March-April 2018 Advocate: “College for All” initiative
FREE HIGHER EDUCATION IN CALIFORNIA
“College for All” organizers working to get initiative on November ballot
Around the state, signature gathering efforts are in full swing to put the College for All Act on the November ballot as a voter initiative. College for All would provide four years of free public higher education (UC, CSU or Community College) to all California residents, regardless of income. It would also expand Cal Grants for lower income students, by increasing grant amounts by 80% and allowing an additional 330,000 students who are currently excluded to qualify for these grants.
Our local, AFT 1493, endorsed the College for All campaign at its January retreat. In February, the Executive Committee voted to contribute $1,000 to the campaign. We also committed to talking to our Student Senates in the three colleges in our district, to try to involve our students in this campaign. Dan Kaplan spoke at the most recent meeting of the Associated Students of College of San Mateo. Monica Malamud attended the Associated Students of Cañada College meetings of February 1st and 15th. Student senators both at CSM and at Cañada expressed great interest in College for All.
Monica has been working within the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) to promote this voter initiative. In her capacity of Chair of the CFT Higher Education Issues Committee, she discussed this topic with committee members, who then voted to propose a workshop for the upcoming CFT Convention. Panelists will include Tim Killikelly, president of AFT 2121, instrumental in the passage of “Free City” for San Francisco residents, Jim Mahler, president of the Community College Council of the CFT, and a College for All campaign organizer. In this workshop, with Monica serving as moderator, participants will learn how to engage and educate their colleagues, their students and their community in a successful campaign to make free higher education a reality in California once again.
The Cañada community has been signing petition forms to qualify this voter initiative. Efforts will be intensified throughout the district in the coming weeks, as enough signatures must be collected by April 24th. If you are a registered voter, your signature on a petition form will help us qualify College for All. Anyone over 18 years old can volunteer to gather signatures; please contact Dan Kaplan at the AFT office at CSM (X6649) and he will make sure you get petition forms and instructions. We hope you will join us in these efforts so that California voters will be able to decide in November whether higher education should be free once again in our state.