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Duckworth discusses higher education with educators and students


Students from UIC and WIU discuss higher education issues at a roundtable with U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (front, 2nd from right), IFT President Dan Montgomery (front, right) and AFT President Randi Weingarten (front, 2nd from left).

With the costs of higher education on the rise and student debt at historic levels, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (IFT-endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate) joined with IFT President Dan Montgomery, AFT President Randi Weingarten, and college educators and students to discuss solutions during a recent roundtable session in Chicago.

Members from the UIC United Faculty Association (Local 6456), the University Professionals of Illinois (Local 4100), and the Cook County College Teachers Union (Local 1600), as well as students from the University of Illinois-Chicago and Western Illinois University, were among those who talked one-on-one with Duckworth and the union leaders about the challenges facing higher education, including the need to fully fund Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grants that help low-income students pursue their higher education dreams.
“This Governor has shown his priorities are not where mine are,” Duckworth said. “He has shown through his actions, like vetoing critical MAP funding, that he doesn’t care about students on MAP…and that is not in the best interests of this state.”
In Illinois, the solution is to elect lawmakers at every level who share our progressive values and reject Rauner’s irresponsible political agenda. At the national level, we must gain Democratic control of the White House and U.S. Senate to ensure that decisions about funding are made by lawmakers who understand that education is the foundation of our country, Duckworth insisted.
“You’re weakening our nation by not funding higher education programs…We need to reframe education so it is seen as a critical part of the infrastructure of our nation,” Duckworth insisted. “We must put the same level of importance on education as we do on the Department of Defense.”
President Weingarten added, “There is a way to solve these problems, but we have to work with our elected officials top to bottom…. If we have a Democratic majority, we can hold hearings and work together in the halls of Congress to truly get things done.”




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