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Win for Community and Technical College Faculty Heads to Governor's Desk

March 14, 2018 | Washington News Service | Eric Tegethoff, Producer

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Community and technical college faculty scored a big win during this year's legislative session. Lawmakers passed Engrossed House Bill 1237 to allow faculty at these colleges to negotiate local wage increases through collective bargaining.

They were the only public-education employees prohibited from bargaining locally before this bill. [Read full story and hear audio version here.]

 

Critics to DeVos During Washington Visit: Policies Only Serve Wealthiest

October 13, 2017 | Washington News Service | Eric Tegethoff, Producer

BELLEVUE, Wash. – Protestors plan to greet Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in Bellevue today, where she is scheduled to speak at an annual fundraiser for the Washington Policy Center, a free-market think tank. 

The center says it invited DeVos to speak because she's one of the nation's top policy leaders and because of her support for charter schools and the so-called "school choice" movement. 

But Carl Livingston, a political science professor at Seattle Central College who will be speaking to protestors, says that policy tips the scales toward the country's wealthiest families. [read/hear full story]

Bill in Congress Would Make College Tuition Free

September 6, 2017 | Washington News Service | Eric Tegethoff, Producer

SEATTLE - The college year has started again, and for many students that means anxiety over debt is here again, too.

According to the Institute for College Access and Success, the class of 2015 in Washington state graduated with an average debt of $24,600. The College for All Act now in Congress aims to change that, making tuition for a four-year college free for students whose parents make less than $125,000 a year, and free for anyone attending a two-year community college.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., sponsor of the bill, said it is a practical and affordable plan. [read more]

 

Rescinding Loan-Protection Rule Leaves WA Students in Limbo

July 12, 2017 | Washington News Service | Eric Tegethoff, Producer
 
 
SEATTLE - Washington is one of 19 states suing U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for delaying a rule set to go into effect July 1 - a delay that has left many college students in limbo.
 
The rule was intended to help students who took out loans to attend for-profit colleges that ended up taking advantage of them through deceptive practices. Assistant state Attorney General Jeff Sprung said Corinthian Colleges, which closed in 2015, are an example of why the rule is needed, since students who attended still bear more than $380 million in loan debt. [full story]

A New Farm Worker Union is Born

Indigenous Oaxacan farm workers win themselves a union in the Pacific Northwest.

by David Bacon
June 26, 2017

Bob's Burgers and Brew, a hamburger joint at the Cook Road freeway exit on Interstate 5, about two hours north of Seattle, doesn’t look like a place where Pacific Northwest farm workers can change their lives, much less make some history. But on June 16, a half-dozen men in work clothes pulled tables together in Bob's outdoor seating area. Danny Weeden, general manager of Sakuma Brothers Farms, then joined them.

After exchanging polite greetings, Weeden opened four folders and handed around copies of a labor contract that had taken 16 sessions of negotiations to hammer out. As the signature pages were passed down the tables, each person signed. Weeden collected his copy and drove off; the workers remained long enough to cheer and take pictures with their fists in the air. Then they too left. [read full article]

In the Age of Trump, Can Labor Unite?

April 27, 2017 | IN THESE TIMES | BY ALEXANDRA BRADBURY
 
Donald Trump performed far better among union voters than previous Republican candidates, but since taking office has enacted disastrous anti-worker policies. Now, some unions are organizing their members around an explicitly progressive analysis, hoping to unlock the power of workers to help lead the resistance. [read full article]

Trump Education Budget Tips Scale Against "Marginalized Communities"

April 26, 2017  | Public News Service | Eric Tegethoff, Producer

SEATTLE - Teachers and education staff are watching closely this week to see what happens with the Trump administration's proposed cuts to Education Department programs, as Congress works on a budget for next year.

The proposal slashes more than 13 percent, or $9 billion, off the agency's budget. While this might change during negotiations, Karen Strickland, president of the American Federation of Teachers of Washington, said she sees a theme that is emerging from the proposal. [full story]

 

WA Lawmakers Consider "Student Loan Bill of Rights"

March 10, 2017 | Eric Tegethoff, Producer, Washington News Service

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington state lawmakers are considering a bill to hold student loan providers accountable for their services.

Passed in the House last week, the Senate is considering the Student Loan Bill of Rights.

House Bill 1440 gives students protections as consumers of loan services, and also establishes a student loan ombuds to advocate for students and resolve loan issues.

Rep. Monica Stonier, who sponsored the bill in the House, says an ombuds will be able to help students navigate the questionable practices of some loan providers. [read or hear full story]

Seeking Diversity in Washington State's Faculty Ranks

May 13, 2016 | Washington News Service | Eric Tegethoff, Producer

SEATTLE - As movements such as Black Lives Matter have gained steam, a major topic of discussion is racial equity in public institutions. [full story]

 

 

Adjunct Professors Seek Better Working Conditions

Washington News Service | Eric Tegethoff, Producer April 8, 2016 SEATTLE - Contingent faculty, including adjunct professors, are holding a conference Saturday at South Seattle College to discuss the mounting difficulties part-time instructors face at work. Almost 70 percent of college professors across the United States are contingent faculty. Part-time instructors sometimes rely on public assistance and unemployment benefits in order to make ends meet. - See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2016-04-08/education/adjunct-professors-seek-better-working-conditions/a51264-1#sthash.hvnicko9.dpuf