Every year the Chronicle of Higher Education seems more attention to give the issues around academic employment, especially the use of contingent and non-tenure track faculty (“Adjuncts Gather to Discuss Tactics in Campaign for Equity”). It reminds me of the slow 30 year slog it took for global climate change to reach a place in mainstream media. Mainstream education media has taken a similar slow path to putting the our labor issues on its agenda. Tenure isn’t coming back, but we could build a better system if we were given the tools.
Unfortunately, it might take another decade or more to get our government, even our now liberal administration and congress, to begin to raise alarms about the dissolution of the tenure system. The Chronicle’s reporting on the president’s speech about education reports only that he’s going to talk about initiatives to reform the student loan system (“President to Tout Achievements in Higher-Education Policy”). Those were great changes, but I wish he would also talk about the need to reform the labor laws to make union organizing easier.