State supported higher education provides opportunities for children of working families to earn a degree and live a middle class life. State colleges and universities also provide workers opportunities to further their careers with affordable continuing education and certifications. Whether it is an early educator who wants to provide the best possible service for the children she cares for, or a recent high school graduate who isn’t sure yet what he wants to do for his career, Vermonters should have access to high quality, affordable higher education.
Vermont higher education faces the problem of chronic underfunding of its public postsecondary institutions that results in inadequate resources for instruction and academic support while creating an overreliance on tuition dollars. This problem has grown since a decision in the 1980s to pursue a "high tuition / high aid" approach for state funding, coupled with subsequent overall state disinvestment.
The Michigan House of Representatives, ignoring fierce opposition from the Democratic minority, passed a dead-of-night financial aid package for Detroit Public Schools that had been twisted into a partisan screed against Detroit teachers and school employees.
In her latest column appearing in the New York Times, AFT President Randi Weingarten writes about the looming teacher shortage our public schools face and how we can address the challenge before it turns into a crisis.
As it gathers momentum, the movement to organize graduate assistants could well overturn old policies barring private college and university graduate workers from unionizing, and pave the way for guaranteed workers' rights in the future.
In her most recent column appearing in the New York Times, AFT President Randi Weingarten talks about the need for our country to return to the kind of thoughtful yet passionate discourse and engagement in civic life that's been far too rare lately.