Topic: Higher Education

Texas House Committees–Public Education, Pensions, Higher Ed Will Be Key

House Speaker Joe Straus III, Republican of San Antonio, announced the rosters of House committees today. Three of the most important for Texas AFT members are the Public Education Committee, the Pensions Committee, and the Higher Education Committee. Those of you who reside in the home districts of legislators on these panels will have an outsized role to play in...

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Texas AFT Backs Funding for Community Colleges, Financial Aid for Aspiring Teachers

In testimony on September 24 before the budget-writing staff of the legislature and the governor, Texas AFT legislative counsel Patty Quinzi urged a renewed commitment by the state to funding for community colleges and for financial aid to aspiring teachers, particularly from among the ranks of experienced classroom paraprofessionals. Community colleges now account for more than half of public higher-education...

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Restoring Scholarships for Educational Aides to Earn Teaching Degrees is a Top Texas AFT Priority

Texas AFT legislative counsel Patty Quinzi urged the Texas Senate Higher Education Committee today to help restore funding for one of the state’s most effective programs of teacher recruitment and retention—the tuition exemption for educational aides that since 1997 has made it possible for classroom paraprofessionals in large numbers to receive state financial aid to pursue a bachelor’s degree leading...

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AFT’s Answer to Attacks on Public Education, Public Services: “Solution-Driven Unionism”

AFT President Randi Weingarten kicked off the American Federation of Teachers national convention in Detroit on Friday with a call for “solution-driven unionism” that answers ongoing attacks on public education and public-sector workers with problem-solving policy initiatives of our own. “We need to act in innovative, creative, and new ways—simultaneously refuting our critics, advancing our values, connecting with community and...

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College Students Win Reprieve on Loan-Rate Hike

College students and their families got some good news at the end of June, as Congress finally passed a bill to stave off a doubling of the interest rate on federally subsidized college loans.  Instead of paying 6.8 percent interest on their loans, students will still be paying 3.4 percent at least for another year. The one-year freeze on the...

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Higher-Education Hearing Notes

The Senate Higher Education Committee on June 20 held a hearing to consider online learning and the related topics of developmental (a/k/a “remedial”) coursework and access issues affecting students with disabilities. Testimony submitted by Texas AFT stressed that educational quality, not financial gain, should guide policy determining when, where, and how distance learning is employed. Texas AFT legislative counsel Patty...

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Texas Senate Committee Will Study Online Higher Education and More

On June 20 the Senate Higher Education Committee will hear testimony on three issue areas, leading off with “the effectiveness of online learning and online coursework for underprepared students” as well as the cost and funding of online higher education. From there the committee will move on to a look at the effectiveness of delivery of developmental education programs “and...

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Romney Attacks Public Education, Teachers; AFT Responds

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten was quick to respond to an attack on public education this week by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. She writes: “He unveiled his proposals today and offered them up on a platter of rehashed rhetoric, failed initiatives, and the promotion of division over cooperation. “Instead of committing to ensure quality public education...

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Higher Education: “Soaring Rhetoric, Skyrocketing Costs”

Texas AFT members are intimately familiar with the adverse effect on educational opportunity of the soaring cost of a college education. We know how serious the problem has become, whether as borrowers ourselves to cover our own college costs, as family members scrambling to help the next generation earn a college degree, or as educators watching our students and their...

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Fight in Congress for Affordable College Loans Continues

The minority party in the U.S. Senate has turned use of the filibuster, a formerly extraordinary weapon requiring 60 votes to advance legislation, into a routine matter, causing gridlock on many bills that have majority support in the Senate and supermajority support from the American public. The latest casualty, at least for the moment, appears to be a student-loan bill...

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Doubling Student-Loan Rates, Hindering College Access: Have Your Say

College students are graduating in a rising sea of debt, with interest rates for federal student loans set to double from 3.4 to 6.8 percent on July 1 if no action is taken by Congress. The effect will be felt beyond current students and those about to enter college. It also will hurt families struggling to find a way to...

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