Rise Up, Recover, Rebuild: A New Deal for Higher Education
March 27, 2021


Whereas, the fiscal crisis in higher education has been decades in the making, and the recent public health and economic crises have been used to justify further austerity measures that already undermine the ability of educators to research and teach, and classified professionals to work and support successful educational opportunity; and

Whereas, these austerity measures have also impacted our communities making access to high-quality, affordable education out of reach for too many, and thereby lessening the ameliorative impact of scholarship on economic and racial inequality; and

Whereas, higher education is not simply a pipeline for future workers but a public good that can advance our common interest and strengthen our democracy by engaging the experiences and perspectives of a diverse people to create knowledge and leaders who can address the social, environmental, health, economic, and civic challenges of our time; and

Whereas, all scholarly research has value, whether it be social, economic or cultural and thus drives innovation, prepares us for the challenges of our world and advances us as a society; and

Whereas, the education enterprise is a major driver of the economy as institutions employing millions of classified professionals, support staff, and other professional workers, thus supporting local communities and local businesses within those communities; and

Whereas, the talents and abilities of educators and classified professionals is maximized where academic freedom is protected and encouraged, and participation in decision-making at all levels of the institution is open to those it impacts most; and

Whereas, everyone who works on a college or university campus is entitled to dignity and respect, a voice on the job, and fair wages and benefits that allow them to focus on the mission of education; and

Whereas, the current system of higher education supporting a democracy for the common good and as an engine for social mobility has failed to work equitably thus far, it has greatly exacerbated the economic and racial inequities already existing among students and communities, and

Whereas, AFT, AAUP, the Roosevelt Institute, and the Scholars for a New Deal for Higher Education have developed a campaign called the New Deal for Higher Education (ND4HE) centered on structural and foundational provisions that will:

  • Prioritize teaching, research, and student success;
  • Support all students access to higher education regardless of their ability to pay;
  • Ensure job security, equitable pay, professional voice, and sustainable careers for all educators and classified professionals working within higher educational systems;
  • Create and sustain academic environments free from racism, sexism, and other bigotries that prevent learning, degrade research, and perpetuate inequality; and
  • Cancel student debt for borrowers who have unjustly shouldered the burden of financing higher education the last 50 years; and

Whereas, the ND4HE Campaign addresses tuition costs, institutional funding, and student debt relief, while pursuing reforms related to racial injustice and inequities, labor practices, academic freedom and governance, federal research funding, technical and vocational education, and a host of other challenges that have diminished our national capacity to educate our communities; and

Whereas, the ND4HE Campaign strives to create a public higher education that is an accessible, affordable, and equitable while also focusing on making an it an anti-racist profession worth joining;

Therefore, be it resolved, that the CFT endorse the New Deal for Higher Education Campaign which seeks to recenter our public colleges and universities as a common good; and

Be it further resolved, that the CFT will join the growing coalition of organizations that have already endorsed ND4HE; and

Be it further resolved, that the CFT will prioritize our advocacy around this campaign by mobilizing its members around the campaign specifically to call for the immediate reauthorization of the federal Higher Education Act and to create other federal higher education policies that establish stable and dedicated public funding streams and accountability for higher education; and

Be it finally resolved, that the CFT encourage its local leaders to support this campaign locally by informing students, staff, and administrators to adopt and support these campaign demands and to take actions to urge our state and federal legislators to renew this country’s capacity to educate its citizenry.


  • Passed as Resolution 4 by CFT Virtual Convention on March 27, 2021
  • Submitted by the Executive Council