AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

THE AFT URGES SPELLINGS COMMISSION ON FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION TO STRENGTHEN, NOT WEAKEN, HIGHER EDUCATION

WHEREAS, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has established a 19-member commission on the future of higher education comprised of members of the business community, researchers, present and former policymakers and college administrators; and

WHEREAS, the commission was charged with making recommendations to improve our higher education system so that graduates are better prepared to meet future workforce needs and are able to participate fully in the changing economy; and

WHEREAS, the commission has studied federal, state, local and institutional practices to analyze whether they will meet the challenges facing higher education; and

WHEREAS, the commission will submit a final report by early fall 2006 to the secretary on ways to improve accessibility, accountability, affordability, accreditation and articulation in higher education:

RESOLVED, that American Federation of Teachers continue to urge the commission to take positions to further educational access,  to free educational decisions from outside control and to rebuild the academic staffing structure; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT urge the commission to:

  • support substantial new funding for need-based financial aid, particularly Pell Grants, in order to provide college access for students who demonstrate financial need;
  • call on the states to restore financial support for public colleges and universities, which has eroded to the extent that, in 2005, state and local support per student at public colleges and universities was at its lowest point in 25 years;
  • support a voluntary accreditation system and reject the option of adding more federal direction and control to the evaluation of higher education institutions;
  • protect students against fraud and abuse at institutions run for a profit, particularly distance education programs;
  • reject the overuse, misuse and abuse of standardized testing in higher education and recognize that student assessment should be left in the hands of faculty members who know their students, their disciplines and their institutions;
  • recognize that colleges and universities are too diverse in their missions and goals, as well as their student bodies, for “one-size-fits-all” testing to be appropriate and that standardized testing, if the faculty chooses to use it as an evaluation tool, must be coupled with consideration of other variables such as grades, courses, evidence of talent, service and leadership; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT call on the commission to recommend bold action to reverse the erosion of full-time tenured faculty positions; to combat the overuse and exploitation of part-time/adjunct, full-time nontenure-track faculty and graduate employees; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT contact commission members and staff, work with other like-minded advocacy groups and public officials and communicate with the AFT membership and the public at large to further AFT policy positions related to the commission’s recommendations.


(2006)