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Re: “Cuts Threaten the Mission of Community Colleges

Yes, the California Community Colleges are a wonder of broad-based and far-reaching higher education, which truly help our economy and our communities. No one can dispute this. However, the cuts in class sections do not only hurt the students. Nearly every class section cut means a major percentage of the livelihood of a community college part-time faculty. There are over 47,000 part-time faculty in the CC system. Most would rather have full-time, well-paid jobs, but they are not being offered. Instead, the colleges have chosen to run themselves using one third full-time tenured faculty with full salaries and benefits and two-thirds part-time temporary, at-will part-time faculty who often have careers lasting 20-30-plus years. Part-time faculty, who are paid less than half of what a tenured faculty makes even though they have the same credentials, are evaluated for excellence in instruction and are subject to class cancellation or simply may be "let go without cause" after years of excellent service, are the true academic strength of the community colleges. Without us, the colleges would close under the weight of too many students and too many over-paid administrators and tenured faculty. One has to return to the mid-nineteenth century to find equally abusive forms of labor exploitation in factories and agricultural production.
So, when we read about thousands of classes being cut, remember that not only are students being denied a future, but our part-time faculty's lives are being destroyed by the hundreds as classes are cancelled that could have been filled with students eager to learn and professors eager to teach...and make a mortgage payment on their home which could be facing forclosure.
If the community colleges are such an important and vital part of California's recovery, let us not pave the way to recovery with the destroyed lives of our part-time faculty who deserve better pay, office hours, health benefits, and job security. We cannot rebuild the integrity of our economy and our system of higher education on the backs and misfortunes of our best and brightest.

Posted by David Milroy on 09/24/2009 at 10:24 AM

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