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Posts Tagged ‘public higher education’

By Sarah Roberts

To my out-of-state and international friends who want to know what to do: I recommend you do your own phone banking or mass emailing event. With a little review online you can find out the names/numbers of Wisconsin state GOP senators and Assembly reps who are supporting this bill. You can also find out which ones are in danger of recall.

Then, you can have your callers explain to the legislator’ staffers on phone or in email that you consider the Wisconsin state line a PICKET LINE. No more dollars into Wisconsin. No more purchasing of Wisconsin products. Publicity ALL OVER YOUR LOCAL AREA (issue a press release) of what you’re doing. This is my advice here.

I can try to get more info regarding names and numbers, or if someone has a cheat sheet, please let me know.  You can start with this list from the Daily Kos:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/19/947160/-Recall-Wisconsin-Republican-Senators

And use lookup info from: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/

http://legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/contact/EmailDirectory.aspx?house=senate

http://legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/contact/EmailDirectory.aspx?house=assembly

Hopper, in particular, is vulnerable, having won by only 163 votes, in 2008. In addition, you can get information about the unbelievable provisions of SB 11, including:

– the privatization of state-owned power plants, to be sold on a no-bid basis to whomever the state decides

– the rejection of MILLIONS of federal dollars for public transit, due to contingencies around collective bargaining for employees, that will SHUT MUNICIPAL BUSES DOWN, stranding thousands upon thousands who rely on bus travel to work every day

– the decimation of state heath care funding for those who have no other heath care

These are just a few of the other items not receiving as much coverage, but worthy of immediate action and mention.

Finally, in other quarters, Walker’s appointees are rejecting millions from the federal government for state broadband service, intending to funnel state money to Walker campaign donor AT&T:

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/education/local_schools/article_28c5e5c6-3882-11e0-8bd0-001cc4c03286.html

Please mention any or all of these issues in your communications with Wisconsin state legislators.  Thank you.

Would you like to donate some funds to a clearinghouse group coordinating efforts on the ground? Visit: http://www.defendwisconsin.org/

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By Sarah Roberts

I’m writing to you to share with you a little bit about the unprecedented events in Wisconsin, and to ask how you might like to make a presence and show of solidarity with brothers and sisters to the north. As you probably know, the Tea Party-backed recently elected Governor, Scott Walker, introduced a sweeping anti-labor, anti-family and union-busting budget last Friday afternoon, hoping to avoid public discourse and using a trumped-up fiscal crisis as his excuse (http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/editorial/article_61064e9a-27b0-5f28-b6d1-a57c8b2aaaf6.html). He did so with no warning, and refused all negotiation on his measure. In addition, he made a menacing and disturbing suggestion that he would send out the National Guard on citizens rightly incensed by the dismantling of their collective bargaining rights, among _many_ other hard-earned benefits and protections. (more…)

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By Donald Lazere

Dick Ohmann’s provocation on the contradictory messages being put out by politicians, corporations, and the media about the fiscal crisis of American education sent me back to a critique I’ve been drafting of conservative economist Richard Vedder on this issue. In the following, I’ve sketchily pasted together sections of that piece and modifications suggested by Dick’s notes.

Recent public debates on both the financial decline of American universities and the escalating costs and debts incurred by students have increasingly been framed by conservative scholars such as those surveyed by Jacques Steinberg in a New York Times article, “Plan B: Skip College” (May 15, 2010).  These scholars’ arguments include the following: The economic benefits of public universities to both the public and to their graduates do not repay their costs to taxpayers.  Universities are inefficiently operated, and an excess of government-funded financial aid contributes to their fiscal irresponsibility. Too many Americans go to college who are unqualified, unmotivated, and thus likely to drop out before graduation; more should settle for vocational education. Employers often fetishize college degrees that may not be necessary for the level of work they supposedly certify.  Many students falsely consider college education an entitlement rather than a privilege that must be earned by financial and academic probity.  Arguments like these have an obvious appeal for taxpayers who might not have been able to afford college themselves and cannot understand why they should be subsidizing four years or more of cushy campus life for other people’s children.

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At the moment of this writing, New York Governor David Paterson is playing a game of political chicken with the state legislature.  Paterson (a Democrat) is counting on the state senate to pass a budget that effectively deregulates tuition at the state and city universities, SUNY and CUNY.  At the CUNY campus where I teach, the cost of each year of college for full-time students who are residents of New York State is $5,050 ($4,600 tuition + $550 in fees).  It’s not much by today’s standards, but it’s not nothing either…which is exactly what CUNY used to cost.  Should Paterson have his way, my students could pay twice that in ten years.  Again, not a fortune compared with the privates but, again, not nothing.  But the privatization of the public universities isn’t really about how closely their tuitions approximate the privates.  This is just one component of a more fundamental effort to shift the funding from a public to a private basis, from taxpayer money to the tuition payments of working-class students who can’t afford to attend the privates.

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