AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, a number of states, through legislation or referenda, have passed or are considering so-called "taxpayer bill of rights" policies that severely restrict the ability of state governments to raise or spend the money needed to provide appropriate public services to their citizens; and

WHEREAS, well-funded right-wing political organizations are driving to spread such policies around the country; and

WHEREAS, efforts are being made to spread such policies around the country; and

WHEREAS, a combination of reduced revenues and spending cuts has created a funding crisis in public higher education; and

WHEREAS, this funding crisis is resulting in the incipient privatization of public colleges and universities, with less and less funds coming in the form of general government revenues and more and more funding coming in the form of student tuition and corporate grants and contract programs; and

WHEREAS, one extreme manifestation of this trend is a voucher plan recently passed in Colorado that would de-fund public colleges and universities and replace this funding with (inadequate) student vouchers, which can be used at both public and private institutions; and

WHEREAS, the Colorado proposal mirrors proposals in other states, such as Washington, that would permit private colleges to compete for public FTE funding; and

WHEREAS, other proposals would substitute business contract-like funding for general higher education funding, centered around ideas such as "performance contracting" and charter colleges; and

WHEREAS, these measures would all take scarce funds from our public colleges and universities; limiting access and diversity, moving in most cases toward a more instrumental job-oriented curriculum and impinging on faculty control, tenure and academic freedom:


RESOLVED, that the AFT vigorously oppose the de-funding of public higher education and these new forms of privatization and to that end mobilize its affiliates and their members while working in coalition with other labor groups and education supporters; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT support candidates who are committed to strong funding for public higher education and who oppose privatization and voucher schemes in higher education; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT put forward its own vision of the importance of public support for public higher education and promote it vigorously.