Last week, at a forum sponsored by the Windham Federation of Teachers and the state chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), parents, teachers and other local Windham residents met with State Senator Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-29) and State Representative Susan Johnson (D-49) to voice their outrage about the way “Special Master,” “Special Deal” Steven Adamowski has been undermining Windham’s schools.
Now the question is what are State Senator Williams and State Representative Johnson going to do about what they heard?
The “Special Master” law that Williams and Johnson sponsored was supposed to give Windham (and later New London) additional state support and resources.
Instead, “Special Master” Steven Adamowski has spent millions of dollars in state and local funds to push his corporate education reform industry agenda on the unsuspecting students, parents, teachers and citizens of Windham and New London.
Adamowski’s dictatorial and autocratic approach has angered parents, demoralized teachers, stunned local officials and left the schools in those two communities in chaos.
One of the most serious complaints has been Adamowski’s complete unwillingness to include parents, teachers and local officials in the decision making process.
Adamowski has repeatedly failed to follow Connecticut laws concerning the role of local school governance councils.
In Windham, Special Master Adamowski has completely mishandled the Windham Middle School “Turnaround” process. After months of work by a committee made up of local parents, teachers and administrators, Adamowski hijacked the process and demolished the locally grown plan by threatening Windham that it would not get state funds unless his proposals were substituted for the ones approved by the local committee.
When the committee balked at Adamowski’ effort, the Special Master, with the help and support of Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, threated to reject the plan leaving Windham without the funds it needed.
At the forum, Senator Williams and Representative Johnson also heard about Adamowski’s on-going efforts to reduce or eliminate bilingual and English Language Learner programs in Windham.
Both Windham and New London have seen an influx of families who use a language other than English as their primary language. Rather than rise to meet that challenge, Steven Adamowski has been forcing policy changes that teachers say are having a profoundly negative impact on students who need extra help to succeed in school.
Adamowski’s long list of failings has been well documented over the past two years.
What has also been well documented are the issues related to the way he has spent state funds.
Adamowski has spent upwards toward $2 million, almost all of it without utilizing appropriate competitive bidding processes.
Numerous consultants and companies that he has done business with in the past have benefited from his largess.
But nobody has benefited more than Adamowski himself.
During the past two years, Adamowski has collected a total salary of $450,000 plus full medical and dental insurance for both himself and his wife.
The state has also paid for his professional and general liability insurance plus a stipend to pay for his life and disability insurance policies.
In addition to his taxpayer-funded salary and benefit package, Adamowski was given 25 days of vacation time per year, 15 days of paid sick time per year and 3 days of paid personal time per year. Overall this means that in addition to all the paid holidays, Adamowski was able to use or accrue nearly nine weeks of paid time off each year…that is four and half months of paid time over during the contract period.
And to top things off, just this past August, Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor made Steven Adamowski a state employee. The move was made before the State Board of Education had even decided whether to continue the Special Master’s role and the job Adamowski was given was never posted nor did he have to go through any process to get the position.
At last week’s AFT forum, State Senator Williams and State Representative Johnson heard about all these issues and more.
But to reiterate the obvious, the question is now what are these legislators going to do to stop Adamowski from doing even more damage to their community’s schools.