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Legislature Should Let Community College Faculty Manage Their Own Affairs

Feb. 21, 2014 | | Guest Opinion by Karen Strickland and Michael Boggess

If you or someone you know has taken a class at one of Washington's community and technical colleges, there is a 50-50 change that the instructor was a part-time faculty member. For decades, higher education institutions across the country have increasingly hired part-time, adjunct or contingent faculty to reach, primarily because of shrinking state funding. [full article]

"Pay it Forward" aims to change how students fund college

Feb. 21, 2014 | USA TODAY | Alex Koma, Collegiate Correspondent

The "Pay it Forward" program may change the way students pay for their college education. A bill making its way through Washington state's House of Representatives has the potential to change the way students pay for college. . . . "The program is addressing a problem we all agree exists, but the problems outweight the benefits," says Karen Strickland, president of the Washington chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, . . . ." [full article]

"Pay it Forward" aims to change how students fund college

USA TODAY  | February 21, 2014 | Alex Koma, USA TODAY Collegiate Correspondent

A bill making its way through Washington state’s House of Representatives has the potential to change the way students pay for college. Instead of paying up front and taking out student loans, state Rep. Larry Seaquist’s “Pay it Forward” program would let students pay for their education after they graduate by deducting a set percentage of their future income for up to 25 years. [full article]

Bill aims to eliminate up-front college costs

February 16, 2014 | Lisa Baumann

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Students in Washington state could be among the first to go to college without having to worry about paying tuition up front. Instead, under a bill proposed in the House, they'd pay after leaving school in the form of a small, fixed percentage of their future income for up to 25 years. . . . The idea of former students paying as long as 25 years is just one piece of the bill that bothers Karen Strickland, president of AFT Washington, a state federation affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. [full article]

AFT Washington President Karen Strickland on the importance of a public education system that supports those who work at schools and colleges with adequate resources and professional development as well as providing the community and students with the ability to achieve their dreams.

She believes that the two major routes to creating social and economic justice are public education and the labor movement. Watch Karen's video at


Green River Community College Faculty Want Increase in Salaries


Seattle Times Education Blog | by Katherine Long, reporter | Nov. 22 with update on Nov. 23

More than 150 Green River Community College faculty members presented a petition to the college’s board of trustees Thursday asking that an increase in state funding be put toward a boost in faculty salaries, particularly for adjunct faculty. [read full story]

Why Is the Media Biased?

From the AFL-CIO Blog | Berry Craig, Guest Columnist

The Scoop on Media Bias

Berry Craig, recording secretary for the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO and a professor of history at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, is a former daily newspaper columnist and Associated Press columnist and currently a member of AFT Local 1360.

Why is the media so anti-union?

This old reporter-turned-history-teacher could retire if he had a dime for every time he's heard a union brother or sister ask that question. [read full article]

Faculty Fears in Washington

Inside Higher Ed | October 17, 2011

It just got easier to lay off full-time faculty members in Washington State, thanks to a declaration of financial emergency last month by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. But some faculty leaders say the board’s move is more about a power grab than saving money.

Either way, faculty members are worried about the possibility of layoffs. And some observers say other cash-strapped states could try similar maneuvers. [Read full article]

'Emergency' Decree Worries Faculty Union

The Seattle Times | 10/13/11

By Donna Gordon Blankinship
The Associated Press

The decision to declare a financial emergency at community and technical colleges is drawing concern from the union that represents faculty at the schools.

Last month's action by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges would allow individual colleges to declare their own financial emergencies and then have an easier time laying off faculty without having to adhere to some contracted job protections. (Full article).

Washington School Workers Honored for "Making a Difference Every Day"

Washington News Service | September 2, 2011

KENT, Wash. - Employees at several Washington schools are getting a national nod today as part of "Making a Difference Every Day," a campaign by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to call attention to the good things happening in classrooms around the nation despite budget cuts and layoffs. [more]