Public Higher Education is Under Attack in Massachusetts

education-is-our-right

Despite the landslide victory against Question 2, public education from Pre-K through public higher education remains under attack. Governor Charlie Baker and the Legislature have not proposed full funding for public higher education or adequate funding for fair contracts. Individual colleges and universities are left to balance budgets on the backs of students and employees.

Say YES to fully funding our public schools and colleges

Demand that the Legislature and governor fully fund public education. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education issued a report in 2014 saying Massachusetts colleges and universities need an immediate infusion of nearly $700 million, most directly to bolster institutions, as well as to expand financial aid to students. The lack of funding restricts services for students and diminishes pay, benefits and working conditions for educators.

The state has cut public higher education funding by 31 percent per student since 2001.The cost of student fees and tuition has steadily increased across the system. The funding crisis is acute at UMass Boston, with cuts to the adjunct professor staff, staff layoffs, proposed reductions in course offerings and elimination of some teaching resources. The community college system, the state’s economic engine, is chronically underfunded.

Say YES to a higher education system that is mission driven

  • Demand accountability of the college and university systems to provide high-quality, affordable and accessible education. 
  • Establish “equal pay for equal work” policies for adjunct faculty and provide benefits to them.
  • Demand that the leadership of the state’s college and university systems join us in supporting the Fair Share Amendment, which will provide much-needed education funding through tax reform.

Say NO to the DeVos/Trump agenda

  • Say NO to the deregulation of for-profit higher education diploma mills. 
  • Say NO to profiteering from student loans.
  • Say NO to Trump policies that hurt immigrant students and weaken LGBTQ rights.
  • Say NO to slashing after-school programs and job training; to undermining health care services and the environment; and to tax cuts for the rich.
  • Say NO to Trump and his court appointees who want to silence public employee unions.

Say YES to professional autonomy and respect

Support faculty who are fighting for more time to serve students — standing up against increased workload pressure and demands to teach more and more students per class.

Support equity and fair treatment for all higher education faculty and staff. Too many of our members are disrespected and expected to settle for less at the bargaining table. 

Support full parity for all public higher education employees, particularly for sick leave, paid parental leave, tuition waivers and other benefits.

Say YES to using our power to defend public higher education

As unions representing thousands of public higher education employees are bargaining new contracts, cases are heading to the Supreme Court that threaten workers’ rights of collective power and endanger public education. 

Collective action is the most effective weapon we have to protect the mission of public higher education and to defend workers’ rights as employers continually attempt to take back benefits and reduce professional autonomy.