NEWSLETTER OF THE UMKC CHAPTER OF THE
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS
Vol. 1, No. 4
School of Education Faculty Activism: Division Chair Searches, by Stuart McAninch
"Education for Democracy" Conference a Resounding Success, by David Brodsky
News of the Chapter
News from UM Columbia
Food for Thought, by Patricia Brodsky
Corporatization of remedial reading programs, by Jan Behrend
Potential Consequences of International Trade Agreements for Higher Education, by Frank Neff
Breaking the Ice: Spring Equinox Part-Time Faculty Rally and Teach-in, by David Brodsky
MLA survey on part-time salaries: UMKC ranks near bottom
AAUP Summer Institute 2001: Consider Attending!
School of Education Faculty Activism: Division Chair Searches
by Stuart McAninch
There were two significant developments in the division chair searches in the School of Education during the month of March (for background see Faculty Advocate, February 2001). At the March faculty meeting Joan Gallos, Dean of Education, announced that the searches for the chairs of Curriculum and Instructional Leadership and of Urban Leadership and Policy Studies in Education were to be suspended for an indefinite period of time. She also talked of meeting with the faculty in the two divisions to discuss the searches.
In a related development, on March 20 the Senate Fact Finding Committee presented its report on issues in the School of Education to the Faculty Senate. The committee avoided assigning fault to either faculty or administration in the conflicts which emerged in the searches, and addressed only the search for chair of Curriculum and Instructional Leadership. But its findings and recommendations included at least three stipulations supporting an active role for faculty in chair searches.
The report called for involvement of the School's promotion and tenure committee in deliberations where tenure is to be offered. It urged a "more frank and positive dialogue" between faculty and administration. It also cited the need to address ambiguities in the university rules and the faculty bylaws governing the search process, and to lay ground rules for these two chair searches in particular. And it called for involvement of the faculty in amending the bylaws to clarify the faculty role in searches, particularly searches for faculty members "who will have significant administrative responsibilities" and/or who will be offered tenure in conjunction with their appointments.
The temporary suspension of the searches for the two chairs gives faculty in the divisions time to engage in dialogue among ourselves about what our role in the searches should be once they are resumed, under the principles of active faculty involvement in university governance. Such dialogue must also include a rethinking of the necessary characteristics for successful chairs, as well as a redefining of the roles to be played by chairs in division governance. If the Dean in fact does meet with faculty in the divisions, there will be an opportunity for frank discussion of ground rules for resumed searches. In response to the Senate Fact Finding Committee's report, the faculty in the School of Education has established a committee to review and propose amendments to the bylaws to eliminate ambiguities. The committee will meet in May. Given a strong contingent of AAUP members on the committee, its recommendations should reflect AAUP principles on the central role of faculty in searches.
There is an important lesson to be drawn from the conflict between faculty and administration which emerged in the course of the chair searches. That lesson is the power of an organized faculty operating under ambiguous rules and bylaws and in the face of administrative decisions which undermine faculty participation in deliberation. We learned that we did not have to accept as a fait accompli either the Dean's use of her power as chair of the search committee to channel and restrict faculty deliberation, or her decision to recommend to the Interim Provost the hiring of a candidate despite overwhelming opposition on the part of faculty in the division. We also gained time for needed dialogue and decision-making about faculty governance. How we use that time will be critical for determining what role we as faculty will play in controlling the future of our divisions and our academic programs.
"Education for Democracy" Conference a Resounding Success
by David Brodsky
"Education for Democracy: Fighting the Corporate Takeover", a one-day regional conference held on March 3 at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and sponsored by the UMKC chapter of the AAUP, attracted 130 presenters and attendees. Twenty-six speakers--faculty and students from six different institutions of higher education as well as community activists--informed the audience about a broad range of problems besetting academia, outlined their visions for democratic education, and offered strategies for fighting corporate aggression. The quality of presentations was uniformly high and some were outstanding. Speakers demonstrated great self-discipline (and self-abnegation) by sticking to the tight and gruelling schedule. A presenter flew back from Mexico in order to participate, and one attendee came all the way from Nevada.
Among issues addressed were institutionalized racial, gender, and class inequalities; the role of global trade agreements, the prison industry, and militarization of the schools; monopoly campus franchises for corporations that profit by sweatshop labor; abuse and demoralization of full-time faculty and exploitation of part-time faculty; corporatized distance education; corporate control of research, curriculum, and methods of instruction; threats, including plans for narrow vocationalism, to the integrity and quality of the arts, humanities, public service oriented social sciences and professional programs, and basic research in the natural sciences; reduced public confidence in higher education; and public employee organizing.
Audience participation was intensive, providing additional evidence of abuses as well as practical advice in combatting them. General feedback on the event has been very positive. "The conference was very informational. I would like to thank all sponsors/participants for the event, and also the organizers." "It was an honor to hear the stories from such intelligent, accomplished people--great insight, courage, tenacity." "Good. Needed." "Thanks! Badly needed." "Great. Could've used more student voice, but otherwise awesome." "Excellent." "Excellent in all regards. Very well publicized and organized. Very good speakers." "Excellent! Sheds light on a neglected problem--corporate control of education. A worthwhile addition to my ongoing education on the issue of globalization."
"Education for Democracy" was supported by 39 local, national, and international co-sponsors from academia and the community. Unsolicited donations came from the California Part-Time Faculty Association, COCAL IV (Fourth Conference on Contingent Academic Labor), and the AAUP Part-Time Lecturer Faculty Chapter at Rutgers.
Media coverage was better than anticipated. Articles appeared in the Kansas City Star and Lawrence Journal-World, and the UMKC student newspaper published four pieces. Conference organizers were guests on the KKFI community radio program, "Heartland Labor Forum," and were interviewed by eight media outlets. The conference announcement and program were posted on at least a half dozen websites. A number of responses to the conference showed up in discussion groups of the Modern Language Association (Delegate Assembly, Radical Caucus). Most of the proceedings were audiotaped and videotaped (audio excerpts may be broadcast on KKFI), and presentations will begin appearing in this issue of The Faculty Advocate (see below).
The conference has given a major boost to part-time faculty organizing and student activism at UMKC, as well as to ongoing full-time faculty battles at institutions in the region. The membership of the newly founded UMKC Part-Time Faculty Association is growing, the organization is attracting support from full-time faculty, and it held a spirited two day teach-in and rally on the Scofield Hall steps March 21-22 (see report below). In the week following the conference UMKC students held a one week boycott of the Sodexho Marriott corporation, which has a campus food monopoly and significant investments in the private prison industry. The UMKC boycott preceded by several weeks a nationwide series of campus actions against Sodexho. The conference also furthered campaigns by full-time faculty against arbitrary and unjust administrative treatment, in the UMKC Dental School, School of Education, and College of Arts and Sciences, and at the University of Kansas and Kansas City Kansas Community College. Finally, the conference helped sow the seeds of a regional Education for Democracy network. It currently numbers over one hundred members, who can provide mutual consultation and support.
Because The Faculty Advocate is publishing contributions from non-members of AAUP, it is instituting a new copyright policy in order to protect these authors. From now on the entire contents of each issue is copyrighted (except for public domain material). The Faculty Advocate, April 2001, Copyright 2001 by the UMKC Chapter of the American Association of University Professors. All rights returned to authors upon publication. Permission to reproduce and distribute is granted to all AAUP advocacy and collective bargaining chapters, state conferences, and the national organization. Permission for other non-profit publishers is a formality, but UMKC AAUP asks them for the courtesy of requesting it. Contact the Editor, Patricia Brodsky: 816-235-2826, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
News of the Chapter
There has been a lot of AAUP activity since the last issue of The Faculty Advocate appeared in February. On campus, the AAUP has begun to develop a strong presence. Our most ambitious and successful project was the March 3 conference, "Education for Democracy: Fighting the Corporate Takeover." We continue to support the activities and demands of the newly formed UMKC Part Time Faculty Association. AAUP members participated in the two-day informational rally held on campus by the PTFA March 21-22 (see below), and Chapter Secretary Pat Brodsky will present the PTFA with checks for $260, received from part-time faculty organizations and individual members in California and New Jersey. The spontaneous donations came in response to news about UMKC Part-Time Faculty activism circulated in conjunction with the March 3 conference. The AAUP has also kept a close eye on developments in the School of Education (see update above). Several dozen AAUP members voted on very short notice to support School of Education faculty in their efforts to defend faculty responsibility for governance and hiring.
In keeping with the avowed goal of the March 3 conference, to create a network of education activists, we have also spread our energies beyond the UMKC campus. In February Chapter President Stuart McAninch spoke at Kansas City Kansas Community College on "The Origin of the Modern Bureaucratic Educational System during the Early Twentieth Century." And on February 24 four members attended a meeting of the AAUP Assembly of State Conferences, which was held in Kansas City. Speakers from the national organization in Washington, DC presented workshops on a number of topics, including grievance procedures and faculty governance issues.
On April 28 members of the AAUP and the PTFA will travel to Columbia to participate in the Annual Spring Missouri AAUP Conference (to be held at the Holiday Inn Select, just off I-70). The theme of the conference is "The Present and Future of the Profession: Non-Tenure-Track, Adjunct, and Graduate Student Faculty." Outgoing Missouri Conference President David Gruber (Truman State University) stated that the "panel on non-tenure track faculty will largely be a 'grassroots' effort ... bringing new and diverse voices into our AAUP conversations, providing a forum for those for whom building a professional voice is not always easy, and working together to establish forms of activism for quality and good professional practice." UMKC faculty members Mindy Fiala, Harry Blanton, Andy Cline and Steve Dilks will make presentations.
Finally, the Chapter will soon be on the web, posting The Faculty Advocate, materials from the "Education for Democracy" conference, and links to other important academic and education web sites, as well as breaking news stories.
News from UM Columbia
The AAUP chapter at UM Columbia is making plans to publish a newsletter, "inspired by the example of the UMKC- AAUP chapter," wrote MU Chapter President Sudarshan Loyalka. The proposed contents of the first issue reflect questions of interest to us here at UMKC as well, such as "The State of MU Faculty Governance," and "The MU Academic Grievance Debacle." The MU faculty has asked the national AAUP to consider an investigation of grievance procedures and case outcomes on the Columbia campus. The Faculty Advocate will cover this situation in a future issue. There will also be a piece on "The School of Medicine: Where it is Coming From, and Where it Ought to Go," emphasizing the particular importance of AAUP membership for medical school faculty, and an article entitled, "Non-tenured Faculty: Name Withheld in the Absence of Academic Freedom?" Pat Brodsky's articles on post-tenure review from The Faculty Advocate (December 2000 and February 2001) will also be reprinted in the first issue.
Food for Thought
by Patricia Brodsky
Last issue's "Food for Thought" column (February 2001) examined the draft hiring plan for the College of Arts and Sciences. Not surprisingly, there has been no response from the upper administration. No relief for shrinking departments is in sight, and, as this issue goes to press, the single most urgent matter being discussed on campus continues to be hiring--or the lack of it. A related problem, a by-product of the malign policy of starving departments and stone-walling the faculty, includes increasing competition among units for crumbs. This issue's column takes a look at the administrative strategies I call The Stall, The Feint, and The Gladiator.
1. The Stall
Currently a number of vacancies in A & S departments remain unfilled, some of several years' standing. Major programs are being threatened and quality of instruction is being put on hold, as programs shrink or are prevented from expanding and developing. Faculty teach overloads, and planning for future semesters more and more resembles a game of chance. It's not as if there had been no discussions with the Chancellor about this. We are told that these matters must await salvation-by- Blueprint. Departmental needs are, so the implication seems, small fry in the visionary sea and will have to wait their turn. We have received no direct, honest answers, let alone a real dialogue or assurances that our urgent needs will be met. This is the tactic I call The Stall. Deploy evasive rhetoric, and maybe the faculty will tire quickly and capitulate.
2. The Feint
A closely related tactic is to distract attention from serious questions by emphasizing process over substance. We can see this at work in the latest developments in the School of Education.
At a recent Senate meeting, in which the problems regarding chair searches were first raised, the Chancellor proposed that instead of the Fact Finding Board requested by School of Education faculty, what faculty and administrators needed was a retreat, with a facilitator to help them work out their differences. Fortunately, the Senate insisted on fact finding, but in a conciliatory gesture also voted to support the idea of a retreat. While a retreat, in theory, might help promote dialogue, given the demonstrative silence and disdain this administration has shown toward legitimate faculty concerns, its intent is more likely to undermine faculty resolve through co-optation than to bring the administration to forthrightly address the substantive issue of the faculty's rightful role in governance.
Administration intentions were revealed more pointedly on April 13, when the School of Education faculty were informed that the Chancellor had frozen all open positions in the School. The freeze on five faculty positions was added to the chair searches in the divisions of Curriculum and Instructional Leadership and of Urban Leadership and Policy Studies in Education, which had already been suspended by the Dean in March. The manner in which the latest announcement was made confirms Administrative disdain for the faculty. Faculty were already actively engaged in on-campus interviewing for the faculty positions, and only one of the two affected divisions was informed, while the other found out through the grapevine.
At press time no further information had been provided, including the purpose of the freeze or its intended duration. Since the School of Education faculty's original complaint was against highhanded and unilateral administrative acts that marginalized and degraded the faculty, the "medium" of this latest decision would seem to be the "message." If faculty rightly insist on their primary responsibility for hiring, a responsibility mandated by AAUP guidelines, then cancellation of the searches bears a certain resemblance to reprisals. Only time will tell whether this surmise will be borne out.
3. The Gladiator
Another administrative tactic is to pit programs and departments against one another, like gladiators. It claims a shortage of resources, or produces a shortage by withholding them. This is the classic tactic of divide and rule, known in one of its more notorious contemporary versions as the "zero sum game." In this way, heat is taken off the the administration, which has yet to demonstrate its commitment to maintaining the College as the traditional core of an undergraduate education.
The conditioned reflex to turn on one another, exhibited by academics of a certain kind, is satirized in a Booth cartoon that appeared a while ago in the New Yorker. It showed a group of cavemen crouched around the skeleton of some prehistoric beast. The spokescaveperson says that the leader "has called us together to fight over the meat. It has been pointed out that there is no meat, so we will now fight over the bones."
For a long time A & S programs have been subsisting on a low nutrition funding regime. A new component of this diet, prescribed by the "Blueprint," is the policy of "enrollment management," that is, the production of ever greater numbers of tuition-paying bodies. Rather than making hiring and core program building a top priority, the administration sings its perennial song--"Alas, no money!" It dangles rewards before those departments whose enrollments increase, yet refuses to pay for faculty to attract, teach and retain those new students. Unfortunately, some faculty in the College, rather than joining ranks with their colleagues in other departments to demand the necessary funds, have opted for divisive policies and behavior.
For several years in a row the Curriculum Committee of the College has presented the faculty with a draft proposal for a revision of the A & S graduation requirements. Under the slogan of giving students more "flexibility" in their choices, they pitted departments against one another with the assertion that if students weren't "forced" to take courses in one set of departments, they would enroll in courses offered by another set of departments. In addition, because all Bachelor of Science degrees require between 60 and 77 hours, BS majors have difficulty graduating within four years (120 hours is a typical four year load), because their major requirements are added on top of 70 hours of A & S graduation requirements. By comparison, 20 of the 26 Bachelor of Arts majors (17 out of 20 in the humanities, arts, and social sciences) require between 27 and 40 hours (the remaining six require 42 to 60 hours).
The latest draft proposal made deep cuts, however, not only in the Bachelor of Science but also the Bachelor of Arts graduation requirements. It targeted for reduction or elimination requirements in literature, philosophy, international culture, humanities and fine arts. In addition, the Foreign Languages Department was singled out for quadruple punishment: reduction of the language requirement, elimination of foreign literature courses from the humanities and fine arts requirement, elimination of the literature and philosophy requirement, and inappropriate inclusion of first semester beginning foreign language courses in the international culture requirement. In other words, the traditional liberal arts curriculum was on the chopping block. Finally, the Curriculum Committee insisted its proposal be voted up or down with no amendments.
At its April 10 meeting the A & S faculty voted 36-23 to table the proposal. Arguments against it included concerns about "cheapening the product" by foreclosing opportunities for intellectual development, and eliminating a broad and balanced exposure to the world of thought provided by faculty guidance. Many statements stressed not competition but cooperation among departments, team-taught courses, interdisciplinary approaches, and new ways of defining a liberal education. It was also noted that the faculty at large had not been invited to be part of the process of revision.
The most promising result of this debate has been the desire of many faculty members to continue discussing how the College of Arts and Sciences envisions a liberal education today. In this spirit two Chapter members, Gayle Levy and Drew Bergerson, offered an invitation to all faculty to take part in a series of meetings during the summer devoted to this issue. The goal is for faculty from many disciplines to determine what kind of intellectual, cultural, and civic development we want our students to have attained when they leave UMKC. If these meetings succeed, they could help unite the faculty in a project that is fundamental to the teaching profession and its responsibility to the students. Then we can stop fighting over the bones and instead demand the meat.
Corporatization of remedial reading programs
by Janet Behrend
Reading Recovery ® is an early intervention reading program for the lowest progressing first grade children. The highly trained Reading Recovery teacher designs a reading program specifically for each child and works with the child for 12 to 20 weeks one on one. The goal is to bring the child up to or above grade level in that time. Many times a child goes from the very bottom of his/her first grade class to the top by the end of the school year with this intervention. With a national success rate of 83%, Reading Recovery is seen as the most effective early intervention program available today.
Recently I attended a Reading Recovery conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, in the same week that George W. Bush was in town. During the conference, I had the opportunity to speak to a woman with the state of Arkansas Department of Education about his visit.
GW's people had asked her in advance to set up a visit to a successful elementary school in Arkansas that did not have Reading Recovery. She replied that there were no successful schools in Arkansas that did not have Reading Recovery. GW's people told her to keep trying, but if she just could not find one, he would visit a school with Reading Recovery on the condition that the school not mention Reading Recovery, and that the Reading Recovery teacher not call herself that, but say she was a reading specialist.
Why this big fear of a successful reading program with a proven track record? If we look at the kinds of programs being pushed by the people around Bush (most notably the right-wing Heritage Foundation think tank), we might understand it a little better. Funding legislation for reading initiatives is being rewritten to make it possible to get federal moneys only for scripted reading programs. There are several out on the market, DI (or Direct Instruction) and Success For All being two of the most prominent. These are expensive programs, with a lot of the money going into purchasing their mandatory scripts and classroom materials. Start up costs for Success For All run around $72,000. There is a great deal of money to be made on these types of programs.
Furthermore, they don't work. Not for struggling readers, most of whom come from low SES areas. Somehow, these children are not in on the script. They don't know their part.
Compare these programs with Reading Recovery. Reading Recovery is operated through a non-profit organization, the Reading Recovery Council of North America. RRCNA has no products for sale except a list of approved books and videos, tapes, and publications that aid in the training of Reading Recovery teachers. No one will get rich from Reading Recovery (unless they start paying the teachers what they are worth).
And here's another
twist. GW is pushing a plan currently in use in Texas to address
the teacher shortage. In GW's home state, school districts can
pay private corporations like Sylvan Learning Center $3,000 to teach
anyone with a Bachelor's Degree how to take the state teacher's exam
and get certified, thus by-passing the teachers colleges
and university teacher training programs. But then, who needs to
how to teach if all you have to do is read a script? [Editor's
the replacement of (expensive) skilled with (cheap) unskilled labor is
same strategy used in corporatized distance education;
see Faculty Advocate, September 2000]
In the meantime, Bush's friends in the publishing business and corporate education will get richer while a disproportionate number of low income children will struggle with reading and the gap between the haves and the have-nots will get wider.
Janet Behrend is a Reading Recovery ® Teacher Leader for the Kansas City, Missouri School District and Adjunct Faculty at Southeast Missouri State University.
Potential Consequences of International Trade Agreements for Higher Education
by Franklin W. Neff
For many of us older folks, the concept of the university has meant independence, commitment to truth, and a skeptical attention to existing ways of thinking and doing--and a source of creativity, analysis, and alternatives. However, the reality today is quite different. Many forces operate on the colleges and universities to induce them to trade independence and skepticism for financial support and business accolades. I will consider the implications of international trade agreements for the pervasive corporate influences on higher education.
First, let's consider some basic beliefs which underlie these international trade agreements that accompany and promote globalization. For many years, trade negotiators of the United States have been pursuing policies which reflect particular economic and political doctrines about free enterprise, how markets work, and the claimed benefits of competition in all aspects of life. This dedication--of many members of the elites--to promoting the power of corporations over more and more aspects of life has produced colleges and universities which dedicate resources to the kind of cost/benefit analyses that assign dollar values to human lives and human catastrophes, ignoring tremendous human and material costs which are transferred to individuals and the community.
Maude Barlow, a Canadian who has been fighting so-called "Free Trade" since the 1980's, wrote in an article which appeared in the National Post on August 31, 1999:
The dominant development model of our time is economic globalization, a system fuelled by the belief that a single global economy with universal rules set by global corporations and financial markets is inevitable. Everything is for sale, even those areas of life once considered sacred. Increasingly, these services and resources are controlled by a handful of transnational corporations that shape national and international law to suit their interests. At the heart of this transformation is an all-out assault on virtually every public sphere of life, including the democratic underpinning of our legal systems.
The most important tool in this assault has been the creation of international trade agreements whose tribunals and enforcement measures supersede the legal systems of nation-states and supplant their judicial processes by setting up independent dispute resolution systems that exist outside the confines of their courts and their laws.
For instance, the North American Free Trade Agreement gave American corporations Chapter 11, the first "investor state clause" in any international agreement. For the first time, a corporation can sue a foreign government if that government enacts any law, practice or measure that negatively affects the company's profits or reputation, even if that law, practice or measure has been enacted by a democratic legislature for legitimate environmental, social, health or safety reasons.
To give Maude Barlow's language the life of actual events, here are some examples of disputes which corporations have brought under that chapter of NAFTA.
Potential Impacts on Education
Now let's turn to those agreements most relevant to education. During the Uruguay Round of negotiations, which brought the World Trade Organization into being in 1994, an agreement was made in regard to services and is called the General Agreement on Trade in Services, or GATS. Agnes Bertrand and Laurence Kalafatides, in an article in the Ecologist, October, 1999, wrote: "The service sector ... is as vast as it is undefined. It covers everything from telecommunications to transport, distribution, postal services, insurance, the construction industry, environment and real estate, as well as tourism and entertainment industries of all sorts, from the McDonald's in Moscow to the brothels of Bangkok."
And more specifically about education, Abid Aslam in Washington, D.C., wrote for the IPS news network on November 3, 1999: "Question: Why is education like a side of beef? Answer: Both are commodities ... Schooling, along with health care, telecommunications and finance, falls under the 1994 General Agreement on Trade in Services...." Aslam quotes a report from two groups, Education International and Public Services International. The report, "The WTO and the Millennium Round: What Is at stake for public education," states: "An opening-up of the education sector would give a free hand to a small number of transnational corporations specialising in education, who could establish subsidiaries wherever they pleased by using ... standardised teaching modules ... based on a single system of values and projecting a single outlook on reality." (See "Corporatization of remedial reading programs" above ).
International trade agreements, which are built around so-called "free trade" ideas, have certain provisions which take power from the people and their elected governments, local, state, and national, and give rights to transnational corporations. Here are some examples.
1. National Treatment. A government (that is, in democracies, the people) cannot "discriminate between foreign and domestic suppliers of services." A government has to provide foreign corporations "treatment no less favourable than that it accords to its own like services and service suppliers." For example, governments cannot "discriminate" against a foreign corporation by requiring that it hire locally or establish a local presence or do anything else that "modifies the conditions of competition" between domestic and foreign corporations.
2. Government grants and subsidies. The GATS covers subsidies, and commits members to negotiate to eliminate any "trade distortive effects." Governments could not require corporations to be local in order to qualify for a grant. E.g., governments could be obliged to give loans to students attending foreign-owned institutions.
3. Application to all levels of government (Article I, 3a). The measures covered are those taken by "central, regional or local governments and authorities; and (ii) non-governmental bodies in the exercise of powers delegated by central, regional or local governments or authorities ..."
4. Domestic regulation. Governments have to ensure that their licensing requirements both for facilities and for service workers, "are not more burdensome than necessary to ensure the quality of the service."
5. Weak exemption for
public services (Article I,3b, 3c). The agreement does have an
for "services supplied in the exercise of governmental
But to qualify, a public service has to be a) the sole supplier of the
service and b) not operate on a commercial basis. Once there is a
private competitor--and the GATS guarantees the right of private
providers to set up one--public providers
may lose the protection of this exemption.
Thus, the international trade agreements cut the heart out of methods by which the people in a local community can promote the development of enterprises which will be responsive to their concerns, reflect their culture, and provide income and services for the people.
It is instructive to see how the World Bank deals with education. Adriana Puiggros, a professor at the University of Buenos Aires, wrote in an article titled "World Bank Education Policy" (NACLA Report on the Americas, May/June 1996):
the world Bank ... recommends drastically reducing public investment in education through privatizing and breaking up school systems, and nullifying teachers' contracts. Such a restructuring of the education system is part of a larger effort to wipe out the remnants of the region's so-called "paternalistic" states.National exam results in many countries have declined significantly since the application of neoliberal policies.
The Bank's education policy has an exclusively economic logic ... A researcher ... affiliated with Argentina's Minister of Economics, Domingo Cavallo put it recently, "What we try to measure is how well the training provided by each school fits the needs of production and the labor market." The World Bank advocates reducing all investment in education that does not generate direct income or cannot be recouped right away ...
The Bank's education policy is part and parcel of a larger neoliberal economic program whose overarching goal is to reduce state spending so that governments are able to continue making payments on their foreign debt ...
One of the principal recommendations of the World Bank's education policy is that governments focus on improving primary education. To achieve this goal, the Bank does not recommend increasing public spending on education; rather, it proposes diverting money that used to go toward financing high schools and universities in order to expand access to primary schooling....
Far from acknowledging the need for more teachers, the Bank recommends cutting back the number of primary school teachers as well as government-funded teacher-training and education programs.
In the 1990s--the age of neoliberalism--education levels across the region have declined. Illiteracy is making a comeback in countries such as Argentina and Uruguay whose literacy rates were traditionally as high as those of developed countries ...
The elites like Margaret Thatcher's acronym, TINA--T I N A: There Is No Alternative. They are dead wrong. But we have to convince the peoples around the world that democracy means that the elites cannot steamroller, discount, or bamboozle them. We must promote alternative views that advocate ways people can and should stop the actions which cheat them. We must build programs and governing processes which are of the people, by the people, and for the people.
How shall we do this? I think we may have to live a different expression of the word, democracy. We will have to do the task ourselves, not avoid the responsibilities which the term implies and vote occasionally. We can change the membership of our legislatures. We can get laws and policies which benefit people. We can change or end the international trade agreements which solidify corporate control.
It can be done. We must do it.
Frank Neff is a retired professor from the UMKC Institute for Human Development. This paper was first presented at the AAUP's March 3, 2001 conference, "Education for Democracy: Fighting the Corporate Takeover." He can be reached at 14035 West 91st Terrace #3, Lenexa, KS, 66215; or email@example.com
Breaking the Ice: Spring Equinox Part-Time Faculty Rally and Teach-in
by David Brodsky
On March 21 and 22 the Part-Time Faculty Association at UMKC held a rally and teach-in on the Scofield Hall steps facing the main quad on Volker campus. The aim of the rally was to publicize the demands of Part-Time Faculty for a living wage, benefits, a contract, and respectful and professional treatment.
Although rain cut short the rally on March 21, TV stations broadcast reports three times during the evening. On the 22nd things got off to a cold gray start following heavy rain and an administrative order to shut down the rally--reportedly to put on a good face for the UM Curators, who were meeting on campus that day. But because the organizers had secured a permit, the rally proceeded as scheduled from 10 AM to 2 PM. About noon the sky cleared completely, revealing a warm sunny spring day.
Many members of the PTFA participated and some full-time faculty pitched in. Over half a dozen leafletters greeted passersby on walkways leading into the quad. Teachers held their classes outdoors and people stopped by just to talk and pass the time of day. The normal exercise of public sociability was restored. Part-timers made new friends and gained new supporters. The audience at any one time was modest in size, but the rally's central location insured the message reached a significant number of people.
A large number of performers took the mike on Scofield Hall steps. The bulk of the program was devoted to the outdoor public celebration of non-commodified culture. Students and faculty sang songs and gave readings from their favorite literary works, a natural activity for the many participants who study and teach in the cultural disciplines. Unremarkable as it may appear, it took some courage to peform literary readings outdoors on campus, in the face of a local and national assault on culture, including in educational institutions. In the past several months, for example, the entire foreign language department was eliminated at Drake University in Des Moines (Chronicle of Higher Education, 9 March 2001) and the entire classics program terminated at Loyola University in Chicago (Chicago Tribune, 21 March 2001).
The selection of readings fit the occasion. A graduate student read long excerpts from John Dos Passos' USA trilogy, another speaker recited in its entirety Alan Ginsberg's poem, "Howl," a third delivered Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal." There were many shorter verse selections, by W. H. Auden, Langston Hughes, and Lloyd Daniel (a Kansas City poet who spoke at the "Education for Democracy" conference), as well as original compositions by the speakers. Several Part-Time Faculty had professional singing voices and one, praising "long dead socialists like Joe Hill and Gene Debs," intoned the song, "Joe Hill."
A UPS delivery person walking through the quad asked whether there was a picket line, since his union honors them. He was told, "not today, but come back in a while."
By serendipitous coincidence, the UM Board of Curators was scheduled to meet at the University Center on March 22. While the meeting was in progress, about ten demonstrators marched from the quad to the U Center. Inside the building they walked in dead silence, among other reasons because they were being shadowed every step of the way by oversized plainclothes security guards. The marchers exited the building unscathed.
The PTFA rally signalled a triumph of organizing and activism, overcoming decades of stagnation at this institution. Following right on the heels of the "Education for Democracy" conference and the student TEA Society boycott of Sodexho Marriott, the event further fed a new spirit of social activism, as well as ordinary sociability, pressing to emerge on the first two days of spring.
Some older faculty remembered a not so bygone era, when the agora and the forum were unexceptional features of life on US campuses, and remarked on the rarity and welcomeness of the event. Besides supporting the Part-Timers, the rally provided a place for public free speech, breaking the melancholy silence, crabbed alienation, forced cheerfulness, and morbid apathy that have reigned here for all too long.
The UMKC community owes a debt of gratitude to the Part-Time Faculty for reviving the campus. The best way to honor this debt is to show active support for all their demands.
MLA survey on part-time salaries: UMKC ranks near bottom
The Chronicle of Higher Education of 5 Jan. 2001 reported the results of a nationwide Modern Language Association survey of part-time salaries in English and foreign languages. Doctorate-granting institutions at the top of the scale paid contingent faculty beween $5000 and $7200 per course, while those at the bottom paid between $1575 and $2000. UMKC, with remuneration of $1800, has the dubious distinction of ranking in the bottom category nationally of doctorate-granting institutions. The report listed five two-year colleges that paid $3500 or more per course. Over half the departments surveyed did not respond, leading one professor to speculate that "unethical practices flourish in secrecy in this profession."
AAUP Summer Institute 2001: Consider Attending!
Each summer the national AAUP sponsors a four-day long institute for members, held at a different college campus. The meetings are valuable for current and potential state and chapter activists interested in developing their chapters and conferences into more effective advocacy organizations. This year's Summer Institute will be held from July 19-22 at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware.
As an added incentive, each year a certain amount of financial support is made available to individuals by the State Conference and the National AAUP, in the form of "scholarships." To find out about costs and financial support, e-mail David Gruber, Missouri Conference President: firstname.lastname@example.org
The workshops provide much useful information, and help attendees become more involved in the Chapter and sharpen their leadership skills. The Summer Institute also provides a great opportunity to meet faculty from other institutions, learn from each other's experiences, and develop invaluable networks.
This year's participants can choose a combination of workshops, including "The Effective Faculty Handbook," "Higher Education Data and Research," "Contract and Grievance Administration," "Strategic Communications," "Chapter and Conference Management," "Distance Education and Intellectual Property," and "Organizing and the New Academic Labor System."
In addition there will be short seminars on the relation of faculty to Higher Education organizations, such as the American Association for Higher Education, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the Association of Governing Boards, which are frequently used as sources by the press; "AAUP 101: Getting to Know Us," an informational seminar is intended primarily for those attendees who are new to the AAUP and its work; and "Teaching Legislators: An Introduction to Lobbying"--skills that we could definitely use in Missouri.
We urge you to seriously consider attending this year's Institute. For further information, see http://www.aaup.org and click on "Conferences."
Below is a form for local dues. If you haven't paid local dues in the past 12 months, please print it, fill it out, and send it with payment of $10 to Timothy Thomas, Spencer Chemistry Building (make checks payable to UMKC-AAUP). The Chapter needs your dues to survive. Chapter meetings, holding conferences, and publishing and distributing the newsletter cost money. Please help your Chapter do its job of working for you and the university community.
Current members : Your national dues may also be coming up for renewal. Please check the date, and renew now. If you can't recall when you joined, Tim Thomas (235-2297, or email@example.com ) has the information. You might also consider paying your national dues by payroll deduction. For information contact Pat Brodsky (235-2826, or firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Colleagues who haven't yet joined: The special New Member rates for national dues are still good through May 31, and membership extends for 12 months from receipt of payment in the national office. Full-time faculty pay $67, an Associate Membership is $50.50, Entrant or Joint Membership $34, and Part-time or Grad Student Membership $17.50. Local chapter dues remain $10/year for all members. Mail national dues to: AAUP, PO Box 96132, Washington, D.C. 20077-7020.
Chapter dues: UMKC-AAUP, 2001-2002
DEPARTMENT OR UNIT _________________________________________________________________________
UMKC PHONE __________________________________ HOME PHONE ________________________________
PREFERRED MAILING ADDRESS _________________________________________________________________
Return with payment of $10 to Timothy Thomas, Spencer Chemistry
Building. (235-2297, or email@example.com ).
Make checks payable to UMKC-AAUP. See other side for
The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 1 (September 2000)
The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 2 (December 2000)
The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 3 (February 2001)
AAUP chapter home page