WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) introduced a bare-bones reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The AFT is the country’s largest higher education union.
“Bipartisanship may be shriveling in Washington, but education has been an area in which Sens. Murray and Alexander have regularly forged agreements. I deeply respect and have worked with Alexander in the past, so it’s doubly disappointing that he would introduce an inadequate package of higher education bills that short-circuit comprehensive reauthorization by excluding protections students so urgently need.
“While the bill includes some stand-alone elements we’ve been calling for—fixes for HBCUs and MSIs and simplifying FAFSA—it is silent on our most urgent priorities, including Public Service Loan Forgiveness, college affordability and boosting state investment.
“Instead of going it alone, Sen. Alexander should continue his and Sen. Murray’s tradition of working together to construct a bill that truly addresses the underfunding and student debt crises that have grievously harmed the U.S. higher education system.”