Defend Public Education

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget for 2015-2016 lays out a punishing education agenda that endangers CUNY, attacks teachers and hurts students. It’s an austerity agenda that would decimate the state's public schools and colleges.

PSC’s statewide affiliate, NYSUT, is launching an ad campaign and mobilizing a massive grassroots response to the governor’s attack on public education and professional educators.

Read more, and visit the NYSUT campaign resource page for an activist’s tool kit, testimonials, and a list of 12 ways you can join the fight.

PSC to CUNY Trustees: No Contract. No Peace.

A hardy group of PSC members and leaders attended the Monday evening CUNY Board meeting despite the forecasted blizzard to keep pressure for a fair economic offer on the CUNY Trustees. The members carried signs that said “Still No Offer” and “No Contract. No Peace.” While at the meeting, President Bowen delivered a letter reminding the Trustees that the union holds them responsible for authorizing a contract offer without delay.

“During the more than five years since our last raise, costs in New York City have soared, CUNY enrollment has grown, salaries at competing institutions have kept pace with inflation, and CUNY faculty and staff have been required to take on bigger workloads as initiatives by college presidents and CUNY administration proliferate,” said President Bowen in the letter. “We doubt that any of you would work at your positions for five years without a raise, and you clearly did not expect a chancellor to work at the pay rate of 2009. Why, then, should we?”

CUNY Responds. But Where's the Urgency?

Board of Trustees Chair Benno Schmidt responded to President Bowen's message with a letter stating that the Board shares the Chancellor's desire to complete negotiations for collective bargaining agreements with faculty and staff. He closes by urging the PSC to continue working with the CUNY administration through "appropriate channels." As long as there is no fair economic offer on the table, the union will continue to communicate the urgency of our demand using all available channels.

PSC members, help press our demand for a fair economic offer by taking part in the Virtual Mass Action this Monday, February 2. Watch your email Monday morning for instructions on how to participate.

PSC Opposes Linking the NYS DREAM Act with Tax Credits for Private Schools

Statement from PSC President Barbara Bowen on the Governor’s plan to link the NYS DREAM Act with the Education Tax Credit:

“A cheer went up among the CUNY faculty and staff when the Governor announced his support for the NYS Dream Act in the Executive Budget, but it was immediately tempered by the news that the Governor had linked the DREAM Act to the unjust use of public dollars for private schools. There is no logical reason to link the two - the DREAM Act should stand on its own and not be held hostage to a regressive proposal on tax credits.

The DREAMERs are our students. As college faculty and staff, we see daily their courage, their passion for education, their determination to open doors for the next generation that were closed to them. They are the kind of students we dream of.
Passing the NYS DREAM Act this session would be a victory for everyone. All New Yorkers win when all New Yorkers have a real chance for a college education."

President Obama Calls for Free Community College

Last week, President Obama announced his "America's College Promise" initiative to provide community college education free to students who maintain 2.5 GPA. Under the plan, the federal government would pay three-quarters of the average cost of community college through the state, and the state would fund the rest of the cost. Students would have to go to school at least half-time and would continue to be eligible for full Pell grants and loans for other expenses (e.g. living expenses, room and board, transportation, etc.). In addition to the college GPA requirement, students would have to make progress toward graduation, certification or transfer to a 4-year baccalaureate program. The white house description of the program cites CUNY’s ASAP initiative (Accelerated Study in Associate Programs) was cited by the White House as an example of how this level of investment in community college students can dramatically improve student outcomes. Here are links to a NY Times article and an endorsement of the program from AFT president Randi Weingarten.

PSC Mourns the Loss of Former Executive Director Arnold Cantor

Dr. Arnold Cantor, executive director of the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY and one of its predecessor organizations for 25 years, died December 22, 2014. Long retired, Dr. Cantor was a resident of Stow, Ohio at the time of his passing. Colleagues posting condolences on the NY Times Obituary Guest Book remember Dr. Cantor as a staunch union man and an enormous influence on the development of the PSC into a major academic union.

“The PSC officers and staff mourn the passing of Dr. Arnold Cantor and offer our condolences to his friends and family,” said Steve London, PSC’s first vice president. Those who wish may contribute to the Dr. Arnold Cantor Memorial Fund, c/o The Cleveland Music School Settlement.

PSC Statement on the Killing of Two Police Officers

The Professional Staff Congress/CUNY condemns the murder of Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. During this period of mourning, we send our deepest sympathy to their families, friends and colleagues. Even though many classes are not in session, PSC colleagues have held moments of silence in their memory at several colleges.

The PSC will continue to work peacefully for a justice system that is fair to all and for a world no longer deformed by racism. Those are goals that can unite us all.

Time to update TAP and Pass the DREAM Act

PSC spent Wednesday, December 10 urging Albany to modernize the forty-year-old Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), with First Vice President Steve London advocating major structural changes and major funding increases to the program.

“City University faculty and staff know first-hand that TAP needs an update. TAP is failing part-time students, adult learners and undocumented students, to name just a few of the types of students who are underserved or ignored altogether by the program,” London testified before a hearing of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, chaired by Manhattan Democrat Deborah Glick.

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