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Start your week off right with a helping of useful information and informed opinion. _____________________________________________________________________________________
For the Week of August 08, 2011
Some 45,000 Verizon customer service and repair workers are on strike, many of them represented by UPTE’s national union, the Communications Workers of America. The company wants to raise health care costs and freeze pensions, among other changes. Workers say they resent being asked for concessions while top executives are earning millions in profit. You can learn more here, or enter the nationwide contest to guess what “Verizon” means.
California’s higher education system, once the pride of the state, is now “average, at best, and trending downward,” and must improve outcomes for “immigrants, first generation college kids, and poor people of all races,” reports the San Francisco Business Times. That information is drawn from a new study, The Consequences of Neglect, published by Sacramento State’s Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that Texas governor Rick Perry is trying "to re-engineer Texas’s leading public universities to become more like businesses, driven by efficiency and profitability." One proposal is to develop a "four-year degree that costs no more than $10,000, including textbooks." In the meanwhile, Perry has issued an executive order to establish a private, nonprofit online school where students will focus on workforce-related fields.
Why pay attention to Texas higher education trends? UC President Mark Yudof led UT immediately before he was hired to lead the University of California, and Texas is also a large state with more than one public university system. Two years ago, the director of a UT technology incubator urged Texas to "capitalize on California's budget shortfall" by increasing spending on faculty. By early 2011, however, budget cuts were decimating Texas higher education too.
In other education-related news, gender and race-based inequities persist, according to Inside Higher Ed. Women must hold a PhD to "to earn as much as men with a bachelor’s degree," according to “The College Payoff,” a new report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. "The situation is similar for black and Latino students,” reports Inside Higher Ed. “White people with bachelor’s degrees typically will earn more over their lives than will blacks and Latinos who hold master’s degrees."
Wisconsin Republicans, who pushed through a bill to end collective bargaining for public workers in their state despite massive opposition, are bracing for several recall elections starting tomorrow that may cost them control of their state legislature.
And right here in California, another variation of the phony “paycheck deception” initiative is being circulated by paid signature-gatherers who are misleading the public to get it on the ballot. The “special interests” this proposition attacks are organized labor and union members. If successful, it would leave big corporations and CEOs -- the real “special interests” -- in charge of politics in California. _____________________________________________________________________________________
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