The Walmartization of Higher Education

acc-350We’ve learned from hard experience that the moral values of corporate chieftains rarely penetrate deeper than the value of their multimillion-dollar pay packages. But shouldn’t we expect more from the chieftains of colleges and universities?

After all, campuses are places of erudition and enlightenment, where we hope students will absorb a bit of our society’s deeper ethical principles, including our historic commitment to fairness and egalitarian justice. Yet, community college officials in my town of Austin, Texas, recently issued an edict that could’ve come straight out of Walmart. The headline on a newspaper story about the college’s edict reads: “Adjuncts at ACC face cut in hours/ School seeks to avoid paying for health care.”

Of nearly 2,000 faculty members at ACC, three-fourths are “adjunct professors” who get low pay and no health care benefits. But the new Obamacare law would’ve finally given them a break by requiring colleges to provide health coverage to employees who work 30 hours or more a week. But the honchos of ACC – a school with the word “community” in its name – have snatched this basic element of human decency out of the adjunct faculty’s hands by arbitrarily decreeing that none can work more than 28 hours a week.

jim hightowerThat’s a double-whammy: Not only are the college chiefs denying needed health care for the people who carry ACC’s teaching load, but the sneaky cut in hours means that these poorly-paid professors will also suffer a pay cut. It’s is the Walmartization of higher education, and it’s happening at all levels all across the country.

Did I mention that ACC provides full health coverage for the college’s president and other well-paid administrators who’re nixing coverage for the adjuncts? Now isn’t that a fine ethical lesson for students to absorb?


Jim Hightower
America’s #1 Populist

Published by the LA Progressive on January 26, 2014
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About Jim Hightower

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top.

Hightower is a modern-day Johnny Appleseed, spreading the message of progressive populism all across the American grassroots.

He broadcasts daily radio commentaries that are carried in more than 150 commercial and public stations, on the web, and on Radio for Peace International.

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