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Cutting the heart out of higher ed

Betsy DeVos wants to alter the DNA of higher education, trying to change the definition of the credit hour, eliminate student-faculty interaction in some programs and allow schools losing their accreditation to charge students tuition. And it’s all disguised in the wonky and overwhelming “negotiated rulemaking” review process that begins Jan. 15.

12K PA students get debt relief in settlement

Attorney General Shapiro announces for-profit college company will provide $493 million in debt relief for over 179,000 students nationwide. 12,600 Pennsylvania students will have $38.6 million in education debt relieved.

Senate leader drops challenge to Lindsey Williams

PA Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati dropped his challenge to and seated Sen. Lindsey Williams as the elected senator of the north Pittsburgh suburban 38th District. Williams was one of three AFTPA members elected to the state legislature.

New Foundations Charter School ratifies first union contract

Teachers and support staff at New Foundations Charter School in Philadelphia ratified their first union contract unanimously after 11 months of negotiations. The faculty and staff voted to join the Alliance of Charter School Employees, Local 6056 of the American Federation of Teachers, AFT Pennsylvania, in 2017. 

Our Conversation with Steven Spielberg

To commemorate the 25th anniversary and rerelease of “Schindler’s List,” Steven Spielberg joined AFT President Randi Weingarten to discuss the legacy of the movie, its impact on Holocaust education and how to teach kids to understand and respond to hatred in our communities.

Georgetown University graduate employees cast historic vote for the union

Graduate employees at Georgetown University made history Nov. 9 when they finished tallying an 83 percent vote to join the union, the Georgetown Alliance of Graduate Employees. The overwhelming victory is the first that circumvents the Trump-appointed National Labor Relations Board. Instead it is certified by the American Arbitration Association, and it decisively frames graduates not as students but as workers, with all the rights that title commands.

AFT members are taking Navient to court

A class-action suit filed in federal court sets out serious allegations that student loan servicer Navient has misled borrowers in public service professions from accessing a loan forgiveness program to boost its own profits. The landmark complaint, which seeks millions in damages and class-wide injunctive relief, details a spate of systematic misrepresentations, untruths and misdirection pedaled by Navient to stop borrowers from enrolling in Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a 10-year payoff plan administered by rival servicer FedLoan.