"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, February 27, 2015

National Adjunct Walkout Day

The first happened this week in Arizona.  Here is part of the story from Bill Moyers and Co.:
On Wednesday, adjunct faculty at the University of Arizona (UA), myself included, walked out and taught-in as part of the first-ever National Adjunct Walkout Day. At least 300 of us — adjunct professors, students and tenure-tracked faculty — came out to the campus mall, deciding to dig in and call for fair wages and better working conditions for the part-time, temporary employees who make up the majority of higher education instructors.

I’ve been teaching creative writing classes at UA since the fall, and have a one-year contract, which is good for an adjunct.

What most provokes my students about the situation facing the adjuncts who teach them are the numbers. Even fans of our top-seeded basketball team think $1.9 million a year — the salary of UA head coach Sean Miller — is grotesque. The next cringe comes when considering UA President Anne Weaver Hart’s potential performance bonus of $170,000, which would be the cherry to her $600,000 annual salary. And then this: UA English Department adjuncts teach over 100 writing courses to 2,500 students each semester. Teaching full-time, and often putting in more than 40 hours a week, we earn a salary of just $33,050 a year. And many adjuncts haven’t received a pay raise in over a decade, not even a cost-of-living adjustment.

Newly seated Republican Governor Doug Ducey recently slashed higher education spending in Arizona by $75 million dollars, while sending nearly the same amount of state funds, $70 million, to private prisons. Arizona State University (ASU) President Michael Crow responded by calling for “modernization,” wanting the state’s public universities to be “as free and able to operate on an entrepreneurial basis as possible.” (ASU is governed by the same Board of Regents as UA.)  . . . .

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