Adjuncts’ free college demand “goes mainstream” in Florida

Last Friday, NPR covered adjuncts’ push for greater invest in free college and adequate compensation for faculty, asking if the call was finally “going mainstream.” Christian Schlaerth, an adjunct who teaches at Miami Dade College, Barry University and the University of Miami, plus bartends to make ends meet, talked about why he supports free college and how greater investment could benefit educators.

This story comes after Faculty Forward member Nancy Fernandes called on Florida gubernatorial candidates to invest in higher education by supporting universal K-16 access at the first debate. Three of the four candidates, Andrew Gillum, Chris King and Mayor Philip Levine, voiced support for some form of free college.

Decades of harsh budget cuts to Florida’s colleges and universities have created a crisis for families and faculty alike. Divestment has shifted the cost to students and their families through student loan debt and to an increasingly contingent faculty through low pay and no benefits for adjunct professors. Faculty Forward has made the demand for adequate investment in higher education through free college central to its Florida campaign.

Listen to the full report, here at minute 14.

Listen to the Florida gubernatorial debate here.