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Everett Herald | Lip-service investments in higher education

June 22, 2011
Opinion by John Burbank

Two weeks ago, Gov. Chris Gregoire convened a press conference with corporate leaders from Microsoft and Boeing. They were celebrating a breakthrough in higher education.

It was a breakthrough, all right -- like 60,000 high school graduates walking out onto thin ice and breaking through. The troika offered a life ring for 1,000, through "Opportunity Scholarships." The other 59,000? Let them swim ... or sink. [read full article]

Lecturers granted permission to unionize, first instructor union at the UW

April 11, 2011 | by Daron Anderson | The Daily UW

Rozanna Carosella, an extension lecturer in the ELP, was a driving force behind the development of the first lecturers union. Photo by Tarik Walmsley.

The extension lecturers at the UW Educational Outreach’s English Language Program (ELP) have created the first instructors union at the university.

Because the group consists of extension lecturers, which are instructors from the UW Educational Outreach program, they were not previously represented as UW employees.

Read full article.

UW Gives Us What We Ask For

Danny Westneat | The Seattle Times Opinion | April 5, 2011

For decades now we've heard the demand that government needs to be more like business. Can't it be more self-sufficient, more attuned to the bottom line? Well, yes it can. This is what it looks like.

You know how the UW is turning away local valedictorians in favor of high-priced, out-of-state students, and everybody's gone Husky purple with rage?

"This is an outrageous and egregious abuse of power," read one of the 700-plus Web comments on an article about the UW's policy last weekend. [read full article]

Pay Teachers More? UW Prof's Plan to Improve Education

November 12, 2010

by Chris Thomas, Public News Service-WA

SEATTLE - It's an idea that, in this economy, is bound to raise some eyebrows. A new book by a University of Washington economist suggests that the way to get education out of its slump is to pay teachers more - a lot more.

Dick Startz, Castor Professor of Economics and author of "Profit of Education," says his national research found if teachers were paid like other types of highly educated professionals, they would be making about 40 percent more than they do now. Because Americans think of teaching as a calling, like the ministry or charitable work, schools often pay accordingly, he explains, so it's hard to keep the best and brightest in the classroom.

Click here to read the full article. 


Bates Unwilling to Consider Humane Ways of Making Cuts | The News Tribune | May 27, 2010

When the Legislature cut funding to higher education last year, the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (the governing body for our 34 community and technical colleges) dup up an obscure state law from the 1980s. (read more)

WA budget-balancing plan spreads deficit pain
Higher education would see a net reduction of about $68 million, while early learning and child care programs would be reduced by about $11.5 million from expected spending levels. | Seattle Times, April 13, 2010
WA lawmakers pass budget, adjourn special session
…The new operating budget approved Monday night makes changes to the two-year spending plan lawmakers approved in 2009. Spending was driven by higher costs for current programs and added policies, including payments to property-poor school districts and additional worker retraining at community and technical colleges.

Listen to Pierce College student and instructors about the cuts to higher education

Listen to Hilda, an ESL student whose classes were cut

Watch a video on YouTube of Hilda, a student whose ESL classes have been cut due to the state budget crisis.


AFT Washington Receives National Award for FACE

Our state was recognized by AFT at their 80th annual convention in Chicago this July for our leadership on the Faculty and College Excellence (FACE) Campaign (read more).


In case you didin't know, two of our members are regular contributors to the AFT FACE Blog, Phil Ray Jack from Green River CC and Lila Harper from Central Washington University. Here are their recent entries:

Dropping Dead: A Contingent Faculty Member's Retirement Plan by Lila Harper

A New Beginning by Phil Ray Jack

Inside Higher Ed | June 17, 2008 | Waiting 20 Years for the Tenure Track

By Phil Ray Jack

This summer, many of those fresh out of graduate school are preparing to begin their teaching careers. A fortunate few have already been hired to fill tenure-track positions, but many will find themselves on the unexpected and convoluted pathway of “contingent faculty.” With 70 percent or more of college classes taught by part-time faculty, the opportunities for full-time careers are rare. Many will accept part-time teaching assignments with the hope that it will build their résumés and be a step closer to the tenure track. At least that was what I thought when I accepted my first part-time teaching assignment. For me, when I was recently offered a full-time, tenure-track position as an English composition instructor at Green River Community College, it was the end of a 20-year journey.  [Read the full article]