are not being heard. Somebody, somewhere, please find them a home!

Anne Russell


Call for quiet in restaurants clamps down on public fun

Regarding the letter from Phyllis Kamin ("Restaurants must contain volume to retain patrons," June 13), just let me say how right she is.

Loud phone conversations are bad enough, but I've had it with people going out to eat and having a good time. If a restaurant can't keep the noise level down with some well-placed signs admonishing patrons to keep their boisterous conversations and peals of laughter to a civilized level, they should be removed.

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