April 21, 2021–Jennifer Mittelstadt and Marisa Chappell of Scholars for a New Deal for Higher Education released the following statement regarding the organization’s support for Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Pramila Jayapal’s College for All Bill:
“Scholars for a New Deal for Higher Education is proud to endorse the College for All bill introduced today by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).
“This bill is a huge step for higher education in the United States. It addresses multiple crises we face: affordability, debt, and faculty labor. It also recognizes that to address the higher education system we need to work across institutional types: from community colleges to four-year public institutions, to HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and other minority-serving institutions.
“If passed, this bill will make significant progress towards ensuring that all people in the U.S. can attend college for free or at a low cost. It will ensure that future generations of students escape the pain of student debt and it will ensure that students get more financial support than simply tuition, because we know that the costs of college far exceed the sticker price.
“Unlike previous legislative attempts to reform the higher education labor market at the state and federal levels, the bill takes significant steps towards ending adjunctification among higher education instructors. First, it requires that institutions receiving College for All move to 75% instruction being performed by tenured or tenure-track (TT) instructors within five years. Second, and pivotally, it requires that institutions prioritize getting new TT jobs to workers currently in adjunct, contract, contingent, and non-tenure track positions.
“There is much more to do to build support for these important provisions and it starts with students and workers in higher education. We will have to fight for this bill. We also will need to ensure that it translates into full-time work for currently-contingent workers at mass scale. We must ensure that in College for All’s implementation, the federal government prevents institutions from circumventing the 75% TT teaching floor through increased class sizes or course loads, curricular narrowing, and other tactics to weaken the bill’s effects.
“We look forward to working with partners in the labor, student, and debt forgiveness movements to pass this bill and additional transformational legislation at the federal level to rebuild the U.S. higher education system around the principles of equity, democracy, and justice for all.”