Public Higher Education Quality Initiative
New York State’s system of public higher education-the largest in the nation-is the essential path to economic opportunity and equality for our students. Yet, SUNY and CUNY have suffered close to $2 billion in cuts over the last six years, driving up tuition, imperiling opportunities for students and threatening quality and access. The Public Higher Education Quality Initiative is dedicated to ensuring quality, opportunity and access at public colleges and universities across New York State.
Today, students are shouldering far too much of the weight in funding the academic services and programs offered at these campuses. The Governor again grossly underfunds public higher education and adds insult to injury by subjecting our campuses to ill-conceived pay-for-performance schemes designed to hide his lack of support for our campuses and our students.
NYSUT Urges the Legislature to:
* Provide increased funding and a real maintenance of effort for SUNY and CUNY four-year campuses that includes mandatory costs (collective bargaining, energy and other inflationary costs). We must keep the promise made to our students that increases in their tuition would be used to enhance academic programs and services. It should not be used to fill budget gaps because the state is not paying its fair share.
* Provide an increase of $250 per full-time equivalent student to begin to move towards the promise that was made by the state forty years ago to provide 40 percent of operating costs to community colleges. We must reclaim this promise to these campuses, which are the gateways to public higher education for hundreds of thousands of students in this state.
* Create an endowment to restore and rebuild SUNY and CUNY academic departments through the addition of full-time faculty and professional staff, ensuring the quality courses, programs and mentoring students deserve.
* Reject the Governor’s cuts to SUNY hospitals and restore funding back to the 2010-11 level of $128 million. Reject the ill-advised proposal to authorize private business corporations to own or operate hospitals, which will lead to the privatization of our SUNY hospitals. Re-program the $700 million in capital funding to restructure health care facilities in Brooklyn to be used for the development of comprehensive ambulatory care facilities.
* Reject the Governor’s assault on teacher preparation programs. The Executive Budget includes language to bring about policy changes that would negatively impact teacher preparation programs and teaching students. The proposals are grounded in the New York State Education Department’s deeply flawed and poorly implemented new system of teacher certification exams. If enacted, the proposals could: lead to a dramatic and irreversible decline in college-based teacher preparation programs; reduce access to and diversity in teacher education; and lead to educationally unsound standardization of teacher education curricula.
* Invest strongly in student financial aid and opportunity programs, updating and reforming the state’s Tuition Assistance Program, to advance a strong system of public higher education that ensures quality, access and opportunity for all.