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NEA/AFT Higher Ed Conference

Higher education members of the nation's two largest teacher unions will gather in March in Washington, D.C.

NEA has been invited by the U.S. Department of Education to provide input for the development of a federal program that rewards students who promise to teach in schools in under-served areas.

Education Policy and Practices Department staffer Donna Harris-Aikens is serving as NEA’s negotiator in the Education Department’s negotiated rulemaking sessions that will develop regulations for the program entitled TEACH grants, created by last fall’s College Cost Reduction and Access Act. NEA’s National Council for Higher Education President Jim Rice of Quinsigamond Community College in Massachusetts is NEA’s alternate negotiator.

Building Alliances for Higher Education and the Public Good, the 2008 joint National Education Association/American Federation of Teachers Higher Education Conference, is slated for March 28-30, 2008 in Washington, D.C.

The conference will focus on higher education research, policy, and advocacy, as well as professional development and pedagogical issues and union skills building.

Friday keynote speaker is slated to be John Podesta, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress and former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton. Podesta currently is Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center.

Saturday’s luncheon speaker is Charles Ogletree, Jesse Climenko Professor of Law at Harvard University and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice.

A wide array of conference presenters include Sarita E. Brown, president of Excelcencia in Education, who has spent more than two decades working to raise academic opportunity for low-income and minority students, Kristina Wilfore, executive director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center and a leading expert on state policy and politics, Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and Robert W. Welsh, Jr., chief of staff for AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.

The latest NEA Higher Education Research Center Update, “Academic Freedom and Higher Education Employees,” focuses on academic freedom challenges facing higher education faculty and academic professionals. State legislatures have considered a series of measures that would seriously impair academic freedom.

This research brief provides information about NEA policy on academic freedom, a listing of important Supreme Court decisions on academic freedom, and model contract language for protecting academic freedom.

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