American Ph.D. accustomed to coupons for food


Melissa Bruning Matteo PhD in medieval history and adjunct professor who receives food stamps, ".. So far I have been able to earn enough to live. Until now. "

"I'm not the queen of well-being," — says Melissa Bruning Matteo.

This is — the way she feels compelled to start a conversation about how she, a white woman with a degree of Doctor of Philosophy in medieval history and adjunct professor (time-based, part-time, visiting prepadavatel) arrived to take advantage of food stamps and the Health Insurance Fund. Ms. Bruning Matteo, a 43-year-old single mother, who teaches two courses in the College of Human Sciences Yavapey in Prescott, Ariz., said that the stereotypes of people receiving such assistance — does not reflect reality. Recipients include all the growing number of people, such as it is: a highly educated, whose degrees do not protect them from financial difficulties.

"I find it appalling when someone who stands in front of the college and teaches classes, is on Social Security," — she said.

Ms. Bruning Matteo grew at the top of the middle class in the state of Montana, which value the hard work and see the achievements in education as a path to a successful career and a happy life. She enrolled in the graduate school of the University of California at Irvine in 2002, representing an idealistic future work in the area. She never thought that, eventually, it will try to earn a living by teaching college students for starvation wages, no benefits and job security.

Ms. Bruning Matteo always wanted to teach. She began to work in this capacity in addition to the graduate school. This semester she is working 20 hours a week, lectures, conducts workshops, advice and checks the work of students in two courses at college campuses Yavapey in Chino Valley, Klarkdel, Prescott and Sedona. Her take-home pay is $ 900 a month, of which $ 750 goes to rent. Every week she spends $ 40 on gasoline to get out of her small town, because she lives 43 kilometers from work, because housing is cheaper there.

Ms. Bruning Matteo blame for their problems are not Yavapey College, but rather — "systematic defondirovanie higher education." In Arizona last year's Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed the budget, cut the funding of the operating budget allocated to staff Yavapey from 4.3 million dollars to 900 thousand dollars, accounting for reducing the college's operating budget by 7.6 percent. Budget cuts led to a reduction of 18,000 hours of training with the use of part-time work in the departments, including Ms. Bruning Matteo.

"The media give us an idea that the people who receive public assistance, unemployed, drug addicts and alcoholics, or people are irresponsible," — she says, "I am not irresponsible. I am highly educated. I have a lot of skills in addition to knowledge of medieval history, and I had another job. I never got a lot of money, but I was able to work to have enough to live. Until now. "

Neighbors subgroups

A record number of people dependent on food aid, financed by the federal budget. According to the website of U.S. Department of Agriculture, the use of food stamps in average monthly increased from 17 million in 2000 to 44 million in 2011. Last year, one in six people — nearly 50 million Americans, or 15 percent of the population received food stamps.

Ms. Bruning Matteo is part of this often overlooked but growing sub-recipients peomoschi of PhDs, associate professors and other Americans with higher education, who in late 2007 had to apply for food stamps or other forms of state social Software.

Some are trying to pay off student loans and cover basic living expenses, as the assessment of applications for the limited number of permanent academic positions. Others are trying to start a family or to pay the expenses of their children in college at low and fluctuating wages they receive as a temporary professor — a group that now stands at 70 per cent of teachers in the faculties. A lot of hard blows and gets unemployment or welfare losses from interruptions during the semester. And some adjuncts, as it turned out, trying to make ends meet, have served to students of tables, folding, in front of their students and unclaimed bag of groceries.

According to the latest "Current Population Survey" released by the U.S. Census Bureau in March 2011, of the 22 million Americans with master's degrees or higher, in 2010, approximately 360,000 received some sort of government assistance. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2010, in total and for the whole country, 44 million people received food stamps or other forms of government assistance.

People who have not finished college, and will soon receive food stamps than those who go to graduate school. The lists of people applying for public assistance, is dominated by people with a low level of education. However, the percentage of graduates with a degree, and who receive food stamps or other assistance has more than doubled between 2007 and 2010.

During this three-year period, the number of people with a master's degree, and who received food stamps and other assistance has increased from 101,682 to 293,029, and the number of people with a PhD who received help, according to the tables of microdata Made in Austin Nichols, a senior fellow at the "Institute of the city" has increased from 9,776 to 33,655. He turned his attention to the figures of the current population survey, "U.S. Census Bureau" and "U.S. Bureau of Labor", undertaken from 2008 to 2011.

The leaders of organizations that are associate professors, believe that the number of people recorded by the government, does not present a complete picture of the welfare scientists, because many do not report their dependence on federal aid.

Even now, when the number of highly educated recipients grows, shame helps keep the problem hidden.

"People do not want their names and faces have been connected to this experience," — said Karen L. Kelskay, a tenured professor, and is currently a professor and the addition of an academic career is business-consulting. She also works in the fund, which helps struggling with financial problems, post-graduate and doctoral degrees, the majority of whom are women with children.

"This goes beyond jokes about poor graduate students, becoming something really serious and urgent" — says Ms. Kelskay. "When I was a tenured professor, I had no idea that a PhD could pave the way for vouchers for food."

It's hard to talk about it .. for help — said Matthew Williams, co-founder and vice president of the faculty "The new majority" and the defense team of freelancers.

"We regularly hear about the growth of demand for food stamps," — said Mr. Williams, who himself received food stamps and cash assistance Medical, when he taught at the University of Akron from 2007 to 2009, earning less than $ 21,000 a year. "It is — and this is not hyperbole — not a theory."

Some adjuncts receive less money than protecting the campus and service staff who may not have a higher education. Salary adjunct (time-based teacher) can range from 600 to 10,000 dollars per course, according to an associate project and a database of approved supplements to wages and working conditions. The national average, according to the American Association of University Professors, instructors, adjuncts income just under $ 2,500 per course.

Photo by Jeff Halley for "Chronicle"
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Elliott Stegal, 51god, teaches an English course and receives food aid in the WIC office in Des Funmak Springs, Florida. "The first time we came to the office to check in, I felt that I had come from Eastern Europe to Ellis Island," — he said. "We all had the same miserable, miserable expression in his eyes."

The road to the aid

Elliott Stegal, white, 51-year-old married father of two who teaches two courses each semester in the Department of English of the State College of Northwest Florida, in Nisvile, Florida. He and his wife Amanda live in a modest house about 40 miles away in Des Funmak Springs, a conservative bastion in northwest Florida.

"This is where poor people live," — says Mr. Stegal. "This is a small town America. People are nice, but there is no industry. The jobs are only on the shoreline. "

Mr. Stegal is a graduate student at the University of Florida, where he finished his dissertation research films. At night, after his 3-year-old and 3-month-old baby was put to bed, he sort of package materials with securities listed or lint on his dissertation. (He writes about how Hollywood movies depict soldiers in Vietnam as psychopaths who are returning home from the war-ravaged psyche). His wife begins a two-year online master's degree program in the field of criminology, the proposed state of Florida. They receive food stamps, medical fund, as well as assistance from the program for "Women, Infants, and Children" (known as WIC).

Mr. Stegal taught at three colleges for more than 14 years. He says he has prepared students for more than two dozen courses in the field of communications between people, performing arts and the humanities, and he saw how academic positions in these areas almost disappear along with shrinking budgets. When he and Ms. Stegal with their children in tow entered the local WIC office in Tallahassee, Fla., where they lived, he had to struggle with shame, feelings of failure and the fact that he was not supposed to be there. After all, he grew up in a family that valued hard work and knowledge. His father was a pastor and professor of humanities, and his mother was a professor of psychology.

"The first time we came to the office to check in, I felt that I had come from Eastern Europe to Ellis Island," — he said. "This place was filled with people from virtually every culture and ethnicity. We all had the same miserable, squalid look in his eyes. "

He took part, and they were sitting in a crowded lobby and waited to be called to the window in plexiglass to a sharp woman who shouted his name. Stegalsy and other parents took turns entertaining each other's children. When he looked back, he thought of his position as a true scientist.

"I try to look at my experience, as a humanist, as someone who is fascinated by human culture," — he said: "Maybe it was a way to hide from the reality in which I found myself. I never thought that I would be among the poor. "

Mr. Stegal complement its training activities income from odd jobs. He painted the house until the housing crisis is not addressed by the client. He and his wife worked as a dispatcher for the company supplies until the recession hit not hurt business. They cleaned the apartment on the beach, Destin. They took the children with her, because kindergarten was too expensive.

"I am grateful for the assistance of the government. Without her, my family and I would, of course, the homeless and the destitute, "- he said. "But to live on the dole and it is painfully embarrassing — a constant reminder that I must have done something terribly wrong in life to deserve this fate."

As he sat in the WIC office with his family, Mr. Stegal blamed only himself. He made his choice, he says, he sought to earn a graduate degree, even when he saw that the economy is collapsing, the humanities are able to attack, and the position on the academic job market is only getting worse.

"As a man, I felt like a failure. I have dedicated themselves to the world of intellectual activity. I purchased the practical skills that have been elitist, "- he says:" Maybe I should get the skills that support the economy. "

"A small dirty secret '

When surveyed a lot of graduate students and adjuncts who receives public assistance, as well as administrators and academic associations that, if they know, or suggest it be that full-time faculty adjuncts to exist on government assistance were received mixed responses. In an informal questionnaire "Chronicles" released by Union of Higher Education, Department of "new majority" and other groups that are adjuncts — the recipient, it was revealed that some of the respondents know some do not know, some do not want to know, and some as it seems, this problem does not care.

In Yavapey, where he teaches Ms. Bruning Matteo, a spokesman wrote in an e-mail that her college "does not study the financial condition of all or part time employees."

"If any employee has been provided help or support of the state program, the administration Yavapey College could not be familiar with this information," — said the representative of the organization. "Compared to other colleges in the state of Arizona, adjunct faculty Yavapey College is the third of the highest paid in our state."

Numerous phone calls to the State College of Northwest Florida, where he teaches, Mr. Stegal, no reply had been received.

"It's the dirty little secret of higher education," — says Mr. Williams, from the Department of "new majority": "Many administrators are not aware of the scale of the problem. But all it takes for someone, so it is — to analyze the numbers to see what their department has the right to social assistance. "

Community colleges have a special obligation — guarantees that the conditions under which the work carried out at the Department would not be exploitative, — he said, "When government agencies fill the space in the class and tell the students that they will be the best because of their education — the best this is absolute hypocrisy for institutions that do not wish to publish data on the teaching staff of the Faculty, forced to exist on food stamps and other forms of government assistance. "

John Curtis, director of research and public policy of the American Association of University Professors, said that he regularly meets with the full-time faculty members who are unaware of the extent of the problem in its contingent academic employment. At the same time, many full-time teachers are outspoken advocates better working conditions for their temporarily assigned to colleagues, he adds. The American Association of University Teachers is working with groups of teachers, scientific associations, societies and disciplinary Association to raise awareness, says Mr. Curtis, so that "there is no legitimate claim to the lack of information."

Some leaders of scientific associations say they were surprised to hear that the graduates are forced to receive state aid.

James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association, said in an e-mail that he had consulted with his staff, and "no one has ever heard of this among our members and other historians."

"No e-mails and no tweets" — he wrote: "But that does not mean it does not exist. It simply means that the historians who receive public assistance, do not intersect at AIA-ties. "

Michael Berube, president of the Modern Language Association, said that he and his wife, Janet, were eligible for WIC, while they were in graduate school at the end of 1980.

"It was great. Fee for baby food Nick and food, and it was just kind of social security — the liberal program, which was supposed to protect us, "- he said:" It was a temporary support until we have raised our earnings to a living wage. Janet's mother also gave us his card Social security checks, and it is — another reason to cheer for the idea of supporting social well-being. "

Mr. Berube says he is, however, concerned that the adjuncts continue to live for long periods at such low wages, even after graduation. And why in the scientific organizations are not thinking about the doctors of philosophy, living on food stamps, as he says, the answer is obvious.

"Everyone thinks that the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in pretty much guarantees a living wage, and as far as I can tell, most commentators believe that the annual income of university professors is $ 100,000 or more," — he said. "But I've heard all year from freelancers department revenue of $ 20,000 and I do not know anyone who believes that you can raise a family on that. Even a single person to live on this salary is a very severe test, if you want to eat something other than ramen noodles every time and all the time. "

Many people hold on to the hope that if they are alone, they will be able to get the winning ticket and their economic situation does not worsen.

Marc Bousquet, an associate professor of English at Santa Clara University, the founder and chief editor of the "Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor," says the ego, the personal status and prestige may explain why so many people will not give up its aspirations to become a Professor full time.

"A big part of what we do in graduate education, contribute to this sense of vocation and teaching instills a love and passion for what you do" — says Mr. Busquet, which is one of the authors of the blog, "brainstorm", "The Chronicles of . " "We socialize people in making coins reputation as the status of capital. Some people are so deeply socialized into the mode of payment by the status that they are, in essence, are caught in this trap of a lifetime. "

The role of race

Ms. Kelskay that helps graduate students and adjuncts, are homeless, or who need help, said the false image of the recipient as "welfare queens" — is an illusion created for political purposes.

"The racial distribution analysis of food stamp denies that the broad masses of the population, reaching to the middle class, we have to deal with the lack of food problems", — she said.

According to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children, thirty-nine percent of all welfare recipients — white (!), 37 percent are black, 17 percent were Hispanic, and 3 percent are Asian. Most of the dozens of ostepenennyh graduates — the beneficiaries of those who responded to the questionnaire, "Chronicles" are also white.

But race and cultural stereotypes play a major role in how many scientists interviewed by "The Chronicle", are struggling with the reality of life with the help of social security.

Lynn, a 43-year-old associate professor at two colleges in Houston, which receives food stamps and assistance from medical offices, and does not want his name published, said: "People do not expect that white people need help," — she says: "It is a common phenomenon. Getting food stamp status-much worse if you're white and need help. "

Kisha Hawkins-Sledge, whose 35 years old and she — a black single mother of 3-year-old twin boys, received a master's degree in English in August last year. She began teaching part-time at Prairie State College, College of the Communal Moraine Valle and Richard J. Daley College, City Colleges of Chicago, while studying in graduate school, and says he has earned enough money to live as long as she had no children . She lives in Lansing, Illinois

"My family has grown from one to three. And my income is not enough, and so I was forced to ask for help, "- she said. She now receives food stamps, WIC, cash assistance Medical assistance and child care.

As Ms. Bruning Matteo and Mr. Stegal, Ms. Hawkins-Thani said that it was prejudiced about people in public care before she herself did not start getting help. "I went to school. I went to graduate school, "- she says," I thought that Social Security was for people who do not go to school and can not get a good job. "

Ms. Hawkins-Thani said that she grew up watching the work of her mother, and presented herself at the college and graduate school. "My mom has challenged the stereotype and here I am in graduate school trying to do the same," — she said. And she worked hard not to become a cultural stereotype of "black welfare queen."

"My name is Keisha. You hear that name and you think that it is — a black girl with big earrings, hoops on welfare next to her father three or four children, "- she says," I had to work against my color, my flesh and my name. I went to school to get all these degrees, to prove to the world that I'm not lazy and I'm not on welfare. But I remained there, and I asked myself, "And what is the meaning of all this? I find myself here anyway. "

For Mrs. Hawkins-Sledge is some good news. In August, she will begin working full-time as a full-time employee — an English teacher in the staff Prayray.

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