Archive for Universities

UUP has an Agenda: Quality


Commentary by UUP President Frederick E. Kowal

The National Council on Teacher Quality criticized United University Professions (“Our budding teachers deserve better training in New York,” March 30) for our position regarding the State Education Department’s deeply flawed teacher certification process.

Hey, NCTQ, what took you so long?

After all, UUP has loudly voiced its concerns about New York’s teacher certification exams for the past two years. And for good reason: these tests are riddled with problems pertaining to content, their computer­based format — administered and scored by corporate education testing giant Pearson — the basis for cut scores, and the lack of timely access to test preparation materials.

SED changed certification requirements for 2014 and 2015 student teachers well after they started their teacher preparation programs. And the department was two years late in making test preparation materials available for the Educating All Students exam and Academic Literacy Skills Test.

SED’s latest imbroglio was its decision to require students to take the newly revised Content Specialty Tests before establishing passing scores for the exams. As of early April, graduates are languishing as SED figures things out. MORE

AFT Demands an End to Exploitation of Contingent Faculty

aftThe American Federation of Teachers (AFT), UUP’s national affiliate with 1.6 million members, issued a strong call for “ending the exploitation of contingent faculty.” At SUNY New Paltz, fully half of the teaching faculty are contingents, with over 200 part-time adjuncts and some 70 full-time lecturers.

In a series of resolutions passed at AFT’s convention, meeting July 11-14 in Los Angeles, AFT demanded pay equity for contingents, including compensation for class preparation time and office hours. Further demands include:

• Equitable access to employee benefits;

• Access to and compensation for opportunities for professional development;

• Meaningful job security, including job security comparable to tenure, long-term academic appointment contracts or certificates of continuing employment, which guarantee the presumption of rehiring;

• Opportunities for career advancement, including conversion opportunities to full-time, tenure-track positions;

• Enforceable standards for the timely notification of teaching appointments;

• Protections for academic freedom, regardless of tenure status; and

• Full inclusion in and compensation for participation in all institutional work, including service, research and governance.


Congratulations, class of 2014: You’re totally screwed


College costs more and more, even as it gets objectively worse. Only people worse off than indebted grads: adjuncts


Welcome to the wide world, Class of 2014. You have by now noticed the tremendous consignment of debt that the authorities at your college have spent the last four years loading on your shoulders. It may interest you to know that the average student-loan borrower among you is now $33,000 in debt, the largest of any graduating class ever. According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, carrying that kind of debt will have certain predictable effects. It will impede your ability to accumulate wealth, for example. You will also borrow more for other things than people without debt, and naturally you will find your debt level growing, not shrinking, as the years pass.

As you probably know, neither your parents nor your grandparents were required to take on this kind of burden in order to go to college. Neither are the people of your own generation in France and Germany and Argentina and Mexico.


Join Us for Mayday $5K Rally Thursday, May 1, at Noon