Community College Articles

Article Calbright

State Auditor calls out failed Calbright online college
Audit cites high drop-out rate, mismanagement, shady hiring

Out of 904 students enrolled since 2019, only 12 graduated, and more than 40 percent dropped out. There’s no discernable strategy for spending the more than $175 million it receives in state taxpayer funding. No system is in place to support students. Shady hiring practices have led to people being selected based on personal or political connection rather than ability.

Article Accreditation ACCJC

Free City! The story of CFT’s epic campaign against the ACCJC
BOOK REVIEW


Free City! The Fight for San Francisco’s City College and Education for All
By Marcy Rein, Mickey Ellinger and Vicki Legion
PM Press, Oakland, 2021


Reviewed by Fred Glass

Early in 2017, as City College of San Francisco’s five-year fight for its life drew to a close, I was attempting to convince a reporter from the Chronicle of Higher Education to write a summing up story. He said, “Someday someone really needs to write a book on all this.”

Article Pay parity Part-time faculty

How Peralta won the first pay parity in CA community colleges
San Mateo Federation campaign makes big strides toward parity

Equal pay for equal work. It’s a simple idea, but one that has remained all but elusive for part-time faculty, so much so that some have decried the quest for it as a Sisyphean effort. However, the recent gains made by the Peralta Federation of Teachers shows that parity is possible.

Now, Peralta pays its adjuncts at the same hourly rate for teaching and office hours as its full-time faculty — a first in the California Community College system.

Article Coronavirus Part-time faculty

Adjuncts and their unions fight on in the face of COVID
Enrollment decline, lost classes, adjunct relief fund

While the number of COVID cases are shrinking, and the vaccination rate increasing, the effects of the pandemic continue, with adjuncts having been hit particularly hard, as despite the heroic efforts of faculty to provide remote and online instruction, California community college enrollment has dropped systemwide by 11 to 12% since last fall, according to Edsource.

Article Pay parity Part-time faculty

CFT seeks 85% adjunct teaching load, statewide path to pay parity
Union-sponsored legislation tackles long-standing adjunct issues

After last year’s heavily pandemic-impacted legislative session reduced the number of bills signed to its lowest number since 1967, the CFT is again taking up the adjunct cause on bills directed towards raising the part-time percentage cap on teaching in a single district, and in developing a path towards part-time/full-time pay parity.

Article CFT Convention Part-time faculty

Healthcare, transferable training top adjunct priorities at CFT Convention
Delegates resolve to address timely adjunct issues

At this year’s virtual CFT Convention held March 26-27, the Part-Time Faculty Committee sponsored two resolutions reflective of both the longstanding and new problems beginning to emerge in the wake of the pandemic which has impacted adjunct health and training.

Article Part-time faculty

Adjuncts at the table to win a New Deal for Higher Education
National campaign calls for sea change in higher ed

While the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified longstanding societal inequities in America, public higher education was already in a state of crisis, from the staggering costs of college, to the lack of access and support for lower income students, Black, indigenous, and people of color, the deteriorating, or clear lack of infrastructure, the reciprocal increase in highly paid administrative positions, and last but not least, decrease in full-time tenure track positions.

Article

CFT joins campaign to forge a New Deal for Higher Education

With the new Biden administration and Congress come new opportunities to ensure significant, sustainable public investment in higher education.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the long-standing crisis in public higher education. Declining state support, the erosion of tenure and shared governance, the increased use of contingent appointments, and the loss of the faculty voice on campus are threatening the core mission of higher education in our society. Now is the time to stand up for a just, inclusive system of higher education — one that can help transform our society.

We need a New Deal for Higher Education.

Article Elections 2020 Members elected

Paul da Silva became the candidate he wanted to see
First teacher elected to College of Marin Board of Trustees

For years, Paul da Silva, a biology teacher at the College of Marin and a member of United Professors of Marin, Local 1610, wondered about the lack of teachers on the college’s Board of Trustees and tried to talk retiring professors into running. No one took him up on it.

So when he decided in the summer of 2019 that he would retire, he concluded, to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, he’d have to be the candidate he wished to see in the world.

Article Elections 2020 Free College

A First Lady who is a community college teacher
President-elect supports two years of free community college

Dr. Jill Biden, a community college teacher, union member, and soon to be First Lady, spoke virtually to members of the AFT and the National Education Association, thanking them for all the phone banking, text messaging, voter registration drives and poll work they did to get her husband, Joe Biden, elected. AFT President Randi Weingarten and NEA President Becky Pringle introduced her.

Peralta reaches 100 percent pay parity; locals win distance education support
From course conversion stipends to health benefits extensions

In spite of the pandemic, a number of local unions won big gains for adjuncts, from parity pay to distance education, to the preservation of healthcare for adjuncts with reduced loads. These wins are especially significant at this time in which revenues are falling and concerns over future budgets made many administrators skittish to bargain.

Article AFT Shared governance Part-time faculty

Contingent faculty team up, pass national shared governance policy
AFT Convention adopts resolution crafted by UC and community college faculty

While the COVID-19 pandemic meant that this summer’s AFT Convention had to go virtual, and in turn, resulted in format changes which made schedules tighter, and the work of those attending harder in many respects, one of the great achievements for CFT was the passage of a resolution calling for the right of contingent faculty to participate in shared governance.

Article Schools & Communities First

Prop 15: It’s not just about closing corporate tax loopholes
It’s about protecting adjunct faculty too!

California is at an educational crossroads made dire by the coronavirus pandemic, and Proposition 15 is an important step in getting California back on the right track.

COVID-19 has not only ravaged the health and lives of countless Californians — it has also ravaged state revenues, with Governor Newsom himself acknowledging overall state revenue declines being in the “tens of billions.”

Article Workers Compensation Student debt Coronavirus

Legislative gains and losses for adjuncts in a time of COVID
Union scores expanded Workers’ Comp support, Student Borrower Bill of Rights

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted public education, so too did it impact the California Legislature and CFT’s legislative goals.

What would normally have been a rigorous six-month period to discuss the state budget and legislation, was reduced to two virtual sessions, one running from May 4 to June 19, and the other from July 27 to August 31. This forced the Legislature, which was slated to hear and discuss some 2,390 bills, to shelve consideration of any bills not deemed related to the pandemic, wildfires, and affordable housing.

Article Part-time faculty Coronavirus AFT

The patient is on the table — Higher Education in America is sick
Opinion

By Geoff Johnson, AFT Guild, San Diego and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community Colleges

Higher education in America is sick. Its classrooms and campuses have been largely shuttered, save but for students taking lab courses, or practicums, ironically in hospitals. Students and instructors are now confined to the domains of their computers and laptop screens in the educational netherworlds of Zoom or Cranium. With the exception of online instruction developed prior to the crisis, what is being delivered, more so than taught, is a curriculum of coping under the duress of the coronavirus pandemic.

Article Environment Wildfires

Unions step up to help wildfire evacuees
Wildfires threaten member homes and lives

Fires in California, many started by lightning, have burned a little more than a million acres, and scores of people have lost homes and thousands more have been forced to evacuate, including CFT members. The fires, some of the largest in the state’s history are burning in areas including Lake, Napa, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties.

Article

State Dept. of Health issues reopening guidelines for higher education
Includes areas of note for community colleges

The California Department of Health released its reopening guidelines for higher education on August 7.

While most of the guidance is geared to four-year colleges and universities, there are also some significant areas of note for the community colleges, which are summarized here.

Article Coronavirus

California Community Colleges issue reopening guidelines
Task force develops guidance and recommendations

The California Community Colleges organized a high-level task force to create a roadmap of available resources for the safe reopening of community college campuses.

The task force report contains considerations and recommendations for the Chancellor’s Office. However, the broad recommendation of the Report of the Safe Campus Reopening Workgroup is that further action be undertaken locally by subject matter experts. This includes labor partners such as AFT local unions as well as state, federal and local governments, medical professionals, and those directly managing the pandemic response.