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WA community, tech college profs demand State investment


Community and technical college staff are planning a day of action Tuesday to urge the Washington state Legislature to provide adequate funding to their schools.

Faculty and professional staff in the American Federation of Teachers of Washington said lawmakers are not investing enough into the community and technical college system.

Pete Knutson, professor of anthropology at Seattle Central College, said the lack of investment in staff does a disservice to students.

“You can’t really work with students and provide what they need over the long term if their faculty members are having to work two or three jobs just to stay afloat and pay the rent and pay the mortgage and buy food,” Knutson argued.

Knutson pointed out the state’s 34 community and technical colleges educate underserved populations in other institutions, including people of color and people from low-income households. Tuesday, staff members at colleges across the state are planning a work stoppage.

Knutson noted a lack of funds threatened programs at Seattle Central College, although the community rallied around the school to keep the cuts from happening.

“If you look at the vocational programs that were going to be cut last year — maritime, wood technology, apparel and design, culinary — these are very successful programs that are launching people into good careers,” Knutson stressed. “They were all going to be cut last year because of a lack of funding.”

Knutson added college professors’ influence reaches beyond the classroom.

“In some ways, we’re much more than just professors or instructors. We’re also in the community, and that’s an essential part of our function,” Knutson contended.

Source: publicnewsservice

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