From Affordable to Universal Care Because Caring is Kind and Caring for Workers is Kinder

The U.S. Department of Labor recently launched a Twitter Q & A about apprenticeship as a means to help people attain jobs. I like that our labor department is taking an active stance when it comes to re-thinking how people obtain jobs. Now, I hope the department will also consider contingent faculty working at colleges and universities as apprentices who could matriculate to full-time status. One main benefit of transitioning contingent, or adjunct faculty to full-time faculty is benefits. A full-time worker usually is guaranteed health benefits and a retirement savings plan. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a huge benefit, it is not clear that it benefits those who work less-than-half-time, and who are adjuncts. University administrators, faculty, students, and their parents, too, would do well to consider the quality of health care that is available to adjunct professors.

It is not clear to me how universities or colleges factor in the health of their contingent faculty labor pool. I know recently when I needed a doctor, I visited several only to discover that they were not included in my insurance plan. The closest doctor I was able to find who could see me was booked until the Spring, but I needed a doctor right then. If there is a doctor shortage, then I hope colleges and universities produce more doctors and medical personnel, perhaps through apprenticeship systems, at least so that there are more doctors available.

It would be great if every Urgent Care facility, public or private, would accept all forms of insurance. I wonder if those part-time, or less-than-part-time faculty giving it their all in the classroom and outside the classroom worry that their health might be at risk?

Law-makers, education administrators, and pundits could be contributing to a renaissance of caring by improving the quality of life of those who selflessly share knowledge with others. Society needs to prioritize the health of teachers.

On a personal note, preparing for two classes this Winter has been exciting because of the emphasis placed on the themes of the course. At the same time, my own body, with its will to do what it wants, reminds me of the importance of balance. Raw vocal chords, exhausted eyes, are side effects of teaching — and represent a willful commitment to learning and teaching. Reflecting on how my body feels after teaching a challenging class reminds me that health-care coverage is a quality of life issue, and for many, a matter of life and death.

The health care debate is a gendered issue. I wonder whether gender gets enough attention when it comes to healthcare, gender, and contingent labor. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau has wonderful statistics on the kinds of work women do and the pay discrepancies by job and gender. I look forward to learning more about labor and the quality of health care that women may access through their employer and through health plans that are designed to get everyone access to care. Now that we have the access, what is the quality of care, and how easy is that care to obtain? For example, is there easily obtainable access to health care at one’s school, one’s job, and/or near where one buys groceries or lives?

We should care enough to ask these questions. Caring is kind and caring for workers, even kinder.

Obama’s Proposal: Free College Tuition for Willing Workers

Originally posted on Tutoring Now:

Should President Obama create a college/university rating system? In the past, he has stated that his administration is developing such a plan. This plan to rate colleges and universities could coincide with his executive order to make two years of community college freefor those willing to work for it“.

I think such a proposal seems like a good idea. Many who want to attend college, find it financially challenging. Yet, traditionally, it is thought that by attaining a college degree, one can also increase one’s chances of earning more over one’s life-time.

What remains to be seen is how easily colleges and universities can adapt to such a progressive proposal as two cost-free years of community college.

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Rating Colleges and Universities

#InternetFreedom Matters

The Internet village makes it possible for the masses to access vast amounts of knowledge. How does having access to the Internet impact what you think about the role institutions play in our lives? Here is a popular link to Gator Crossing’s infographic on the “Day in the Life of the Internet”.
A day in the life of the Internet
A Day in The Life of The Internet via HostGator

Writing Matters. Teaching Matters.

Writing is a lot like teaching. Writing is hard work. But sometimes, hard work takes time away from other things. So, to all of you writers out there, keep writing. And if you like to do other things besides writing, then by all means, do those things.

Right now, I am writing this blog post from The Beverly Center. It is lovely. The Beverly Center has all of my favorite brands, too. But there is something I enjoy more than window shopping. Writing and teaching are two of my favorite things to do. I love doing them more than I do shopping. But there must be something about doing something that you love that drives the people in your life crazy.

Many times I wonder, is writing like teaching, just another disposable skill?

What do you think it takes to write for a living and if you are a writer, how do others perceive you? Does what you do make a difference to you, or anyone else?