The adjunct faculty at Miami Dade College have officially won the right to form a union.
The part-time professors, who make up a majority of MDC’s total faculty, won a narrow 14-vote victory on Wednesday to form a union with the Florida arm of the Service Employees International Union to lobby for increased wages, health benefits, added transparency in course assignment and — most importantly — negotiating power.
About 42 percent of the 2,790 eligible voters cast ballots in the month-long election, and the votes were tallied Wednesday in Tallahassee by Public Employees Relations Commission election agents. The state office conducts all union elections in Florida.
Proposed legislation in Florida would require public universities to survey students’ and faculty members’ political beliefs annually.
The bill, HB 839, passed a House panel last week, amid opposition from Democrats who expressed concern about how the survey data would be used. A similar bill has been proposed in the Florida Senate. Both chambers are controlled by Republicans, and Governor Ron DeSantis is a Republican.
The survey language, which is part of a broader set of proposed performance metrics, is short on details. There is no assurance of data anonymity or clarity on who will use the data, for what purpose.
The bill says only that the state university system’s Board of Governors will require public institutions to conduct an assessment of intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity on campus. Results would be published annually, starting next year.
[UFF Preface: As a new survey indicates, most Americans think that state funding for higher education has increased or stayed the same in recent years. Actually, it has decreased significantly.
In Florida, per-student state funding for higher education, adjusted for inflation, dropped by 19.1% or $1820 between 2008 and 2017. As a result, during the same period, average tuition at public four-year colleges and universities in Florida increased by 62.2% or $2436.
Between 1988 and 2016, students’ share of their own education costs went from less than 25% to almost 50%. That’s why paying for college has become so difficult for many low-income FAU and other students and their families.
And most Americans have no idea this is going on.]
by Jon Marcus (The Hechinger Report), February 25, 2019
At a time when so many employers are struggling to find workers who have university degrees, Tyler Duffield thinks supporting higher education is as obvious an obligation of state government as it is essential.
“It’s kind of unthinkable that the government would scale back that kind of thing,” said Duffield, 20, a North Carolina community college student majoring in environmental engineering. “Any country that chooses not to prioritize higher education makes itself less competitive in the world.”
[Preface: UFF and its affiliates, the Florida Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, have consistently opposed efforts to bring more guns on the campuses of universities, colleges and public schools. The president of UFF has testified at Florida legislative hearings to oppose guns on campus and in classrooms]
Terry Spencer, AP, February 11, 2019
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The nation’s two largest education unions reiterated their opposition to arming teachers as a response to school shootings Monday, saying more guns on campuses will make them less safe.
The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association joined with Everytown for Gun Safety to oppose proposals in Florida and elsewhere to arm teachers and staff members in response to the Marjory Stoneman High School massacre, which left 17 dead. The anniversary of the mass shooting is Thursday.
The Florida Legislature is considering a recommendation by the state commission that investigated the shooting to allow school districts to arm volunteer teachers who undergo background checks and training. The commission concluded that relying solely on law enforcement is insufficient because mass shootings are usually over in one to three minutes and police officers likely won’t arrive in time.
But the unions and Everytown say they oppose such measures for several reasons, including the possibility of students stealing teachers’ guns and responding officers confusing an armed teacher for the shooter. They said a study of New York City police officers showed they hit their target about one time in five shots during firefights, and teachers would be even worse. Those errant bullets would further endanger students.
[Preface: UFF believes student learning conditions are faculty working conditions. As a result, we believe the welfare of students are of the utmost importance for any faculty union struggle.]
Haunted by costly degrees and insurmountable student debt, American college students now spend more time working paid jobs than in lectures, the library or studying at home.
The vast majority of current students-85 percent-work while enrolled, according to an HSBC survey published Thursday. Students spend an average of 4.2 hours a day working paid jobs, which is more than double the time they spend in the library, nearly two hours more than they spend in class and 1.4 hours more time than they spend studying at home.
“The economics of the debt crisis have become a major distraction to students’ education,” said John Hupalo, founder and chief executive officer of Invite Education, an education financial planner. “Students’ first priority should be to get value out of their education, not squeezing out hours at a job in order to make money to sustain that education.”
Brian Philip is passionate about gun rights — so much so, he started the UCF Gun Club in 2015.
He said he believes there shouldn’t be laws that restrict gun rights. He argues that fully automatic firearms are no more dangerous than those that are semi automatic and modifications to guns should be legal.
However, when Philip, 25, heard about the 19-year-old UCF student who was arrested Tuesday and accused of having an illegally modified, fully automatic AR-15 in his car on campus, he said his first reaction was, “Wow, this guy’s kinda stupid.”
A freshman GOP legislator from Lake County has revived a bill that would allow some people to carry guns on college campuses — a proposal that has split his party in the past.
State Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, said he knows Senate Republicans in the past few years have successfully blocked campus carry bills, including former state Sen. John Thrasher, now president of Florida State University.
But, he said, that was because he felt “many people inhabiting political offices ignore the constitutional rights of their own citizens. They’re afraid of controversy … and they sidestep issues and kill bills considered more controversial.”