By Steve Brier
If you’ve at all been confused about or even impressed by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s widely touted Excelsior Scholarship program that was just voted into law by the New York State legislature, a good place to start to deal with your questions and concerns is Lauren Gurley’s article in the May issue of The Indypendent, “Free Higher Ed for a Few.”
Gurley’s piece reveals the ways Excelsior serves as a giveaway to NY State’s middle class taxpayers — especially those who would like to send their kids to SUNY schools — while denying real and much-needed support to CUNY’s working-class and poor students who will hardly benefit from Excelsior, given the scholarship’s extremely restrictive terms. Cuomo is trying to burnish his progressive credential in anticipation for his 2020 run for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president.
Gurley interviewed me at length for the piece and I’m quoted a few times, including the final statement:
“We made a commitment as a nation in the post-World War II period that public education would be free and available to everyone who was interested in pursuing it. And we created institutions like city colleges, junior colleges and state colleges […] It was a different world. And that is the world, I would argue, that we should go back to.”
For the full article, visit The Indypendent.
You can also listen to Lauren Gurley´s article on iTunes or Soundcloud as part of a the new Indy Audio podcast, where you can listen to articles from The Indypendent.
Photo by MTA via flickr (CC-BY)
This post was originally featured at the Gotham Center.
By Stephen Brier
The issue of who should control NYC’s public schools, like the poor, apparently will always be with us. These days, or at least since Michael Bloomberg’s mayoral reign, that control centers on how many years the city’s mayor will be allowed to play K-12 education’s top dog: one year or more? The answer to that question currently resides exclusively in the partisan clutches of Republicans who control the New York State Senate. They don’t like to miss an opportunity to stick it to the current occupant of Gracie Mansion, grudgingly doling out one year of mayoral control at a time to Bill de Blasio.
But control of the city’s public schools used to be a much larger and much more consequential issue than how many years the mayor gets to call the shots. Half a century ago this issue of control of the public schools roiled the city politically and racially, dividing thousands of parents of color from the overwhelmingly white (and largely Jewish) public school teachers and administrators. Continue reading Who Should Control NYC Schools?
The New York City Digital Humanities group brings together New York City scholars and members of the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, museums) community to talk about, experiment with, collaborate on, teach and learn about, and just generally commune around the digital humanities. Recently, the NYCDH launched its annual NYCDH Award, to be given to an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to digital humanities in the region.
This year’s inaugural award is going to Murphy Institute consortial faculty member Dr. Stephen Brier in recognition of his innovations in new media and public history, the development of important programs in digital pedagogy and humanities, and an unparalleled history of mentoring young scholars and building communities across the region. Dr. Brier will be receiving the first NYCDH Award and giving a keynote speech at the NYCDH 2017 Kickoff Gathering on February 6th.
If you missed our forum last Friday on the history and impact of austerity and neoliberal policies on public higher education, you can still listen to an interview on WNYC with two of our panelists: Murphy Institute consortial faculty member Prof. Steve Brier and co-author Prof. Michael Fabricant of the CUNY Graduate Center and Vice President of CUNY’s Professional Staff Congress. They speak about their recently published work, Austerity Blues: Fighting for the Soul of Public Higher Education.
Photo by chadinbr via flickr (CC-BY)
We are please to announce the recent publication of a new book from Murphy Institute consortial faculty member Prof. Steve Brier, Austerity Blues: Fighting for the Soul of Public Higher Education, published by Johns Hopkins University Press.
Co-authored with Michael Fabricant, Austerity Blues examines the social consequences of disinvestment in public higher education, particularly its effects on growing economic disparities in our cities and communities. This book is essential and timely reading for anyone grappling with the question of how public higher education can be an instrument of opportunity and equality.
When he isn’t teaching labor history at the Murphy Institute, Brier is a professor of urban education and coordinator of the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy program at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the co-founder of CUNY’s American Social History Project and the co-author and co-producer of Who Built America, a multimedia curriculum developed by the Project. His co-author, Michael Fabricant, is a professor of social work at the CUNY Graduate Center and a Vice President of CUNY’s Professional Staff Congress.
What’s the future of CUNY? To understand what might come, it helps to look at what’s passed. How did CUNY become what it is today? What’s at stake in preserving an autonomous CUNY?
An editorial by the Editorial Board of the New York Times today starts to tell the story, and does so by citing Murphy Consortial Faculty Member Steve Brier’s book, co-authored with Michael Fabricant, “Austerity Blues: Fighting for the Soul of Public Education”:
As the City University professors Stephen Brier and Michael Fabricant explain in their forthcoming history, “Austerity Blues: Fighting for the Soul of Public Higher Education,” Nelson Rockefeller, who essentially built the state’s public higher education system, wanted to absorb New York City’s colleges into the state university system at the beginning of the 1960s.
The proposal met fatal resistance from alumni, business leaders and education officials who had great affection for the city system. They understood the city to be different from the rest of the state, in civic and cultural terms, and considered free tuition essential to much of its population. (Mr. Rockefeller had also proposed charging tuition in exchange for state aid.) The merger idea was dropped, and the city system — renamed The City University of New York in 1961 — remained independent, even though it would receive state support.
The state Legislature took the same view. It gave the state formal control of the city system while recognizing fundamental differences: on the one hand, a loose federation of 64 campuses scattered about the state; on the other, a city system described in state law as an engine of advancement for the poor and disadvantaged and having “the strongest commitment to the special needs of an urban constituency.”
Read the full editorial at NYTimes.com.
Photo by Alex Irklievski (Alex Irklievski) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons