Madison, WI: With Wisconsin at the center of a national debate over tenure, academic freedom, and funding for public higher education, members of the AFT-Wisconsin Higher Education Council announced a series of events to be held across the UW System in November examining the theme of “The Wisconsin Idea in Crisis.” “The Wisconsin Idea is a simple one,” said Richard Leson, a UW-Milwaukee associate professor of art history and the president of AFT local 3535, The Association of UW Professionals. “It’s the idea that the University of Wisconsin System should improve the lives of all Wisconsinites—through high quality education, research for the public good, and constant community outreach. As members of the AFT-Wisconsin Higher Education Council, my colleagues and I—academic and university staff, faculty, and graduate employees—are deeply troubled by efforts of radical politicians to weaken one of the preeminent public university systems in the world. That’s why we will be holding events on UW System campuses across the state—at Eau Claire, Stout, Madison, Green Bay, Stevens Point, and Milwaukee—to draw attention to the existential crisis that we in the UW System are confronting.”
Madison, WI: Delegates to AFT-Wisconsin’s recent state convention voted to demand UW System President Ray Cross resign, AFT-Wisconsin President Kim Kohlhaas announced today. “Faculty, staff, and graduate employee members of AFT-Wisconsin have been fighting tirelessly to protect the quality of education and research in the UW System in the face of the Republican assault on higher education,” said Kohlhaas, a teacher in the Superior School District. “But when it comes to crucial issues like academic freedom, due process, shared governance, and state funding, President Cross hasn’t been the advocate that the UW System’s students need. The Wisconsin Idea is under attack, and the head of the UW System is standing by and letting it happen. That’s why our members are calling on President Cross to step down.”
A new study from Stanford University says that the proliferation of charter schools in New Orleans has “created a set of schools that are highly stratified by race, class, and educational advantage, operating in a hierarchy that provides very different types of schools and to different types of children.”
With elections looming and several members facing tough re-election fights, the last thing that members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education wanted was a contentious issue in this week’s meeting.
Wisconsin Representative Cory Mason (D-Racine) and Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) have introduced the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill, which would allow Wisconsinites to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has reported that it could save the average student loan payer $172 per year, while those with higher loans could save much more. The bill will be receiving a public hearing this Wednesday, October 7, at 10:00 a.m. in room 300SE of the state Capitol. Come pack the hearing with supporters of affordable higher education!