Testimony of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, on the Higher Education Act, before the Senate Committee on Education

American Federation of Teachers (1979-10)

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ID: 3480106

Title: Testimony of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, on the Higher Education Act, before the Senate Committee on Education

Creator: American Federation of Teachers

Date: 1979-10

Description: Testimony to the Senate Committee on the higher education act.

Subjects: Education Reform

Location: Washington, D.C

Original Format: Testimony

Source: American Federation of Teachers,. (1979, October 3) Testimony by the american federation of teachers on the higher education act before the senate committee on education. 8.

Publisher: WPR

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1" Dupont Circle, N.w. Washington, D. C. 20036
(202) 797-4400

OCTOBER .3, 1979

·TESTIHONY OF Dr. Iiwin P61{sh60k.Vice Presiderit American Federation of Teachers~ AFL-CIO .Before the Senate Subcommittee on Education On The Higher Education Act.
October 3, 1979
Mr. Chairman and Hembers of the Cornmittee:
The American Federation of Teachers. AFL-CIO, w'elcomes the opportunity to present our vievlS on the Higher Educa.tion Act. As you knovJ) the AFT is the largest representative of college faculty members in the United States& Hore than 75,000 AFT members teach in onr NationVs colleges and universities and the AFT is the exclusive representative for the faculties of public systeLils in New York. Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania) New Jersey. Vermont~ as well as, representing individual colleges allover the Nation.
The actions contemplated by this Suhcor:.::n..i.ttee and the actions taken in the past have profound effect on the health and effectiveness of our higher education system. We note vlith apprecia tlon and respect the landmarks in higher education already achieved by you.r legislative work.
The Basic Education Opportunity Grants program has made a ~ollege education affordable for thousands of students ,;1ho might. not otherwise be able to pursue higher education and has eased the burden of middle-income families faced with choices bet"lcen necessitiE:s and higher education.. Othe.r Gran.ts and the Loan program have cle?-rly provided the means for a college ed'ucati.on to manyo And. v7hi1e we are not in favor of all aspects of the loan. program, '(V'e do acknm\rledge a cont::i.J:luing necessity for loans in finaI?-cing higher education..
vIe. also com'l;'~nd the fine v70rk by this Subc.ommittee in 1976 with the estab-•lishment of t.he teacher center program. I-1hile teacher center programs are still a small struggl:tng federal program, the concept is nOIY established and it i.s our hope that.in time these benefits can be extended to teachers all ov(~r the country. H.e kno,\. that. this Subcol1!uittce shares that: goa1o
The AFT has many higher education interests; it "'QuId be impossible to spell them all out no matter hOl;1 much time 'lYe had. For example, Life-Long Learning. The program) that :i.s currently on the books. has simply not attracted enough support ill. its cur;:ent forlll in part because of the massive pressures on the federal budget. We believe that an effective response to these pressures would be to create a pl:ogram that ",auld reach-out and tap the funds already availa~le nation--,vide for continuing education. Nany programs have been negotiated by unions to cover their members educational costs. Testimony given to the
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House Education and Labor Committee indicates that there are at least 198 current plans in existence with more being negotiated each year and that these plans provide a potential of more than $200 million for this purpose. It is our belief that channelling this large amount of private sector dollars into a coherent plan will do more to advance life-long learning opportunities than anything currently on the books. It. can be esped.ally significant if such plans ",ere uncovered and publicized in conjunction with programs offered by existing educatiohal in~tit~tions. A small amount of federal seed money could be used to coordinate the putti.ng together of programs, dollars and students.
As \vi th many other federal programs) a relatively small amount: of federal money can trigger benefits far out-of-proportion to the amount of federal invest•ment. This is just a concept but we believe the Subconmd.ttee should examine it seriously as it begins its Reauthorization of Title I of the Righm.:-Edueation Act.
With regard to the student loan prmlisions of this 1(c~8islation~ 'V(~ would like to make it clear that vlh:Lle He support roost of the content of the current legislation as well as its intent (which we belteve is to increase educational opportunities for students) 'lye do so ',Tith some reluctance and one major pr:Lnclple obj cct:l0l.1o
This objection is based in th!:; exte:nt to which 8ue1l. loan programs offer incentives t.o the states and the i.nstitutions to incxease thei.r costs; e.ncour2.ge the notion that students bear even greater responsibility for their education E'){perl.f::e~; than is now the. case; and therefore. drive clm'ln enrollments aIHong those portions of our population which are in most need of hiGher education. namely ~ the ll.d.rt():ci ties and tl.w poor.
Thf'~J:'(:: has been much contradictory and often coafusing d;:1i~a offm:ed fl.g to the J:eal impact of fcde;:al [;tudent aid dollars alL the ac1lJev:~wer;.t of t:'l12 goale; of equality of access and opportmdty VJithin higher education. Bec.ause of this, Fe full.y endorse the establishment of a "National Commission on Student
'0, LOaIwli and urg(~ i:hai. t.he utmost c.ar(~ be given to assn)':e that appoi.n.t:e':::G to this body he representative of those constituencies most effected by tile spect~e of: [3pJx:;:;ling :.Lncrr:;:tses in college casU,. lye vlOulc1 [l{..;svme that tI,e first: ol'dc,-of husine:'3s of this Commission i.;rQuld be to mi:1k.e an aSSe;.:lSl.nent of the effect of this legislation upon students Leorn families of all income b:cackets, as \'Je11 as to develop a realistic definition of Hhat it eonst:itute:.; t.o he a tineedil Bt:udent in these inflationary t:lmec;.
We vlOuld also expect the Commission to develop mec.han:LslTls vlh~i.eh would encourage both the institutions and the states to maintain their current levels of support of student assistance pro8rams so as to insure that the entire burden of a student's educational cost do not become transferred to the student or the federal government in this entirety. In the interim. we support the maintenance of current programs as provided in this bill. We oppose steps to increase interest rates to loan users as a step toward student loans out of the reach of 100\'t:r--anc1 middl.e-·income families.
The American Federation of Teachers supports the full funding of student aid programs; the Basic Educational Opportunity Grants, Supplemental Educational
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Opportunity Grants, Nat:1.onal Direct Student Loans, State Student Incentive Grants, College Work Study and Guaranteed Student Loans are essential: We especially support the phasing out of the "half-cost" provision of the BEOG VJhich \>le feel discriminates against low-income students attending relatively low-cost public institutions as well as the increase in size of the maximum BEOG grant to $2700 by 1980.
The Urban Grant University Act is one of the most prolD...l..s:mg feder'al lnitiatives :tn higher education·--and in solving the Nation r s urban pro"blems 0 It would encourage colleges and universities to become intricately in.volved in assisting cities by applying their human and y-nowledge resources to the solution of urban problems and to the proffering of urban public·sc\vlces.
Categorical aid should be exte.nded rat.her than e.liminted. He also support the categor.ical aid program for coLLeges and universities depending on. federal suppo:ct ~ college library grants ~ library training and resenrc:h,. community services, a:ad cont.inl.l::'ng educati911 ,public service f el10\·n;hips , mining f('110\"8h1p8, 1m" school clin.ic e>;;)ericnce~ edueation iufoJ:!U<ltion centcTs, state post--·secon.dary conuniss:l.ons ,.md career e.ducaLl.on.
We also strongly support the rec.orf1!nendations tl18t the minimmJ1 ~"age he paid to ntucknts working under the. College 1-101'1<. Study Act. Students nOI-l wm:ld.ng :Ln colleges a.nd unive}:s:i.t..i.es for sllch I)}~:Lvate busine.sses as fast..· food establishments and the 1:1ke D.'.·C'. pail f3ubmj..niml1.lTl "mges and have D.O p:r:ot.ect:l.on against su/:h explo:Ltat::Loll. under tlllO: lau In D.dcl:i.tioH i the AFT oppo~;("u the
extension of college "'10:,'1<. study jolw to 1'1\:: private ::;cctOl~. Such <.I de·\T(:J.opmc:nt
v!i}ulcl. ine,.r:U:ably ·.r.e,ult in the c.U.splo.cemcni:: of fu.ll ·U.mc U()}~kc·?n3 c:·:··~d a
w:i.nc1fal.l to pLi.vate se.c:tor emplGye:f:s \\1h.0 'FouJd "CC::'C'.e:t..ve u fed.eraJ.. suhsidy f()):
t;h(2:i..:': pc~yj:ol1"


He c:U:ongly 011.<10:(Oe 1eeo!.sJ..a.U:;re. ]JYOV:J.. ,;:l.On,; ttl':'.!: gua.J.·a.ntc.e tcacb.e:co. a major:ity voice. on tcn.cher C;C'D.ter poli.cy boards. \Oh~ are SLlPP01·i.:i:ve of the cLLt:(~d..a. fOJ: proposal rocLec.U.on. that 8ives '\;1e.:Lght to e.videnee of teacher :i.J:lvolv(>.rnent in teacher center ('\(::[:>5.gn. and J.mplC'menta.U.on, It is our firm convicU.on that this emerging program needs stability durtng this fir.·sl: funding,'cyc]e:. Therefore, ",e suggest that changes that would signific,::;n.t1y alter the legislation should be scrutinized to determine their lonf',-range
hie pr()pose a five···year funding·-cye::lc for teacher center projects that would include. a one'-year planni.ng period.. This recommendati.on is basc'~d on the evidence collected from the teacher centers funded by the Teacher Center Program. The p1anni.ng year wi.ll provide time for policy lJOard members and the. directo)~' of the project to de.velop a cooperative'; Horking relationship and deslgn program activities that realistically meet the needs of the teachers in the service area. Many of the documented start-up problems that arose during the past year could have been avoided by this planning stage.
, ..

rage i'our
We re.commend a five-year cycle to insure the time for institutionalization of the teacher center after federal support has emerged because of the collabor•ative efforts of teachers, administrators, university faculty and school board members. This unique element that exists in the governance structure of teacher centers must be given time in order to achieve a significant impact on teachers and students.
The extension from three to five years is not without precedent in federal programs. We point to the Teacher Corps Program as one example. Historically, districts have not placed in-service education on the list of priorities in the education budget, so we recognize the fact that a shift in emphasis must be given a reasonable length of time to hring about lasting results. Commitment to tea.cher in-service education and teacher centers v.Jill be insured if the positive effects are evident within a district and schools are turned around because of this success factor.
In line \-lith these objectives, ,,,e also recollID1end that the five···year funding period apply to the teacher center projects presently funded by the U.S. Office of Education, to insure the successful institutionalization of those projects already in existence.
He applaud. the f;ign.ificant contribution of the Te.".cher Corps I'rogr.:ull to the improvement of teache~ preservice and in-service c~ucation. We .support the inc.;"c;:wed e.ffort:, to d:L~;seminate 1nfonnation Elnd stu(Ues that focus on success:C"Jl iJrojects, il1Dtruction.:::\. techniques and strateg:i.c:~:; that: Lave been. generated by ~eacher Corps specialists.
He urge eonsick:(ation. of a more collal)orative f:C:'ioc"lOrk for tb.C! commufcU:.y counc:il 1>ll.dch is electe.d "La ass:L[;L t.he local educational [(ge.ney or the :i.nstitution of higher education or bod,. :Ln. the pJ::lJ.uing" :i.mplementat:tan and eva.Ina. tion of proj ects ..• It Since the local S (':bo01 Iloanl member n are the elected reF':esentatives oL the c:i.tizf:cns in the dist.r:Lct, Selloel noard members should nc-r:·p (: ,,,ith other cornmunity repres(·,ntaU.ves on. the advisorJ group. He recommelY'. that the Community C01.Ulcil be replaced by a School Com~Q..:.m.ity Advisory C:::oup. Elementary and secondary t.cac.llcr n;~presentat:i.ves HOl:)ld serve "lit.h Sehoal Board mC:ll1:)(~~rs in an D.dvisory capac:U:y to 1:11.0. local educat:Lona.1 agency. This group would not hav~ veto power.
During the past decade~ the American Federat.ion of Teachers has su.pported the concept of an internship program· that \V'ould provide assist2nCt~ to IW,·l teachers. It is in this same spirit that we propose that a new section be added to the Teacher Corps legislation that would prov:i.de funds for support for BEGIl~:r.t~g)1:ACHEr~. This support progr81H should serve the BEGINNING TEACHERS in the T(~<icher Corps Scl100l8 in particular because of the complex problems facing them in their ne\V' prof[~ssional role. He recommend further that this program be extended to other non-·Teacher Corps Title I Schools. BEGINNING TEACHF,],S in all Title I schools cOtlld be supported in their early professional development by such a program.
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. '
Funding would be used for released time [or consultation, work with experienced teachers in the teacher center and observation in classrooms managed by successful teachers. The project \-JQulcl be guided by an Advisory Board which would include representatives from the school board, the teacher organization and institutions of higher education. Their function would be to act in an advisory capacity.
-~ During this time of declining enrollment and greater stability among school staffs in elemen.tary and secondary schools, we recommend that the ratio of five experienced teachers to one should be changed to ten expr:!rieucpcl ,teac:hers to one rWI,j teacher.
He reeoJ11.lllcnd full funding for both Te;:J.c.lw.J:· Centers and the Teacher C01'pS progrs.n. He congra.tulate this SubcommitLee for the time. you have put into Ll~L, hearing and hita the study of these :Ls~;ues. On heInIE of the American Federation of Teachers. I wish to th~nk you for this opportunity to tCf.:tify,
'l'he. lI:ner::Lccu:l FC/(>H!.t:!.on of Teacb .if] lHoJieves that the kindn of progrcutlc,
mean that the atmc,,::pherc right for initiation of a major lcgi.::o T;·,t::i.v8 thrust empl12::;izing inl~crnaU.onal and language stu.dies. At the level of elemi.·,.i:axy and
secondary education, e011.c(":cn for educatic,,·t1 qua.lity D.ncl stcmc1::: . .'c',c should enable
us to el\)~ich the cl.ll':cLculum Hith languar;0 studies and solid SUbSl~3.Dxive con-"
• t 1 t . " ' " ~'! 1·1-d"....··L'-aJldJ· 11(-r.y!,. 1,,,1'."_'ve j-,.j'lPt.
centraLJ,on on. 1.S81.1('.;-> :1a. requJ.re J,ll cernaf.J"(').J 0 ••• _'l ..,.!.. ;c> ..... ·6· \.• ~~ ,'" "
one of the best \>Jays to beg:Ln creating support for these areas is to broaden the
knmvlec1ge and c.apabilities of American teachers:
(> .La~g.ua&~~12.~!.I].EuL2..l!z.ht to _pe offeTed on. a bro~~.1!'cal~ to all types of teachers. In order to create respect and :i.nterestI~1-LTles-tlt(iY of language, its pursuit should not be restricted to the domain of language teachers. Teachers who know and appreciate foreign languages \vill serve as role models to their pupils to do the same. Language teachers who are currently faced vii th declining interest in language stuely could be used to staff such programs •
. We believe that if such programs were organized in relation to pro•
fessional c:xchange. and ot.her intern.ational. pT:ogy.·arfls~ they viOuld eneourage
teachCT:O to learn "lbout edu.cat.i.on an.d othe): :l.SGUe.s a.broad This uou.ldo
ultimately ha.l!c ,,1. cln~y···ove:c. 9fEect in ClaSE3J:00Y1:s\> since inte.l:'l1.B.l:ional

:Lr,suer; in eJassrooTIm. The fact that teache.rs h.ave suunuc:c U.IU!? aD.'~: tn'::
bc:ne:f:Lt:s U.e.J to ~~t:ucJy l1u,k.f' it lik.cly th2t sud!. progr[-J.m~; "",ouIJ. be usnd,
() Ji)iT]!§l'2:.~l~(::.~,..(~1:._.t:_e:.0El:~!~E?....l:T": .!(1..g_1~_._t:E:~:._.~:~_~!:-llj~1JI.._o.L. }:.~n '1~~.0~~ ,
'.Chef,!? exc.h::mL(!S ",auld be one: Hay to facj.LLt2 i:e. l.angu.age. teaching Hnd at the':'.ll:<l.0. _~~:g!.~~ enc0ura;y~ 1]]1'.': c;;;tioHe.l er1.1.1c.(3.t~Lon (. Jr"u::r:Le,:-lTl tC':;:).c1.1crs cou,J.d tC.~:-~i: '.11 Eilg.~i_:L~·~h in.
rXf-:tnCe~ EO'.r C~~<Dj.tlP:.!_:·.'·;.. a~t~_r3 f:CC.ftC.J.l t.ea.c:l;_c-;:~·j COlI1d ·i~E;:.\c11
Jrrc:~n.e1"~ h.F:.:rc ~ )i~xcl1;:~r13r:~~:: co;:.J(l. bt,;. fOJ~' /1, f~~)~}r.:i_·.~~·:l.{·: (;"i}".:dJ.":":..:::
(.it: tiln{:';. a.Yld ()lj. a OD(~ f()l~ 011C: b8.~.::-:.. f:; ::;"} Ll:t":.t n.o jcl) lC'C'~~[:3C.~:·;
Vi()lx.1.d CJC:Ct1.)':' il'J. e:Ll:.l;c-l:c c.~}~_to.t1:y (.

langu.2.,gr.·~ inct:rnc:tio(! skills Uirough insenrice C(Fj~C~('.s, and \<7ho had facility in another language,
The vD.lue of such programf:; ,wuId be in dwir many possJble. aceonlpl:Lsh·_· ments, 142 cou.ld help l:aise an intc.:"est in }::'lguage instruct:Locc here; promote cross-professional unJ~TstandinB; encouJ:age international relationships between teache:t:s and the:Lr or!';anizat1on,;; genera te an interes t in the subs tanee of international studies; and develOp a group of teachers WilD could pursue all of
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; . . ~ these things once t.hey.came. back.·to .the· U.nited States.
o J....~'3 uc~g~.:.-_~_!: aj:Ei2~_g__c.:>y_g}~~__~~o _~~.__~!f er_~E:_.!~g....).ab'?E....J:~f':.?.:.r:~E~'."
E2:l;~~~':'1_~?_?__Er:~.:e r ~pe0t £~t:_j:ye~_..~Il(L.t:.~~.J~~Eer aL_~.~~~!:t:.....E'?.E!~:· l~~~~:i:~_llv Since language teachers are av;;d.J.able~ the schools should be granted a first priority :i.:n terms of administering such programs ..
He believe that the sc.hool~) offej~ an ide~d. Gite for [)I.leI,. t:cn:Ln:Cng

(3.f1(:.:;..0 Oct:oh:! 3" 1979

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American Federation of Teachers, "Testimony of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, on the Higher Education Act, before the Senate Committee on Education," in American Federation of Teachers Historical Collection Historical Collection, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University, Item #3480106, https://digital.library.wayne.edu/aft/items/show/110 (accessed February 17, 2018).


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