Tomorrow is April 13. In a whole bunch of states (at last count, I think 10), faculty will be participating in “Take Class Action” day.
We at APSCUF are participating, too. Your local campus may have put out some details; I know at some campuses, in the midst of all the budget-driven rallies, we are having tables with information. Ask your office manager if you’ve not heard.
But let me remind you that Take Class Action day is about the future of higher education. We are trying to change the dialogue about what that future looks like — from funding (like our state budget), to access and borrowing by our students. Our core value is quality higher education: our students and our progeny deserve at least the same quality and choices in education we had. We need personal interaction in learning and we need the chance to explore the arts, the humanities, the sciences, or even nursing or accounting.
Some of APSCUF’s leadership has just returned from two days in New York City attending the National Center for Collective Bargaining in Higher Ed conference. One of the calling cards of this organization is it is a place where both union leaders and management leaders meet to share ideas. The Chancellor and several PASSHE administrators were there.
What we heard in New York, which is a song sung frequently at such conferences, is that the combination of budgets and Republican (and even some Democratic) polticians is changing the shape of higher education rapidly. Almost all states have budget slashes for higher ed; few think states will be investing heavily in anything any time soon. And the impact of those budgetary concerns on programs and access could be profound and destructive.
We are in the midst of changes that may change us. Take Class Action day is one of a long series of events that will try to shape the discussion about what that shape will be.
Please try to make time to help, and if you can’t help, at least take a look at the materials.