The Chronicle of Higher Education


by George Roumbanis, AFSCME 3506 President

The quality of American Education precedes the founding of our nation itself, and one could argue that it settled the marque of our revolution. This American Education also triggered fundamental global change by confronting the scions of the international elites and producing political and social leaders from the prime minister of Greece to the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Yet, in our times, year after year, a variety of reports discloses a spreading malice throughout our educational system. Originally, we sought a correction in allocating resources and the flow of assets, and then shifted our focus on integrating larger and larger segments of our population within the realm of the learned and skilled. But now we have to question whether recipients of American Education at the secondary and the undergraduate level master the needed skills to transition within the educational system and the flow of the modern economy in order to assure some certainty for their individual future and America’s global position. Unfortunately, study after study reveals that this is not the case.

A new report, “The Future of Undergraduate Education, The Future of America,” from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences delivers a message of hope based on three strategies:

1.       Quality of education,
2.       Degree completion,
3.       Equity regarding instruction and affordability.

A review of education in Chicago, but also nationwide, exposes a system in place that is not ready to act on the approach recommended above,  but is instead prepared to defend an entrenched growing bureaucracy and kleptocracy. One has only to think of the monomania of the Mayor of Chicago in closing public schools of all types like the recently sold Lakeview Learning Center. Or the constant, tragic and humiliating news updates about the simulated graduation data at City Colleges of Chicago and the reproachable handling of their electrician apprentice program.  The report of the inspector general has been disregarded by the new administration despite being delivered almost a year ago.

In the meantime, one has to agree that some signs of hopefulness and courage are starting to make their appearance in the academic world. That is the struggle of the majority of academicians, the adjunct instructors, in our nation who have finally become organized and are willing to make a stand for what is right.  Teachers know that our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions.  Please read a short article by President Dianna Valera of the Adjuncts Union at Columbia College Chicago and their strike.