Marc Bousquet has an interesting response to Obamba’s initiative to pump some money into higher ed, in particular community colleges. The short of Bousquet’s concerns, which I think is warranted, revolve–for one– around the consequences of the top-down organization of cc’s:
Louisville fails for the same reason many community colleges fail: they put cheap, permanently temporary teachers (students, retirees, moonlighters, folks willing to work for status) in the front lines of first-year courses, and then–desperate to armor-plate the curriculum against the uneven preparation of the faculty–convert the tenure stream into supervisors of the temps. The bribe for the tenured overclass includes being freed to teach only the fraction of students who get through the obstacle course of the first year or two.
But this suckiness is what Obama and Duncan like about community colleges and enterprise universities like the U of L. Not the low graduation rates–they’ll pull at their chins thoughtfully and agree with you there.
What they like–no, love–is the organization of community colleges, the top-down control of curriculum, the tenured management and the disposable teachers. That’s perfect! Community colleges regularly fire union officials and anyone else who gets in their way.Continue reading →
Nicolas Sarkozy this week faces the first mass-protests over his handling of the financial crisis as unions prepare to paralyse France in a general strike uniting train-drivers, air traffic controllers, journalists, bank staff and even ski-lift operators.
“Black Thursday” is the first general strike since the French president’s election in 2007. All the leading unions have joined forces to protest that the government’s stimulus plans should focus less on companies and more on workers’ job-protection and purchasing power. The protests reflect a mood of social unrest that has been building for months. Unemployment had dropped in the first half of last year but it is now spiralling, particularly among the young, and is forecast to reach 10% in 2010. The recession is predicted to be worse than thought while flagging exports and consumer sales have hammered the manufacturing sector.
The strike will unite private and public sector workers from schools, hospitals national TV and radio to postal services, bank clerks and supermarket employees. Even helicopter pilots and staff from the company that operates the French stock exchange are taking part. High school pupils, university lecturers, lawyers and magistrates will also protest a raft of Sarkozy’s reforms and planned job cuts. Despite the predicted chaos, one poll found that 70% of French people either support or sympathise with the strikes.
Over 200, 000 teachers in Kenya have boycotted work since early this week, paralyzing learning in schools with a view to forcing government to accept their terms over salary offers. This strike action followed several meetings with the government that failed to resolve differences over a payment of Sh. 17.3 billion salary increase. Sources in the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) disclosed that the matter has been referred to the industrial court for arbitration and obtained orders stopping the strike, but officials at the Kenya National Union of Teachers Union (KNUT) argued it had not received it.
In this week’s online edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education there are some rather telling stats in an article reporting on an annual salary survey under the headline “Median Pay Increase for Colleges’ Mid-level Workers Beats Inflation.”
Midlevel administrators at colleges and universities received a median salary increase of 3.9 percent for the 2007-8 academic year, exceeding the rate of inflation, according to an annual survey released last week by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. The increase is slightly greater than that of the 2006-7 academic year, at 3.8 percent. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers rose 2.8 percent in the past fiscal year.
Midlevel workers at public institutions saw a 4-percent gain, compared with a 3.7-percent increase for their counterparts at private institutions. That difference was consistent with last year’s figures (4 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively). The survey comprised 1,125 institutions, and the numbers reflect 206 jobs, including those of accountants, doctors, lawyers, and security guards. Like last year, the highest-paid midlevel administrators were staff doctors, with a median salary of $122,648. Staff lawyers and veterinarians were the next highest-paid. The lowest-paid midlevel employees were security guards, at $26,355.
By institutional category, workers at master’s-degree institutions and two-year colleges saw the greatest median salary increases, at 4 percent — slightly higher than the gains at doctoral institutions (3.9 percent) and bachelor’s-degree institutions (3.8 percent). Median pay increases at specialized institutions were slightly lower than in 2006, at 3.5 percent.
There is also a chart by salary/job title/institution type available here. I wonder how these operations were able to accomplish such an increase…could it be the rise in contingent faculty? Of course not, that couldn’t be right. I’m far too naive to even think that.