Volume 44, Number 1 October 2012 Community College Council of the California Federation of Teachers American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
A mixed year CCC president Carl Friedlander sums up the mixed messages of 2012: rolling back two-tier student fees (for now), CFT finds $50 million for CCs, and pension reform that wasn’t good but could’ve been worse.
A force for change Cabrillo instructor Sadie Reynolds is a one-woman lesson about the resilience of the human spirit, not to mention the centrality of community colleges in providing the allimportant second chance so many in our society need.
CFT November 6 Election recommendations
YES on Proposition 30, NO on Proposition 32 is just the beginning in a crucial election (aren’t they all!) for public education.
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P E R S P E C TI V E October 2012
Taking the lead Carl Friedlander, CFT Community College Council President
Tiers, budgets and the work of our union L
et’s start with some good news.
At this moment there don’t appear to be any moves afoot to establish “two-tier” fee structures in California community colleges. SB 1550 (Wright), which would have instituted high fee Career Technical Education (CTE) classes at a group of “pilot” colleges including Long Beach City College (the bill’s sponsor), died in the Assembly Higher Ed Committee in June. Also, Santa Monica College appears to have shelved its plans to go forward with “self-supporting” credit classes, at least for the time being. Thanks to all of you who worked to block these two ill-conceived initiatives. CFT has been key, and we welcome a breather on this front because there are so many other issues where we all need to focus our energy and effort. Another piece of good summer news was the stunning success CFT had in wrestling $50 million for community colleges away from “deferral buydown” so that the money can be used to restore a small portion of the FTES funding lost to “workload reductions” over the course of the last few years. Community college faculty organizations tend to jockey a bit over who “gets the credit” when something good happens (and occasionally point fingers at one another when something goes wrong). But in the case of the $50 million that seemed to materialize from nowhere in the last moments of state budget deliberations, no honest observer could deny that CFT was the force that made it happen, even when the Community College League opposed it and the Chancellor’s Office stood aside. Now we need to make sure Prop. 30—which only exists with a chance of passage because of CFT—is approved by voters, so that $50 million for restora-
tion and $160 million for deferral buydown actually materialize, and so that a devastating $338 million cut in apportionment is averted.
Pension reform It doesn’t quite qualify as “good news,” but the outcome of legislative “pension reform” in AB 340 (Furutani), was not, for community college faculty in CalSTRS, as difficult a pill to swallow as some feared it might be. The only noteworthy change for current employees is the 180-day post-retirement sit out requirement. Part-time faculty seeking to collect a mimimal CalSTRS benefit while continuing to teach parttime are especially hurt by this requirement. Still, I would argue that the overall effect of AB 340 on current employees is pretty minimal. Those hired after January 1, 2013, will feel it more, because of the bump in the retirement age from 60 to 63 (for a 2% multiplier) and from 63 to 65 (for a 2.4% multiplier). But even that is a relatively modest change. When eligibility for the $400/month longevity bonus sunsetted in 2011, it created a “new tier” comparable in magnitude to the new tier that AB 340 creates for new employees. So the changes in AB 340 are not big news. AB 340 does mean much bigger changes for those in CalPERS. Increasing the retirement age from 55 to 62 is a huge change. And for our colleagues in UC, the new requirement for equal sharing of normal costs means a whopping jump in employee contributions. But the changes for community college faculty in CalSTRS, who already typically retire at 64+, are not likely to create shockwaves. The bigger issue for those of us in CalSTRS revolves around the system’s underfunding and what steps will be taken to address it. The fact that we escaped Phase 1 of “pension
reform” relatively unscathed is no guarantee that we will fare as well in Phase 2.
Serious challenges Two-tier fee structures, twotier pension systems, financial resources that have shrunk so much so quickly that the ability of many of our institutions to survive is coming into question: these are very serious challenges. But through the power of our union, our participation in the broader labor movement
The California Federation of Teachers is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. The CFT represents over 120,000 educational employees working at every level of education in California. The CFT is committed to raising the standards of the profession and to securing the conditions essential to provide the best service to California’s students. President Joshua Pechthalt Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Freitas Senior Vice-President Lacy Barnes
Remember that we will only continue to be as effective in this important work if we defeat Prop. 32. There’s another major battle raging, though necessarily quietly, in the California community colleges. It’s the battle for respect and support for our colleges from our regional accrediting body at the same time that this body carries out its vital mission of holding our colleges accountable for meeting agreed-
We need to make sure Prop. 30—which only exists with a chance of passage because of CFT—is approved by voters, so that $50 million for restoration and $160 million for deferral buydown actually materialize. and our partnerships with other organizations and constituencies, we have the ability to influence and shape the outcomes. Imagine where we would be without CFT’s leadership and political involvement on Prop. 30 and in each of these other battles.
upon standards. Mapping out an appropriate and effective role for our union in this arena is especially challenging. But we are working hard to figure it out, because there’s simply too much at stake to stand aside, and the status quo is unacceptable.
Mark Your 2012/2013 Calendar October 26-28
Council of Classified Employees Conference, Hilton San Jose
November 6 Election Day November 17
CFT Executive Council, Burbank
Community College Council meeting, Hilton Oakland Airport
January 19, 2013 CFT Committees, L.A. Valley College March 15-17
Cover: CCSF rallies in front of San Francisco City Hall for passage of Measure A, a parcel tax, but also to show that in the face of an over-the-top accreditation assault, San Franciscans love their community college. Chris Hanzo photo
Perspective is published three times during the academic year by CFT’s Community College Council. Community College Council President Carl Friedlander Los Angeles College Guild, Local 1521 3356 Barham Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90068 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Direct inquiries regarding the Community College Council to Carl Friedlander Southern Vice President Jim Mahler AFT Guild, San Diego and GrossmontCuyamaca Community Colleges, Local 1931 3737 Camino del Rio South, Suite 410 United Labor Center Bldg. San Diego, CA 92108 Northern Vice President Dean Murakami Los Rios College Federation of Teachers AFT Local 2279 1127 – 11th Street, #806 Sacramento, CA 95814 Secretary Kathy Holland Los Angeles College Guild, Local 1521, 3356 Barham Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90068 Editor Fred Glass Layout Design Action Collective EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS Direct editorial submissions to: Editor, Community College Perspective. California Federation of Teachers 1330 Broadway, Suite 1601 Oakland, CA 94612 Telephone 510-523-5238 Fax 510-523-5262 Email email@example.com Web www.cft.org To Advertise Contact the CFT Secretary-Treasurer for a current rate card and advertising policies. Jeff Freitas, Secretary-Treasurer California Federation of Teachers 2550 North Hollywood Way, Ste. 400 Burbank, CA 91505 Telephone 818-843-8226 Fax 818-843-4662 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Although advertisements are screened as carefully as possible, acceptance of an advertisement does not imply CFT endorsement of the product or service. Perspective is a member of the International Labor Communications Association and AFT Communications Association. Perspective is printed and mailed by Eagle Press in Sacramento.
CFT Convention, Sheraton Grand, Sacramento
October 2012 P E R S P E C TIVE
Sadie Reynolds: from basic skills to professor
Committed to being a force for change S
adie Reynolds doesn’t just remember where she came from. She’s made her personal history the prism through which she understands the people around her, from students to fellow faculty to inmates in the prison system. And understanding, she says, gives her the commitment to being a force for change. “As a sociology student, one of the most important things I learned was that people make history,” she explains. “Well, I’m a person. My education helped me to understand myself as a historical agent. The choices we make matter.” Her choice was education. “Education is transformative – it certainly was for me,” Reynolds emphasizes. “And if I can make it transformative for my students, that’s what makes my work meaningful. I remember how empowering it was for me. It’s important to make it happen for them.” She’s referring to students who take her sociology classes at Cabrillo College. She’s also talking about others taking basic skills classes in the Academy for College Excellence, a Cabrillo program founded by Diego Navarro, of which she’s now the director. And she’s talking about the men at Santa Cruz County Jail, who are part of the writers’ workshop she began as a student at the University of California at Santa Cruz over a decade ago.
Been there One reason why she can understand students in all three places is that she’s been in all of them herself. Born while her parents were visiting or passing through Culiacan, Sinaloa, she was taken back to the U.S. as an infant. There she lived in a chaotic environment for the rest of her childhood. She and her mother moved often -- from California to Florida to Massachusetts -- finally settling in Los Angeles when she was 14. As a result of the instability, “I was restless,” she remembers. She was smart, and never had trouble passing tests, but couldn’t stay in school. “I had no discipline, and lived in an environment where going to prison was part of the story of the people around me.” Eventually it became part of her story too. She went to jail repeatedly, although not with long sentences. And she developed a drug habit. “I experienced a lot of violence, and I was using because I was medicating
myself.” Seeing addiction as self-medication means she sees it as an illness and a social problem. “Incarceration for drugs, which is the way a huge number of people get enmeshed in the prison system, is part of the same social problem,” she says. “It’s a product of the lack of education and poverty.” But she also says she was lucky in some ways. She had friends who tried to help her -“moments of human kindness, which made me realize my value as a human being.”
Something shifted In jail she got clean at 21, got her GED, and began taking classes. “Once I felt part of humanity, something in me shifted. I had to respect the life I was given, and therefore had a responsibility to do something with it. Once you realize you’re human, you see what human beings are capable of. You know that you’re capable of those things too – the terrifying and the beautiful things as well. So I began doing positive things with my life. Before I was trying to die – I had no reason to live.” When she got out, she called the first recovery program she could find, and it gave her a
John Govsky Photo
Cabrillo College sociology instructor and Adjunct Committee Chair Sadie Reynolds is beginning to get some of the recognition she deserves for a remarkable set of accomplishments.
place to sleep on the floor. “I was so grateful to find a clean and sober place,” she remembers. Later she went to another women’s recovery house, where she eventually became a manager. She also found that she loved learning. “Education became the foundation for a life of meaning,” Reynolds says. “I came back from the brink. That helps me to identify with and understand my students today.” She may have started late, but
herself has become a master mentor, teaching other teachers to use it. From her start in community college Reynolds transferred to UC Santa Cruz, where she majored in sociology. She also took a year off to work for the Fund for Non-Violence, a local Santa Cruz foundation working on social justice issues in Latin America and prison reform and prisoner rights in the U.S. Finally, in 2008, she received her PhD, and got a job teaching
“We are spending more on prisons than on higher education, which is a terrible social policy and doesn’t make sense. We lock up more people than all of Europe combined, or China. Instead, we need to shift to healing, to taking care of peoples’ needs, keeping people out of jail and implementing everyone’s right to an education.” once she got going, nothing stopped her. “I’d been starved,” she remembers. “I was hungry and it all was engaging – art, history, even math. I was so happy, and I got really good grades because I was eager and focused for the first time. That had never happened to me before.” She began community college at 23, and soon realized that some courses could get her credits for a four-year college, a destination she’d never previously considered. “I had to take five math classes to get any transfer classes,” she laughs. “I was a basic skills student.” Today she sees many students in the same situation – having to take basic skills classes before they can get courses for college credits. “Most of them who come in the way I did, as a basic skills student, don’t make it. They have rent to pay, kids to feed, and hardly any money or time. That’s one of the biggest problems we have in community college.”
Academy for Academic Excellence That’s also the reason, when she began teaching at Cabrillo, that she became involved in the Academy for Academic Excellence. It’s designed to keep students in college by having them move with a cohort of students. “A lot of them are just out of prison themselves,” Reynolds explains. “They study social justice, and learn to focus and even meditate.” That program has been so successful that it’s now being used in other districts around the country. Reynolds
at Cabrillo College in nearby Aptos. “Sociology gave me a language and a conceptual framework for understanding my own life,” she recalls. “I finally understood as a woman why I’d experienced gender discrimination. I’d seen a lot of racism growing up, and now I could understand it as systemic and historical.” Once at Cabrillo, she joined the union right away. She’d been a shop steward for teaching assistant unions at UCSC and the University of Oregon. She became the representative for her division, and then joined the part-time faculty committee. Reynolds is now the adjunct chair of the Cabrillo College Federation of Teachers. “I love my job,” she says, “but being an adjunct is not a good position to be in. The number of units you can teach is limited, you’re paid less for teaching them, and you have less job security than full-time faculty. You’re really a second-class citizen among faculty workers. And this is the wave of the future in education, because we cost colleges less and they have the freedom to dispose of us easily.”
A life of its own When she got to Cabrillo, Reynolds didn’t leave her past behind. At UC Santa Cruz she’d begun organizing writing workshops for women in the county jail, the Inside Out Writing Program. Originally she planned it more as part of a Continued on page 6
P E R S P E C TI V E October 2012
The wealthiest Californians need to pay their fair share to fund public education
roposition 30, the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act, is on the November 6 ballot. Along with Proposition 32 (see opposite page), it is the most important issue facing California voters among the many ballot measures. State budget cuts to public education funding, totaling $20 billion over the past four years, have taken a terrible toll on our ability to deliver the education our students need and deserve. Prop 30 will raise $9 billion in the first year, and $6 billion a year for six years after that, for public education and other
11% split between K-12 and community college funding in its revenues. Prop 30 would increase income tax rates on the wealthiest Californians, and modestly increase the state sales tax by ¼ cent, to provide desperately needed revenues to rebuild our schools and services.
Polling shows this initiative has a good chance with the electorate, because Californians are tired of cuts to education. But its chances increase greatly if voters know that 90% of its revenues come from taxing the rich. services. It will also provide constitutional approval for the governor’s realignment of funding for local public safety services while protecting Proposition 98 school funding. Prop 30 stipulates an 89% -
It is a progressive tax measure, with 90% of the revenues coming from wealthy taxpayers, and the other 10% from the small increase in the state sales tax. Is it fair to ask the wealthy to shoulder the lion’s share of
the new tax increase for schools and services? Consider this: the top one percent of income earners has doubled its share of California’s income since the mid 1990s, while paying lower tax rates now than it did at that time. Prop 30 will begin to restore cuts to community college programs devastated by years of recession. It will also prevent another $6 billion in “trigger cuts” to all levels of public education scheduled to kick in January 1, 2013, if Prop 30 fails to pass. Community college funding will be augmented statewide by more than $300 million per year if we succeed in passing Prop 30.
Where Prop 30 came from In March, the California Federation of Teachers and its Restoring California coalition allies (now Reclaim California’s Future) reached agreement with Governor Jerry Brown and top legislative leaders to set aside their dueling ballot measure efforts and come together in support of one state revenue measure. The ballot approach to raising revenues was made
necessary by the failure of the Governor to convince just two Republicans in each house of the Legislature to vote with Democrats on extending temporary taxes the previous year. Despite large majorities in favor of the tax extension, the effort failed due to the undemocratic two-thirds requirement for the Legislature to pass a tax, coupled with the anti-tax pledges taken by the Republicans. By making a start on fair tax rates on the wealthy, we can bring back some of the funding for our classrooms and services we have lost over the past several years. Polling shows this initiative has a good chance with the electorate, because Californians are tired of cuts to education. But its chances increase greatly if voters know that 90% of its revenues come from taxing the rich.
Progressive tax This measure will add individual brackets at $250,000 (10.3%), $300,000 (11.3%), $500,000 (12.3%), and joint filer brackets at $500,000 (10.3%), $600,000 (11.3%), and $1 million (13.3%). It will ask only
families making more than a half million dollars per year to pay more income taxes. The ¼ cent sales tax is half the size of the governor’s former proposal. On balance, the ballot measure, if passed, will be the single largest progressive tax ever passed in California history. It will have to be, in order to make a dent in the problems created by low tax rates on the wealthy coupled with the effects of the recession. The ballot measure will not solve all the state’s problems with one magic wave of the fiscal wand. California now suffers an annual state budget deficit nearly twice the size the state will receive from our ballot measure. But it’s an important start, and key to its success is that it gets most of the money from people who have it and can easily afford to pay their fair share. For more information, and to get involved with the campaign for Proposition 30, contact your AFT local or Alayna Fredricks in northern California at 510-523-5238 and Esmie Grubbs in southern California at 818-843-8226.
Protect students, your community, and your workplace rights
f it weren’t already clear enough to anyone taking the time to examine Proposition 32 that the ballot measure would tilt the political playing field way over in the direction of the wealthy and corporations, the Koch brothers have helped to fill in the details. In mid-September the far-right billionaire backers of the Tea Party tossed $4 million into a super PAC for the purpose of purchasing television and radio ads on behalf of the Prop 32 campaign. Why this interest by out-of-state billionaires in a California proposition that claims to be about “fair and balanced” campaign finance reform? Proposition 32 threatens everyone’s workplace rights, wages and retirement, by prohibiting unions from participating in the political process. The measure’s wealthy backers falsely claim it’s about neutral “campaign finance reform,” and “stopping special interests”
from dominating politics. Yes on 32 advertising even mentions corporations more often than unions as its target. In fact, Prop 32 is deceitfully designed to silence workers’ political voice, and give corporations even more power over politics and government than they already possess.
Prop 32 will stop all organizations from collecting funds for political action through payroll deductions. Sounds fair and even-handed, doesn’t it? But corporations don’t use payroll deductions to collect funds for political action; they use the corporate treasury. So unions will be prevented from collecting and allocating political action money, and corporations won’t. The measure would also prevent unions and corporations from making direct contributions to candidates, a provision that means little to corporations, since they would continue to be able to fund independent campaign Super PACs.
Labor advocates for everyone Two thirds of the funding for California’s community colleges, just like for K-12 education, comes from Sacramento. When the CFT leadership makes its decisions about how to allocate members’ money on state politics, it examines candidates’ legislative track records and public pronouncements on public education and labor issues. It decides to contribute to candidates and ballot measure campaigns with a clear set of guidelines in mind: how will this candidate or ballot measure help or hurt our members, their students, and their families. Prop 32 would end all that.
And unions don’t simply advocate for their own members, as important as that is. By backing policies like increases in the minimum wage, regulations on corporations that pursue profit over worker and public safety and health, decent retirement and health care policies for all, and fair taxes on the rich to fund public education and social services, unions work on behalf of everyone in the 99%.
Prop 32 in a long deceptive tradition Prop 32 comes from a long tradition of anti-union ballot measures crafted to sound Continued on page 5
October 2012 P E R S P E C TIVE
The CFT recommends STATEWIDE PROPOSITIONS
Proposition 30 Yes Protects funding for education & public safety
Proposition 31 No Locks California into permanent underfunding of education, health, & other vital services
17 Bill Monning
29 Greg Diamond
31 Richard Roth
19 Hannah-Beth Jackson
21 Star Moffatt
35 No Endorsement
11 Mark Leno*
25 Carol Liu*
13 Jerry Hill
Proposition 32 No Special Exemptions Act. Silences voice of educators in political process Proposition 33 No Mercury Insurance sponsored proposal to allow rate hikes on lowincome drivers
23 Melissa Ruth O’Donnell
33 Ricardo Lara 37 Steve Young 39 Marty Block
27 Fran Pavley*
15 Jim Beall
California Assembly 1
29 Mark Stone
57 No Endorsement
30 Luis Alejo*
58 Cristina Garcia
31 Henry Perea*
Proposition 34 Yes Repeals death penalty and replaces with life without parole
32 Rudy Salas
33 John Coffey
34 Mari Goodman
Proposition 35 Yes Increases penalties for human trafficking
35 No Endorsement
62 Steven Bradford*
36 Steve Fox
63 Anthony Rendon
37 Das Williams*
64 Isadore Hall, III*
59 Reggie Jones-Sawyer 60 Jose Luis Perez 61 Jose Medina
10 Mike Allen*
38 Edward Headington
11 Jim Frazier
39 Richard Alarcon
12 No Endorsement
40 Russ Warner
13 No Endorsement
41 Chris Holden
67 No Endorsement
14 Susan Bonilla*
42 Mark Orozco
68 No Endorsement
15 Nancy Skinner*
43 Mike Gatto*
16 Joan Buchanan*
44 No Endorsement
17 Tom Ammiano*
45 Bob Blumenfield*
70 Bonnie Lowenthal*
18 Abel Guillen
46 Adrin Nazarian
19 Phil Ting
47 Joe Baca, Jr.
20 Bill Quirk
48 Roger Hernandez*
73 No Endorsement
Proposition 39 Yes Closes $1 billion loophole for multi-state corporations to fund clean energy program
21 Adam Gray
49 Edwin Chau
74 No Endorsement
22 Kevin Mullin
50 Betsy Butler*
75 Matthew Herold
23 No Endorsement
51 Jimmy Gomez
24 Richard Gordon
52 Norma Torres*
Proposition 40 Yes A Yes vote upholds the process used to redraw State Senate district boundaries
25 Bob Wieckowski*
53 John A. Perez*
26 No Endorsement
54 Holly Mitchell*
27 Nora Campos*
55 No Endorsement
79 Shirley Weber
28 Paul Fong*
56 Manuel Perez*
80 Ben Hueso*
Proposition 36 Yes Reforms Three Strikes Law Proposition 37 Yes Labeling of genetically engineered foods Proposition 38 No Recommendation Munger Initiative. Raises money for schools, but seen as rival to Prop. 30.
65 Sharon Quirk-Silva 66 Al Muratsuchi
71 Patrick Hurley 72 No Endorsement
76 No Endorsement 77 No Endorsement 78 Toni Atkins*
No on 32, Continued from page 4
positive, fair, and democratic while intending to accomplish the opposite. In 2005 Arnold Schwarzenegger backed Prop 75, which would have eliminated the ability of public and private sector workers to make political contributions to their unions. This was called “paycheck protection.” Who could be against protecting their paycheck? In 1998 a similar measure affecting only public workers attempted to do the same thing. In 1958 employers backed a “right to work” mea-
sure, which would have stripped unions of the ability to collect dues for any purpose—politics, collective bargaining, grievance handling—from the workers they represented. It provided no one any “right” to a job, but it sounded good...at first. Each of these measures was ultimately defeated, but only after enormous effort and expenditure by unions and their allies to explain their real purpose to fair-minded voters. The backers of Prop 32, in addition to the notoriously anti-
worker Koch brothers, include a who’s who of anti-public education, pro-voucher, anti-union
billionaires, along with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the Lincoln Club of
Prop 32 will stop all organizations from collecting funds for political action through payroll deductions. Sounds fair and even-handed, doesn’t it? But corporations don’t use payroll deductions to collect funds for political action; they use the corporate treasury. So unions will be prevented from collecting and allocating political action money, and corporations won’t.
Orange County, which filed an amicus brief for the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Corporations already outspend unions 15 -1 in politics. If their deceptive campaign succeeds, this one-sided measure would make our post-Citizens United political system even more unbalanced. Don’t let billionaires control California’s political process more than they already do. Vote NO on Prop 32.
P E R S P E C TI V E October 2012
Legislative Update Carl Friedlander, CFT Community College Council president
State budget casts shadow over legislation T he year 2012 was the second of the two-year legislative session. The state’s budget problem cast a shadow over almost everything and made it very difficult to get bills past the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees if they were perceived as involving any cost. In addition, transitions in the CFT lobbying team – some expected, some unexpected – posed some additional challenges. The community college legislative agenda, ably carried for so many years primarily by Judy Michaels, had to be divided between Dolores Sanchez and Lynne Faulks. Dolores graciously picked up an extra load to help out our Council and did a great job. Lynne Faulks, a retired legislative director from CTA, used her vast experience to handle the rest of the community college legislative agenda as an interim lobbyist for CFT. Judy, to whom we all owe deep gratitude for her years of dedicated and effective service to CFT, is doing well and, we
hope, enjoying life outside the Capitol to the fullest. CFT is now searching for a new permanent lobbyist and a legislative director. In this tough environment, we had more success killing or improving bills than we had getting our sponsored bills passed. SB 1550 (Wright), which would have created a pilot program to allow certain colleges to charge students the “full cost of instruction” for CTE classes, sailed through the Senate and seemed destined for the Governor’s desk until CFT lobbyists and advocates went to work once again making clear to key members of the Assembly Higher Education Committee that two-tier fee programs had no place in the California community colleges. Jim Mahler, President of the San Diego Faculty Guild, AFT Local 1931, flew to Sacramento to testify against the bill in the Assembly Higher Education Committee, where the bill died. CFT leaders and lobbyists also worked hard and successfully to get amendments made to SB
1456 (Lowenthal), the primary legislative vehicle for some of the central recommendations of the Student Success Task Force. Though we were not able to remove the SB 1456 provision tying Board of Governors waiver eligibility to academic progress, we got numerous other amendments incorporated (including amendments deleting the language tying the unit limit and education plan requirement to the bill’s BOG waiver eligibility provisions) and were thus able to stay neutral on the bill, which was supported by the Student Senate and ASCCC. Much of the CFT legislative agenda focused on bills designed to improve conditions for the system’s part-time faculty. We sponsored SB 114 (Yee), which went through a number of overhauls but ended up as a bill requiring districts to submit each year to STRS a copy of the collective bargaining agreement, which contains the fulltime equivalent for each class of faculty. This bill, supported by STRS, should make it possible
to calculate the service credit of adjunct faculty more accurately. On September 30 Governor Brown signed SB 114 into law. Other CFT-sponsored parttime bills did not fare as well. AB 1826 (Hernandez), a bill limiting fulltime overload assignments to 50% of the regular fulltime workload, was sponsored by CFT alone and strongly supported by part-time faculty across the state. AB 1826 died unexpectedly in the Senate Appropriations suspense file for reasons that we are still trying to assess. AB 852 (Fong) was jointly sponsored by CPFA, CCA/ CTA, CCC/CFT and FACCC and designed to guarantee a minimum standard of rehire rights for adjunct faculty. It may have been a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth, or just a breakdown in communication among the various interested parties, but the bill ended up in a form CFT could not support. The bill would have added new language in statute that included an expiration date on
the requirement to reach agreement on rehire rights at local bargaining tables. In the view of CFT attorneys, the sunset date was very problematic, because it would have meant the erasure of existing provisions making rehire rights a mandatory subject of bargaining with no sunset date. Because of this problem and others identified by our attorneys, we had no choice but to oppose the bill, which led Assemblyman Fong to pull the plug on AB 852. All of us – part-time and fulltime faculty, elected leaders and legislative staff of all the faculty organizations – need to learn from some of the confusion that contributed to the demise of AB 852. We must come back in the new legislative session more focused around an agenda that makes sense, is legally sound, and can unify all of our organizations and allow us to work collaboratively in order to move this agenda through the challenging legislative process.
really defy stereotypes in a profound way. In the workshop they open up. They’ve dropped out of high school, so they have very little formal education, but they’re very creative and often their writing is incredible. It really shows the potential being thrown away in the prison system.” They also share the same problem she sees in some of her basic skills students. “It’s so hard for them to get jobs. No one will hire a felon,” Reynolds says. Yet she thinks of one student who, like herself, was able to turn his life around after a long period of incarceration. Today he works with Barrios Unidos in Santa Cruz, a community organizing project, and speaks publicly about his experience and commitment to spirituality and non-violence. “We both were lucky to find people that helped us,” she says. “People need resources to get out and stay out, and education is the most important factor in that. There’s no question that education cuts recidivism.”
All connected For Reynolds, teaching, being a union activist, and working inside the prison system are all connected. “We have to pay serious attention to the relationship between the incarceration system and the education system,” she asserts. “We are spending more on prisons than on higher education, which is a terrible social policy and doesn’t make sense. We lock up more people than all of Europe combined, or China. Instead, we need to shift to healing, to taking care of peoples’ needs, keeping people out of jail and implementing everyone’s right to an education.” Reynolds was mentored by Angela Davis, a radical professor at UCSC, and shares much of Davis’ critique of what they call the prison industrial complex. “She made me decide to dedicate my life to social justice,” Reynolds says. That kind of radical change requires political action and commitment. “We can change direction – it’s possible,” she
declares. “Labor unions are one of the best examples of how we can create a tool to challenge the excesses of the corporate state. Unions raise the quality of life for everyone; when we’re weakened it’s a threat to everyone.” So when the California Federation of Teachers made matching grants available for local unions as part of the program Political Leaders United to Create Change, Reynolds drafted her local’s application. When the grant came through, she then began working parttime as the local’s paid political coordinator, gathering signatures on Prop 30 ballot initiative petitions, coordinating COPE drives, and working on the current election. “I look back at my own experience,” she concludes, “and I can see how important it is to give people hope for what’s possible, in their own lives, and for our whole society and country.” By David Bacon
By Carl Friedlander
Force for Change, Continued from page 3
research effort for her PhD thesis on prisons, but it took on a life of its own. “It connects inmates with people on the outside,” she explains, “and it connects the university with people on the inside. Being locked up can be so dehumanizing that this con-
nection by itself is important.” After she left, other students took over the project, and still run it today as an all-volunteer effort. Reynolds returned to begin a workshop with men, after having worked previously only with women. “These men
Lisa Pennino Photo
Sadie Reynolds teaches classes for prisoners as well as “normal” students.
October 2012 P E R S P E C TIVE
Parcel tax will help SFCC
Fighting to maintain access to quality education I
am City College!” That’s the upbeat perspective we hear as the San Francisco community pulls together to respond to a harsh accreditation report, mount campaigns to pass revenue initiatives on November’s ballot, and save the college. Although there are many good things happening and signs that City College of San Francisco (CCSF) is getting back on track, we are by no means there yet.
After working hard last spring and summer to close the budget gap forecast for this year, which included a 2.85% faculty salary cut, CCSF’s accreditation
of program offerings and geographic sites and overly generous employment practices.
Race to the bottom District administration, aided by ACCJC and the FCMAT report, will likely use the data to try to extract further concessions from faculty and other staff. FCMAT’s report contains a host of recommendations that constitute a “race to the bottom”
slash pay, eliminate health and dental benefits, and choke off access to full-time faculty jobs. Additionally, FCMAT’s attack on full-time faculty at City College appears ignorant of the bargaining history at CCSF or the statewide commitment to full-time faculty long embodied in state law. For years we’ve negotiated to improve and stabilize faculty livelihoods, enabling faculty to devote their energies
Many of the problems faced by CCSF and most of public education today stem in large measure from the state’s ongoing budget crisis and consequent severe underfunding. for faculty working conditions and our contract. Recommendations to lower CCSF’s costs by returning to the superexploitation of part-time faculty, for instance, would roll back employment practices more than thirty years. For part-time faculty, the suggested cuts would
to teaching and serving students. We’ve built a strong full-time faculty core that is better able to develop curriculum and spend more time with students. We continue to view these gains as essential to the wellbeing of our Continued on page 8 Chris Hanzo photo
was threatened in July by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). Along with Cuesta College and College of the Redwoods, CCSF was ordered to “show cause” why the college shouldn’t lose its accreditation after this academic year. This most severe sanction— threatening to revoke the college’s accreditation if it does not address numerous financial and administrative issues—is particularly odd in CCSF’s case, given that the college was not already operating under either of the other, less severe sanctions. ACCJC acknowledged that the college continued to provide quality education, yet simultaneously ordered CCSF to “develop an overall plan of how it will address the mission, institutional assessments, planning and budgeting issues identified in several of the 2012 evaluation team recommendations, and submit a Special Report describing the
plan by October 15, 2012.” As a single-campus district of nearly 100,000 students, CCSF is the largest provider of higher education in the state. It’s vital
of $809 million, with $53 million coming from CCSF alone. This has resulted in the loss of 16,000 students and nearly 250 faculty. Downsizing is happening and happening fast. We have 1,579 faculty now compared with 1,740 just one year ago. Still, there are longstanding issues cited by ACCJC that the CCSF Board and administration have failed to adequately address. Fourteen areas were identified where the college was not meeting standards, including measuring student learning, providing student and library services, school governance, and managing finances. The college’s trustees requested help from the State’s Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), which issued a report in mid-September taking aim at what they consider to be poor management of limited resources, overstaffing, and excessive spending on employees. Given the current economic environment, they conclude there is a dire fiscal crisis at CCSF, manifest in what it terms an unsustainable level
to our local economy, key to supplying workforce training, basic skills courses in English and math, and preparing students for transfer to four-year institutions. Like other community colleges across the state, we educate and train a large proportion of our region’s nurses, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians.
Costly overreach Accreditation efforts to ensure schools are providing students with a quality education are important. Attempts to micromanage fiscal and governance procedures, however, amount to a costly overreach that threatens important programs. The reality is that many of the problems faced by CCSF and most of public education today stem in large measure from the state’s ongoing budget crisis and consequent severe underfunding. Over the last three years, funding for community colleges in California has been cut by a total
AFT 2121 president Alisa Messer (at microphone) has been in thick of the fight to keep SFCC afloat.
P E R S P E C TI V E October 2012
Local Action AFT Local 1931’s community and political outreach hits new heights
Labor may be in dire straits across the country but AFT Local 1931 in San Diego seems not to know it. Recently, the community college faculty union won an award from Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) for being their “2012 Community Leader in San Diego.” As ACCE’s Dave Lagstein noted when bestowing the award, 1931 is not just there when it’s easy, “They are there when it’s hard.” Specifically, Lagstein cited AFT’s work in challenging a labor-endorsed Democrat on housing issues and helping to get key votes to pass an important housing bill. AFT is also partnering with ACCE to get out the vote in traditionally underrepresented communities of color in San Diego and encouraging folks to vote YES on 30, NO on 32, and for progressive Bob Filner for Mayor. More recognition: San Diego AFT members will be honored by the Center for Policy Initiatives (CPI) for helping educate students who go on to contribute to making a better San Diego. According to local presi-
dent Jim Mahler, “We have also recently partnered with the CPI Students for Economic Justice program devoted to training the labor and community activists of the future.”
Social justice model Local 1931’s political director, Jim Miller, says, “The local’s internship program is based on a social justice unionism model that seeks to align faculty interests with those of the students and the community we serve. This year we have interns working in the City College Workers Rights Center helping educate their fellow students, mostly non-union workers, about their rights on the job.” Another group of student interns is devoted to a wide scale student voter registration drive, while a third group is focused on a nine week program of walking and phoning for Propositions 30, No on 32, and Bob Filner for Mayor. Says Miller, “The notion here is to engage students in the political process serving their own interests and those of their community. The students work alongside faculty volunteers and participate in education workshops on union history and political issues.” Miller has a simple answer to the question, “Why do all
this?” “Because as the old slogan puts it, “An injury to one is an injury to all.” If we just sit back and think defensively and selfishly about our own piece of the pie, there is no reason why we should expect the larger community to come to our aid. As the example of the Chicago Teachers Union strike illustrated, community outreach and organizing creates key allies. We forget this at our peril.”
Members on the run In addition to community outreach efforts, members of 1931 have chosen to run for office at an unprecedented rate. AFT members Gregg Robinson, Lyn Neylon, and Mark Anderson all ran for the County Board of Education with Robinson making the run-off for seat 1 and Neylon and Anderson winning in June, taking seats 2 and 4. If Robinson wins his race, AFT Local 1931 members will hold the board majority. In the San Diego Unified School District, AFT member Marne Foster finished first in the primary and is poised to take Seat E in November. AFT member Rick Cassar is running for Cardiff School District Board while fellow 1931 mem-
Jim Miller photo
College students join with members of the San Diego Faculty Guild, AFT Local 1931, to make thousands of phone calls in support of Proposition 30, in opposition to Prop 32, and for endorsed candidate for City Mayor Bob Filner.
ber Scott Barr is vying for a seat on the Coronado School Board. At the Community College level, City College professor William Stewart is running for Southwestern Community College Board while Grossmont College professor Mary Graham was reelected to the San Diego Community College Board where we have won every seat.
Finally, AFT member George Gastil is in the race for Lemon Grove City Council. Says Miller, “Sometimes when the deck is stacked against you, you have to try to change the game.” One thing is clear. If Local 1931 succeeds in all of these races, which is likely, AFT members will be playing a big role in the future of San Diego.
CCSF, Continued from page 7
-shirts are just the beginning of the story for faculty at State Center Community College in Fresno, who are determined to maintain unity of all employees as they face budget cuts and efforts to divide the members of the three bargaining units at their school. The local unions of the California School Employees Association, Police Officers Association and State Center Federation of Teachers knew they needed to demonstrate their solidarity a year-and-a-half ago when the district called for differential concessions as they began their separate negotiations processes. Their message to administration and the Board was clear: NO DIVISION. CSEA, POA, plus SCFT equal ONE! T-shirts were printed to visually drive home their point. Members of all three units attended board meetings to carry their message of “equity while servicing students” and to successfully push back a first round of assaults. These group efforts in part contributed to a successful “status quo” resolution for all groups in negotiations.
students, faculty, and the institution. AFT 2121 has been committed to keeping a close eye on the District’s budget, balancing employee needs with the College’s fiscal health. Much has been done to prevent CCSF’s fall into fiscal insolvency, including program reductions and employee attrition; consolidations and reorganizations; prioritizing and reducing assignments; and multiple, painful years of wage freezes and wage givebacks. All of this is being accomplished while—as ACCJC recognized in its July review—the quality of education at CCSF is being maintained. CCSF has held on by its fingernails, seeking ways to continue to serve a broad range of student needs and maintain educational access during these challenging budgetary times.
New efficiencies and new revenues But 2012/13 is the worst year yet, and we need an innovative combination of new efficiencies and savings and new revenues
to get through it. Measures to improve enrollment and scheduling, assess costs by site, streamline management, and implement improved technologies will make better use of available resources without harming students or workers. At least as importantly, passage of Prop 30 will bring in over $6 billion of new revenues per year statewide, primarily by raising income taxes on the top tier of California income earners. The stakes are high: CCSF stands to lose another $10 million this year if Prop 30 fails. And locally, Proposition A, a CCSF parcel tax, will generate more than $14 million per year. Our current fiscal situation is quite serious, but we will not let it be used as a divisive opportunity to roll back decades of important gains in a new race to the bottom that would be felt not just at CCSF, but throughout the state. For student stories about how City College has helped them, go to iamcitycollege. tumblr.com
by Alisa Messer