The following is a letter from Susan Misenhelder of the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education:
Dear CFHE friends,
If you haven’t already registered, we hope you’re consulting with your organization about attending the next CFHE Gathering in Los Angeles (actually Manhattan Beach) on January 16-18, 2015. Please do plan to join us!
The focus of our meeting will be on ways to build coalitions to fight the various privatization schemes affecting nearly all colleges and universities in the U.S. You can find an overview of the meeting and registration information at:
Please do register as soon as you can—hotel rooms are limited at the conference rate, and you need to reserve one soon to get the conference rate. The conference registration deadline is Monday, December 15.
Below you’ll find the draft agenda for the meeting. I hope you’ll agree it’s going to be a very interesting set of discussions! We in CFA hope you can make your plans to be there.
If you see topics that address issues your organization is dealing with, please let us know. We have some spots left for speakers and would love to hear from you.
We’d also appreciate it if you would pass on the information to any organizations or individuals you think might be interested in attending! Thanks and good luck with the end-of-term rush.
Draft Agenda for January 2015 CFHE Gathering
Friday, January 16, 2015
7:00-8:30 PM–Privatizing K-12: Lessons for Higher Ed
The story of privatization in K-12 is both a cautionary tale and one that offers valuable lessons for our organizing efforts to save higher ed. This session will focus on the privatization movement in K-12–how it is promoted, what it entails, what it means for the 99% versus the 1%, and how K-12 advocates are fighting back through the power of coalitions.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
8:30-9:00 Welcome and Introduction
9:00-10:15—“Streamlining” the Curriculum or Cheapening Degrees? Under banners such as “facilitating graduation” or “creating seamless transfer,” efforts to reduce the breadth and depth of student learning are being pushed on almost every non-elite campus. This trend plays itself out in an increasingly narrow vocational focus that strips away many rich experiences in the humanities, ethnic studies, and other areas of study that are vital for a well-rounded education. Attacks on developmental education (often called “remediation”) are also growing and promoted as another way to help students graduate faster. Presenters in this session will discuss details of these “streamlining” proposals, they ways they are promoted, the ways they harm students, and the ways we can change this trend.
10:30-11:45–Testing/Outcomes/Assessment/Accountability/Metrics— This trend—and its disastrous results for most students—has been developing for some time in K-12. In this discussion, we will hear about specific developments in higher ed such as performance-based funding schemes, the graduation rate craze, and President Obama’s proposed college ratings program. The goal of the panel will be to help us understand the rhetorical strategies used to push these initiatives, the real “winners” from them, and ways coalitions can fight for more meaningful goals for higher ed. We will also hear about ideas for alternative, truly progressive ways to assess the success of our colleges and universities.
1:00-2:15—Privatization and the Part-timing of the Workforce-– On this panel, faculty and other members of the United Workers’ Congress will talk about the politics of contingent, part-time labor in and outside the academy as well as the ways in which this employment practice is bad for workers and for the people they serve. Finally, panel members will share their experiences and lessons learned organizing on this issue across workplace and organizational boundaries.
2:15-3:30—What does Privatization Mean for Students? How are They Fighting Back?—The focus of this panel will be to hear from student leaders about how privatization in higher ed affects them, the ways they are fighting back, and their ideas for coalition-building around the issues discussed during the day. The panel will also include a discussion of how Wall Street is increasingly profiting from tuition increases around the country—and how this profiteering is driving important aspects of higher education policy.
3:30-3:45 PM Break
3:45-4:30—Table Discussion—In preparation for Sunday’s discussion about next steps in coalition-building for action, we will end Saturday with small group conversation focused on these topics: What are the “takeaways” from today’s discussion? What does this all mean for our work? What can we do together? What should we think about in preparation for tomorrow’s discussion?
Sunday, January 18, 2015 –
8:30-9:45 AM–Galvanizing a Community around a Higher Ed Issue: The San Francisco City College Accreditation Crisis
To get us started on a discussion of next steps in building coalitions to save higher education for the 99%, we will hear from faculty, students, and community members about how they built their broad coalition to fight back against attacks on San Francisco City College’s accreditation.
9:45-12:00 Noon—Discussion of Coalition-Building for Action—What can we do in our local work to fight the increasing privatization of higher education in all its various forms? How can we build coalitions around these and other issues that create the power needed to chart a different direction?