A coalition of faculty unions and organizations, including the California Faculty Association (CFA), the AAUP, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association, have created a “Campaign for the Future of Higher Education,” which outlines seven principles that these groups believe “should undergird higher-education policy over the next decade.” Today at Minding the Campus, Peter Wood comments on each of the seven principles and observes that rather than looking to the future, the campaign seeks to maintain the ivory-tower status quo. The principles will be presented to the public through a series of teach-ins, protests, and rallies in April, the key date being April 13, dubbed “Take Class Action Day.” Peter notes the Marxist imagery on the event’s poster, in which a black left hand forms a fist on a red background, and he points out the absurdity of characterizing the professoriate as a “class”:
The members of the occupation do not form a “class” in any meaningful sense. The “new class” of knowledge workers that sociologists such as Peter Berger used to write about doesn’t map neatly onto unionized faculty members. Rather, the faculty members are behaving more like pampered Detroit auto workers devoted to maintaining a system that produced overly expensive, low-quality cars that grew less and less competitive in the world market.
It all comes back to the higher-education bubble:
Americans are awakening to the reality that we have a system of higher education that does, on average, a poor job at very high expense. We are looking for alternatives and the chances are very good we will find them. That has the unions scared.