Campus Free Speech proves with its new report, Facts Still Count, that David Horowitz's recent books are not honest in their criticisms of campuses and faculty. The Center for Campus Free Speech is affiliated with the Democratizing Education Network, and a great source of information regarding important academic freedom and campus free speech issues.
As part of the Free Exchange on Campus Coalition, Campus Free Speech has just released a new report: Facts Still Count.
The Center for Campus Free Speech releases there Guide to Student Activity Fees - a primer on the legal issues involved in creating and managing a student activity fee system.
Student fee systems are used by students across the country to provide the resources for a wide variety of out-of-classroom activities.
Students fund everything from service organizations to advocacy to educational forums and guest speakers. They debate and learn about critical issues like multiculturalism, the environment, education policy, conflicts in the Middle East and religion. They learn new skills and create change on major problems the world faces.
Student activity fees give involved students the resources to create a vibrant marketplace of ideas on campus.
This report, by John Schmitt and Ben Zipperer of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, updates an earlier report from January of 2007, which found a steep rise in illegal firings of pro-union workers in the 2000s relative to the last half of the 1990s. It updates the index of the probability that a pro-union worker will be fired in the course of a union election campaign, using published data from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). It also takes into consideration the increase in card-check organizing campaigns that began in the mid-1990s and adjusts the index for this factor.
"Democratizing Our Universities to Confront Climate Change" was a workshop held at PowerShift 2009, in Washington, DC. The speakers are Ben Manski of Liberty Tree and Meaghan Linick-Loughley and Atlee McFellin of New School University.
Location: Barcelona, Spain Presented at the International Seminar on Participatory Democracy "Participatory Democracy. Political Actors and Social Movements" AbstractDiagnosing Democratic Collapse The U.S. political system suffers from a potentially fatal condition, a malady that can be diagnosed as "Democratic Collapse." The causes of this collapse are known: First, the consolidation of corporate control of the establishment political parties. Second, the sacrilegious enshrinement of corporations as persons under law, entitled to constitutional protections against citizens and governments.
Ben Manski is a Fellow with the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution in its Local Democracy and Democratizing Education program areas. He served as Co-Chair of the Green Party of the United States from 2001 through 2004, and was active in the U.S. student, labor, peace, and environmental movements throughout the 1990s. Ben has a degree in law from the University of Wisconsin, and has written on the corporatization of higher education in the United States.
An organizing guide for students, faculty, staff, and community members interested in promoting democracy in higher education, and a higher education system in service to a democratic, inclusive, society.
Evan Thornton at the Democratizing Education Convention, Madison, Wisconsin
To place the Canadian student movement in context, I want to start with a brief overview of the national affiliations on a typical Canadian campus, which I hope will help give an idea of the significant difference in the nature of the challenge faced by Canadian student organizers compared to their U.S. counterparts.
Faculty and Academic Staff:
Starting with teaching staff, the campus will typically have unionized Faculty Association that are affiliated nationally with the Canadian Association of University Teachers CAUT which represents 48,000 teachers, librarians, researchers and other academic professionals. In its own words CAUT is:
Evan Thornton is an associate of the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, and director of University Watch. Thornton has three decades of experience in campus organizing, first as a student union organizer, then with labour, and most recently as director and editor of University Watch.
Uwatch.ca is an independently incorporated, non-profit donor-financed organisation largely run by volunteers committed to the vision that universities ought to be transparent institutions serving in the public interest. It is also intended as an umbrella organisation linking various stakeholders, including interested private citizens, community groups, students, student governments, agencies, think tanks, and so on.
Published in TNI's "Beyond the Market: The Future of Public Services" In January, 2006, Liberty Tree's Ben Manski and Patrick Barrett travelled to the Social Forum of the Americas in Caracas, Venezuela, where they made presentations on the state of the democracy movement in the United States. Ben Manski also participated in the international release of a new yearbook on public services, to which he and John Peck were contributors. Read their survey of corporatization in the United States, together with their analysis of what can be done about it, below.
Hurricane Katrina destroyed as yet uncounted lives, communities, and ecosystems. The hurricane also destroyed popular visions of the US state, sweeping away the last vestiges of federal paternalism, revealing the costs of corporatization in its wake. Years of budget cuts, cronyism, and corporatization rendered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) incompetent to manage this greatest of national emergencies.
This report was drafted by Mishy Leiblum and Jed Murr, retreat participants from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Photos by Ben Manski. The retreat was a project of the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution's Democratizing Education Program.
VIRTUAL MARCH & PHONE-IN
Calling everyone: Email and phone-in right now . . . Tell the corporate sector and politicians to end the education cuts!
Every community college, tech school, and university in the USA is experiencing the same thing. Major cuts in public funding. Massive tuition increases. Ballooning student debt. Collapsing educational quality and staff support. Young people dying in Iraq for the price of an education. The word for this situation is crisis.
Right now, college administrators, state legislatures, governors, and federal officials are preparing for the next round of cuts in funding, quality, and access. If you are unwilling to allow the crisis to worsen
- if you're willing to do something to make it better - take action.
The Dover Delaware United Nations Association will be celebrating World Water Day!
We will be passing out statistics and requests for water advocacy as well as offering car pooling to events sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia UNA and the League of Women Voters luncheon to discuss Economic Disparity.
In the second half of the meeting we will read an article together and then and request support for "Move to Amend." Come join us!
Organizers of March 4 actions to defend public education
An all-day conference on April 24 at Santee Education Complex: 1921 South Maple Avenue, Los Angeles, bringing together schools, student organizations, labor unions, committees, coalitions, and parent and community organizations across the state with a call for involvement from all education sectors – Pre-K-12, Community College, CSU, UC, and Adult Education. The conference is intended to follow on the massive March 4 actions in California and natiowide to defend public education.
The organizers write:
The future of public education in this state - particularly for the working class and communities of color, who are being hit especially hard by the cuts - depends on our ability to unify and push forward the struggle in defense of public education.
The purpose of this Statewide Mobilizing Conference is therefore both simple and extremely urgent: to democratically discuss and decide on a unifying political platform and plan of action capable of bringing together schools, student organizations, labor unions, committees, coalitions, and parent and community organizations across the state to deepen and push forward this powerful and broad movement that shook the state and the country on March 4th.
We ask activists, organizations, and mobilized schools across the state to put their full organizational capacity into helping us collectively to build and promote this conference. We ask for maximum participation from all education sectors – Pre-K-12, Community College, CSU, UC, and Adult Education - and regions, and from all organizations of workers, teachers, and students, and we extend the invitation to all mobilized schools and organizations across the country. Get your union, student government or parent-teacher organization to endorse, attend, and participate in the conference.
The decision to call for this conference was made at the Statewide Mobilizing Conference of October 24th, 2009, where over 800 people from all of the sectors of public education decided together to call for the March 4th Strike and Day of Action in defense of public education.
From August 24th to August 28, 2011 over 1200 people from around the country covened in Madison for a Democracy Convention designed to further the growing nationwide Democracy Movmeent. This event, sponsored by the Liberty Tree Foundation (which also sponsors the Wisconsin Wave) gave participants and organizers alike the skills to return to their communities and fight for Democracy where it matters most -- in our schools, our workplaces and local economies, our military, our governm
As people throughout the country struggle under the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, public education from pre-K to higher and adult education is threatened by budget cuts, layoffs, privatization, tuition and fee increases, and other attacks. Budget cuts degrade the quality of public education by decreasing student services and increasing class size, while tuition hikes and layoffs force the cost of the recession onto students and teachers and off of the financial institutions that caused the recession in the first place. Non-unionized charter schools threaten to divide, weaken and privatize the public school system and damage teachers’ unions, which are needed now more than ever. More and more students are going deep into debt to finance their education, while high unemployment forces many students and youth to join the military to receive a higher education. And all of the attacks described above have hit working people and people of color the hardest.
In California, students, teachers, workers, parents, and faculty have taken action against these attacks. They took to the streets in a one-day strike on September 24th, organized strikes and actions across the state during the University of California Board of Regents meeting from November 18th to 20th, and have called for a state-wide day of action on March 4th. These actions have created a broad mass movement in California, drawing in students from all over the state to create a powerful struggle. As the effects of the economic crisis continue to spread into the education system nationally, it’s time to join our voices with students and workers in California and draw inspiration from their example.
We support each group or coalition organizing in the manner and for the duration of their choosing. In solidarity with those in California, we the below-signed individuals and organizations call on students, teachers, workers, parents, faculty, and staff across the country to join together on March 4th to Take A Stand For Education!
A talk by Carl Davidson, who was Vice President and National Secretary of the Students for a Democratic Society from 1968 to 1976. He is currently national co-chair of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and a national board member of Solidarity Economy Network.
Carl Davidson’s talk will be introduced by Matt Rothschild, editor of the Progressive Magazine
Higher Education: Public Good or Global Service Industry?
While higher education was considered a public good and an essential instrument of democratization, upward mobility, and equal opportunity for much of the last century, today it is considered by many to be a lucrative business − indeed, the core business of the “new” service economy.
Major corporations see global “trade in educational services” – “transnational” or “borderless” education – as a lucrative business opportunity. While currently estimated to be a $40-$50 billion industry, the potential for increased profitability in a “global market” of higher education services is significant. For-profit educational providers and investors see the World Trade Organization (WTO) as an essential tool to dismantle “barriers to trade” in educational services and maximize their profit-making opportunities on a global scale.
However, what one party might consider to be a “barrier to trade,” another might consider a treasured educational policy. For instance, state licensing procedures that attempt to weed out fly-by-night operations might be considered sound policy domestically, but might be considered overly burdensome “trade barriers” by foreign educational providers attempting to enter the U.S. market. To create an effective “global market” in higher education services requires the dismantling of many such domestic educational policies.
Thus, at the behest of U.S. for-profit higher education providers, the Bush administration has proposed signing up the U.S. higher education sector to the free trade rules contained in the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), a global pact geared towards deregulating service sectors to the advantage of multinational firms. The GATS contains many rules which would jeopardize the following: educational subsidies for public institutions; state licensing practices for higher education institutions; U.S. accreditation practices; wages and working conditions for U.S. educators; and more.
For the most part, public and nonprofit institutions of higher education have been unaware that this march is afoot and are dangerously disengaged. They must weigh in on these matters before global trade rules are finalized in any potential new rounds of negotiations, and their profession is transformed from a “public good” to a commodity in a “global services market.”
What Higher Education Policies are at Risk?
Domestic educational subsidies: The GATS “nondiscrimination” obligation means that public sector funding would have to be shared on an equal basis between foreign institutions and domestic institutions unless public funds are specifically exempted from the terms of the agreement. The United States has attempted to safeguard certain domestic subsidies in broadly worded exemption to its higher education proposal. It is unclear if this language is sufficient to protect subsidies for public and nonprofit institutions.
U.S. accreditation policies: Unlike many other countries interested in the higher education sector, the United States is making virtually unlimited commitments in cross-border educational services. This means U.S. accrediting bodies could be inundated with requests to accredit overseas distance-learning operations. Refusals to accredit or delays in accreditation could give rise to a trade complaint, as language purporting to protect accreditation jurisdiction is only included in a footnote, of dubious legal consequence, to the U.S. schedule.
State licensing requirements: State licensing of higher education institutions is based on a large number of factors including standards to ensure financial stability and quality of educational providers; appropriate curricula; faculty qualifications; appropriate library resources and physical plant; needs tests to weed out duplicative programming; and other matters. Under new “disciplines on domestic regulation” being proposed as part of these talks, individual policies pursued by states as well as state-by-state variation in policies could be challenged in WTO tribunals as “more burdensome than necessary to ensure the quality of a service.”
Efforts to police fraudulent operations: While “borderless higher education” presents new profit-making opportunities for for-profit providers, the challenges presented to regulators are extreme. At the top of the list are concerns about fraud. While policing fraudulent institutions is difficult enough domestically, it is even more difficult across borders or in the online world. Many of the policies that U.S. states maintain or may want to pursue to protect students from scam artists could be considered violations of GATS rules.
Wages and working conditions for educators: The implications of the GATS for educators are also worrisome. New technology combined with unfettered cross-border supply of educational services is likely to generate further downward pressure on wages for educators. GATS negotiations also include proposals to increase the number of educators allowed into the United States on a temporary basis to provide teaching services and proposals to harmonize qualification requirements across borders.
What happens if higher education is subject to WTO jurisdiction?
• Other nations that are party to the GATS are empowered to challenge a nonconforming federal and state policy as a violation of the agreement in a binding dispute resolution system.
• State government officials have no standing before these tribunals and thus must rely on the federal government to defend a policy.
• The tribunals are staffed by trade officials who are empowered to judge, behind closed doors, if the policy is a violation.
• Policies judged to violate the rules must be changed, or trade sanctions can be imposed.
• The federal government is obliged to use all constitutionally available powers – for instance, preemptive legislation, lawsuits and cutting off funding – to force state and local government compliance with trade tribunal rulings.
Where do the movement to abolish corporate personhood, the Wisconsin protest wave, global resistance to austerity, and the voting rights, election integrity, anti-war, and campus democracy movements come together? Beneath the branches of Liberty Tree, committed to "building a democracy movement for the U.S.A." since 2004.