Category Archives: Tom Corbett

How academic managers SHOULD feel when they fire people

Via our comrade Kevin Mahoney at KU–

Graham Spanier, President of Penn State, said in a recent interview that the PSU funding cut is like to cost jobs “in the scores” in the university’s Agriculture school (it has to do with the fact that the positions aren’t funded such that increased tuition can recover them–there’s not a lot of detail in the article).

Anyway, as opposed to ANYTHING I’ve heard from PASSHE management as they’ve been retrenching faculty, fighting the union to stop us from getting preferential hiring for retrenchees (as the CBA demands), waving around the threat of further retrenchments as a negotiations tactic, and generally behaving reprehensibly cavalierly about other people’s lives…

pant pant pant…

… Faced with looming layoffs and firings, President Spanier says:

“The longer it takes, the longer we postpone getting to the savings. At the same time, we’re trying to be very fair to our employees and come up with ways to help them find other positions, severance, health benefits,” he said. “These are good people who work hard and really care.”

As I said on Kevin M’s Facebook page when he posted the article this morning, why the hell does Spanier sound downright heroic simply because he acknowledges that firing people is bad for them?

All I hear from PASSHE management is that the top priority is to “protect educational quality” in face of budget cuts. At the local level (and presumably at the state level also, but I haven’t talked with anybody about this), we’ve been pushing at every Meet and Discuss for management to recognize publicly that protecting jobs is also a high priority. While management nods and smiles, the commitment magically never gets made.

Graham Spanier is no hero. But at least he recognizes, and is willing to say so, that there’s a very high human cost to the state’s attacks on higher education.

It’s long past time for PASSHE to figure this out and to act accordingly.

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Budget Deficit, Collective Bargaining, Contract Negotiations, Graham Spanier, Office of the Chancellor, PASSHE, Penn State University, Retrenchment, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, West Chester University

Board of Governors approves 7.5% tuition increase

Another piece of the economic puzzle in place; the PASSHE Board of Governors approved a 7.5% tuition increase for the upcoming school year: to $6,240 per in-state student, up from $5,804.

Read more about it, including reactions from students and managers from KU and WCU, and the Chancellor’s Office.

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Filed under Budget, Budget Cuts, Kutztown University, Office of the Chancellor, PASSHE, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, West Chester University

More news on the budget

This press release just out from State APSCUF:

The budget that’s likely to pass (by the way, without ANY significant Democratic input whatsoever) imposes an 18% cut on the PASSHE allocation, which would require a tuition increase in the neighborhood of 10% to level off. We can rest pretty sure that the Board of Governors will approve nothing of the sort.

It’s well worth taking one more shot at calling/writing your legislators to make one more appeal on our behalf. There’s nothing to lose. And now that we have a specific number, we can make a lot more concrete arguments about how these cuts will harm our campuses; we can sound simultaneously less shrill and more certain. May as well give it a try.

And then get ready. The cuts management has been threatening for months are about to start getting announced. APSCUF will fight like hell to minimize the damage to our institutions inflicted by this absurd political theater playing out on the backs of PA’s families–students, staff, and faculty.

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, PASSHE, Public education, Shock Doctrine, Tom Corbett

Tentative Budget Deal Reached

The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting on Friday morning that the PA Legislature and Governor Fracker have reached a tentative deal on the state budget.

The preliminary reports are not good for us, although the numbers aren’t yet very precise. The article indicates that the “state-supported” universities will take a 19% hit, but doesn’t distinguish between PASSHE and the state-relateds. So we don’t yet know exactly what will happen to us.

If that 19% is even close to what we see when the numbers are released, we’re going to have lots of work to do protecting our system from the kinds of Draconian cuts we all know PASSHE already wants to make. Yet again, our state government has provided the cover under which our Chancellor and Board of Governors can radically overhaul our whole system, while pretending that it has anything whatsoever to do with economics.

As a pacifist, I usually am very stridently resistant to military metaphors, but in this case, … Oh hell, I still can’t do it.

But now at least the circular logic of management is laid bare: “We can’t afford to pay for anything [except more managers and management salaries]. Why not? Because we just gave all the money away. See?”

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Filed under Access, APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Budget Deficit, Collective Bargaining, Contract Negotiations, Office of the Chancellor, PASSHE, Penn State University, Public education, Retrenchment, Shock Doctrine, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, West Chester University

ACTION ITEM: Write your PA Senator NOW!

This letter went out to all APSCUF members from our Legislative Director, Laura Saccente, this morning. Some of you don’t read your e-mail over the summer, and many of you (who see the blog posts on Facebook) aren’t APSCUF members.

One editorial note–this version of the letter is addressed directly to constituents of Senator Dinniman. If he’s not your Senator, you should write to your own.

Laura’s letter explains why you need to do this, so I don’t have to. Just do it.

Dear APSCUF member,
 
In May 2011, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved a budget bill (House bill 1485) that would set the appropriation for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) at $427.8 million. While this is better than the originally proposed cut of 54 percent, it still represents a cut of 15 percent, or a $75 million reduction from last year’s state appropriation to PASSHE.
 
The budget proposal is currently in the Senate, and we need you to contact your Senator and ask for additional funding restoration for PASSHE.  Additional restoration could help keep a large tuition increase at bay and further reduce staff layoffs.   Please contact your own member, Senator Andrew Dinniman, the Education Chair, at andy@pasenate.com or (717) 787-5709.
 
Time is very limited and the budget will be wrapping up soon, so please take five minutes to send your email or make a phone call today!  Please do not use university email or stationary when making your case.  If you have already contacted your senator in recent months, this is the opportunity to follow up with him or her to request restoration of PASSHE funding.
 
When giving examples on the reason to restore funding, please consider how PASSHE has wisely used its appropriations dollars, how cuts may affect department/program cuts and class sizes, how a large tuition increase will limit the ability for some to attend, etc.  I’ve also attached a general budget message sheet if you need additional talking points.  Let your senator know today, before it’s too late, how the proposed cuts may impact your campus.
 
Thank you,
Laura Saccente

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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, PASSHE, Public education, Student activism, Tom Corbett, West Chester University

Our own Chuck Bauerlein in the Inquirer!

Folks:

Our very own Journalism/English faculty member and APSCUF Legislative Assembly delegate Chuck Bauerlein published this excellent letter in the Sunday Philly Inquirer–

In an article Monday (“On college funding, Corbett is half-right”), Timothy R. Lannon argues that slashing assistance to Pennsylvania’s 14 state universities and its state-related universities is a splendid idea – as long as Gov. Corbett shovels a percentage of the savings to students attending schools such as his, St. Joseph’s University, in the form of Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency grants. He figures “$78 million, or about 12 percent of the institutional aid reduction,” would be a nice figure.

This would indeed assist the students who attend private institutions. It would help defray the expensive tuition that schools such as St. Joseph’s charge (between $35,000 and $40,000 a year). It would also be akin to providing school vouchers, and would encourage families to send their children to private or Christian schools instead of public schools.

It would, however, hurt those lower- and middle-class families who cannot afford to send their sons and daughters to private universities. In-state tuition at the university where I teach is still less than $6,000 a year, a bargain compared with St. Joseph’s.

Corbett’s budget cuts will likely mean an increase in tuition at the state’s public universities. But parents who can afford to send their children to private Catholic schools should not benefit from those cuts.

Chuck Bauerlein

Assistant professor of journalism

West Chester University

Thanks, Chuck, for making this case so directly.  “Public money for higher ed” isn’t all created equal.

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Private higher education, Public education, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, Vouchers/School Choice, West Chester University

Follow the money!

I’m sorry to title this post with such a tired cliche, but dagnabbit, it’s right on target again!

As you’re likely aware, Governor Corbett is attacking not just public higher education but all public education in PA.  There’s legislation pending in Harrisburg that would transfer a huge chunk of the money Governor Drill-and-Kill (Drill the Shale, Kill the Schools) wants to cut from K-12 education into a voucher program.

From my early morning cruise through the blogosphere, two articles that help debunk the notion that vouchers are anything but money-stealers from public schools for private interests:

1. In Testing for Thee, but Not for Me, Kevin Drum reports the results of a study from Milwaukee Public Schools indicating (not for the first time!) that voucher-eligible schools are producing test scores that aren’t any better than their public school counterparts. So, all those lazygreedyunion teachers wouldn’t seem to be the problem, would they?

2. If you follow the KUXchange blog, you’ve seen them developing arguments, based on Naomi Klein’s notion of the Shock Doctrine, which holds (in simplistic terms) that the powerful often use rhetorics of crisis and disaster (shock) as smokescreens behind which they accrete power to themselves while people aren’t watching.  In Monday’s HuffPost Education section, Timothy Slekar from Penn State-Altoona applies the Shock Doctrine directly to Governor Drill-and-Kill’s K-12 budget proposal.  His most interesting finding, in my estimation, is that the voucher program in SB1, along with increased (you gotta be frackin’ kidding me!) testing requirements that add nothing to education, will ACTUALLY COST MORE than the proposed cuts would save.

Sometime later today, I’ll see if I can find this again, but about 6 weeks ago, I found evidence that the second largest individual contributor to the Corbett for Governor campaign is the guy who owns the Charter School Management firm that would profit the most from Drill-and-Kill’s “education reform” package.  Gee.  We’re surprised, aren’t we?

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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Budget Deficit, Follow the Money, K-12 Education, PA Senate Bill 1, PASSHE, Penn State University, Public education, research, Shock Doctrine, taxes, Tom Corbett, Uncategorized, Vouchers/School Choice

You Pay, Corporations Don’t (repost from KUXchange)

Yet another score from our friends at the KUXchange.  The CLEAR Coalition explains one reason why tax revenues in PA aren’t higher. If the link to the vid doesn’t show up in your e-mail (for those of you who get posts by subscription), just click through to the blog post itself and the video is there.

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Filed under Advocacy, Budget, Budget Cuts, Budget Deficit, Communities, Follow the Money, Shock Doctrine, taxes, Tom Corbett, Uncategorized

Corbett’s plan for PASSHE budget restoration

It’s taking almost all the inner strength I can muster not to launch into the most profane tirade in human history.  At what?  This proposal from Gov Kill-the-Schools-Drill-the-State Corbett:

Some Pennsylvania universities should consider drilling for natural gas below campus to help solve their financial problems, Gov. Tom Corbett said Thursday.

The Erie Times-News reported that Corbett made the suggestion during an appearance at a meeting of the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees at Edinboro University.

Corbett said six of the 14 campuses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education are located on the Marcellus Shale formation, part of a vast region of underground natural gas deposits that are currently being explored and extracted.

So let me see if I understand this.  The state should slash its appropriations to the state-owned universities in half.  Then, the universities, at least the six lucky enough to be sitting on gas reserves (not WCU, by the way) should poison their communities, students, faculty, staff, and anybody else within poisoning distance by extracting that gas using a method that’s demonstrably stupid and dangerous.

And who would get the contracts to perform the extractions?  Me wonders, yes, me wonders, My Precious…

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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Budget Deficit, Communities, Follow the Money, PASSHE, Public education, Tom Corbett, West Chester University

Two MUST-READ posts from the KUXchange (KU’s local blog)

1. If you’re still not convinced that the threat of retrenchment is real, even at WCU, where President Weisenstein has been telling us for two years now about the sound financial health of the university, you need to read Kevin Mahoney’s post, I Went to Harrisburg, and My Head Exploded.  I’ve known Kevin for a long time now and know that he’s often motivated to fight against this kind of madness but rarely taken by surprise.  Even with all the research KU-APSCUF has done in the last couple of years, it was hard to anticipate what they’ve found.

2.  Contributor mslibrarygoddess says it loud and proud, in Don’t Want to Accept Responsibility? Blame Teachers! A couple of marquis moments.

Responding to the assertion by some politicians that teachers are the greedy ones:

[R]ather than seeing teachers as advocates, the government is making them out to be greedy millionaires who want to line their pockets with your tax dollars.

Hmmmm….if that’s what teachers were doing, wouldn’t they all be politicians? After all, aren’t politicians the people that have taken jobs that were supposed to be civil service positions, things you volunteered for to serve your community and if you were paid it was a modest salary, and made them into career positions that eat up tax dollars?

And:

Teachers are more than teachers. We do the work of educators, counselors, administrators, disciplinarians. We become more than just someone standing up in front of a room lecturing. We become people that are charged with the emotional and physical well being o students in addition to their academic well being.

And we do it all while we are under appreciated, while jobs are being taken away, while class sizes are exploding out of control and the time of the year when we work is dedicated to nothing but work. And we get blamed for everything because we speak out.

Taken together, these two posts underscore the OBLIGATION we have to fight against a radical agenda that doesn’t want an educated citizenry, wants to funnel pubic money into private pockets, and doesn’t much care about what else happens to anybody.

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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Budget Deficit, Collective Bargaining, Communities, Kutztown University, Links, PASSHE, Public education, Retrenchment, Shock Doctrine, Student activism, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, West Chester University