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July 2014

 

Billy Joel, Higher Ed. lobby days, the Committee of 100, and YOU
Sean Tvelia

 

There was no escaping Billy Joel in Albany. The song, I mean. The “New York State of Mind” song.

The FA had representatives in Albany to push for increased funding for both higher education and K-12 schools for two weeks in late February and early March.

This year’s higher ed lobby days were attended by FA president Kevin Peterman as well as FA activists Kevin McCoy and Matt Zisel.

In addition I attended NYSUT’s Committee of 100 meetings, along with our past president Ellen Schuler Mauk.

During both, we advocated for increased support for SCCC and all of public education to counterbalance years of declining funding.

We also spoke in support of NYSUT’s sustained campaign focused on higher education, the Public Higher Education

Quality Initiative. Using “Keep New York a State of Mind” as its theme, the initiative demands an end to chronic underfunding of SUNY, CUNY and the community colleges and a proactive plan for reinvigorating our state colleges and universities.

Over the last five years, SUNY and CUNY have suffered nearly $2 billion in cuts, which drives up tuition and endangers quality affordable higher education for all New Yorkers.

So much for the state law mandating that each SUNY community college’s operating budget be funded 1/3 by the state, 1/3 by the county and 1/3 by student tuition

 

and fees. As shown in the chart below, the burden clearly has been shifted onto the backs of our students.

Funding Pie Chart

I know that you, like me, feel the effects of that in our interactions with

students every day. So to reinforce our messages in Albany, here’s what you can do to ensure that our voices are heard.

• Go to NYSUT’s Member Action Center (mac.nysut.org) and fax your legislators. You’ll see numerous worthy causes (mac.nysut.org/ issues), but be sure to click Support the Public Higher Ed Quality Initiative and the Support SUNY Community Colleges pages.

• Even easier: Download the MAC app and use it on your phone!

• Follow the links in emails you receive from the FA.

Together we can “keep New York a state of mind” by procuring the resources we need to help develop the next few generations of minds?and, sure, we can