Fighting Austerity Education

[This comes from Barbara Bowen of the Professional Staff Congress, the faculty union of the City University of New York and Terrence Martell of the CUNY Faculty Senate.]

Dear Colleague:

Please click here to sign a petition calling for a moratorium on the implementation of an austerity curriculum at CUNY. And please forward this message widely to your professional networks throughout the nation and the world.

This is a watershed moment for higher education.  The “reform” agenda that brought relentless testing and widespread privatization to K-12 schools has surfaced in higher education.  Forty years of public policy focused on access to college is being replaced by a single-minded demand for increased graduation rates—whatever the cost in academic quality.

The battle for educational quality is being fought hard by faculty and staff at The City University of New York (CUNY), long a focal point in struggles for educational justice.

CUNY’s educational mission is under attack.  Chancellor Matthew Goldstein and the CUNY Board of Trustees, led by Benno Schmidt, Jr., are trying to impose a diluted system of general education, “Pathways,” that seeks to save money at the expense of students’ learning.  Facing intense faculty resistance, the CUNY administration has resorted to threats and intimidation.  Under the pretext of easing student transfer and increasing graduation rates, Pathways will deliver a minimal curriculum for CUNY’s working-class students: it removes science lab requirements, limits foreign language requirements, and cuts back on faculty time with students in English classes. Pathways is an attempt to move students through the system more quickly even as budgets are cut—by reducing academic requirements. Pathways is austerity education for an austerity economy.

With your help, we can defeat Pathways and achieve a victory for educational quality that could have national implications.  Please add your voice to ours and take a stand for the integrity of higher education.

Barbara Bowen
President, Professional Staff Congress/CUNY

Terrence Martell
Chair, University Faculty Senate

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