Topic: Higher Education

President’s Proposed Education Budget Assessed

First of all, the big picture looks good. For example, the president proposes substantial funding to save and create jobs for education employees, to help make higher education affordable, and to support community colleges’ efforts to prepare students for careers. The down side:  proposed competitive grants for universities that would inject flawed Race to the Top efficiency metrics into higher...

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Scathing Report on Texas Curriculum Guidelines for U.S. History Courses

Earlier this month university history professors issued a scathing report, commissioned by the Texas Higher Education Board, on the recently adopted curriculum guidelines for the teaching of history in Texas high schools. (You will find the report here: http://txfacultycollaboratives.org/images/stories/assets/documents/SocStudies_docs/Bridging_the_Gap.pdf.) Led by Professor Keith Erekson of the University of Texas at El Paso, the authors of this report found a major...

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State Board of Education Notes—Testing, Testing

The State Board of Education meetings in Austin last week featured a noteworthy discussion relating to the new testing regime for state accountability, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR).  Board member Thomas Ratliff, Republican of Mount Pleasant, aired a proposal to restore some local control over the weight given in grading to state-mandated end-of-course exams, which are...

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Nominate An Everyday Hero

Do you know an AFT member who makes a difference every day with an unwavering commitment to his or her work or community?  This Thanksgiving, say “thanks” by nominating that person to be a 2012 AFT Everyday Hero at www.aft.org/everydayheroes. Too often, AFT members’ good deeds and dedication to their professions and communities go unnoticed. Here is an opportunity to...

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Heads Up: Scholarships Available for Union Families

With the state of Texas severely cutting financial aid for college students, working families need all the help they can get to realize the dream of higher education. Under these circumstances, it is well worth your while to learn about two union scholarship programs that are now taking applications. The first one, the national 2012 Union Plus Scholarship program, offers...

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Higher-Ed Accountability—Doing to Higher Ed What They’ve Done to K-12?

Some of the same folks who have helped make K-12 accountability in Texas so excessively dependent on simplistic metrics of achievement are looking to do a similar disservice to our state’s institutions of higher education. The Texas Public Policy Foundation, for example, an Austin-based right-wing think tank, has been pushing an approach to “productivity” in higher education—embraced by Gov. Rick...

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U.S. Higher Education: High Quality Undercut by Disinvestment

Sometimes it seems as if the powers that be are committed to a policy of disinvestment in higher education.  Here in Texas we have just entered a new two-year budget period in which the Texas legislature and governor have eliminated 43,000 college scholarships from the main state program of college grants that are intended to make higher education affordable for...

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State Legislative Hearings on Higher Education Coming Up

At a time of high controversy over appropriate measures of performance by state colleges and universities, two state legislative committees will get involved in the debate via interim hearings over the next few weeks. The Texas House Higher Education Committee will hold an interim hearing next Wednesday, August 31, “to discuss matters pertaining to higher education, including an update on...

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New Move to Find “Non-Tax” Revenue in Texas Senate Education; Commissioner Eases Path for Districts to Use Fund Reserves

New Move in Senate to Scrape up More Revenue: The San Antonio Express-News reports that action is afoot in the state Senate to find $5 billion in additional revenue to reduce proposed budget cuts for education and health care in 2012-2013. At the behest of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, a subcommittee on "fiscal matters" to be named Monday will be...

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Players Assume Their Positions—Texas Senate Committees Named

The pace on the Senate side of the capitol rotunda will be picking up now that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the Senate’s presiding officer, has finished parceling out committee assignments. Two panels of great importance to Texas AFT members are the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Higher Education Committee. Here are Lt. Gov. Dewhurst’s appointees to each: Senate Education...

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One Last Try for the DREAM Act

A key bill left for dead last week has undergone a resurrection, thanks to quick action by grass-roots advocates and their allies in Congress. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the DREAM Act again as a brand-new bill—one that would gives thousands of immigrant children access to the higher education they need to contribute to our society. The latest...

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AFT Stance on Issues in Higher Education

At its meeting earlier in October, the AFT executive council took up and passed four noteworthy higher-education policy resolutions recommended by committees at the AFT convention in July. The resolution on "Supporting Increased Federal Investment in College and University Instruction" recognizes important investments in higher education made by the current administration and Congress in the last two years. It calls...

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