RE: AB 1690 and Job Security for Part-time Faculty
Dear Governor Brown,
As the chair of the California Part Time Faculty Association (CPFA), I am writing to express CPFA’s unqualified support for AB 1690. The tens of thousands of contingent faculty working in California’s Community College system desperately need your signature on this bill. AB 1690 will not only provide baseline job security for longstanding part-time faculty who have been treated as probationary, temporary faculty—who teach over 50% of the community college classes in California—but it will ensure continuity and stability of faculty assignments which has been proven to translate into greater student success as outlined by SB 1456, the Student Success Act of 2012. As you are doubtlessly aware, California’s Education Code (87482.8 & 87482.9) already contains language directing community college districts to negotiate rehire and retention practices since “Part-time faculty should be considered to be an integral part of their departments and given all the rights normally afforded to full-time faculty ….” This language has been in the Code since 2002, yet because of the elasticity conferred by the word “should,” many districts around the state have failed to meaningfully engage in negotiations with their Part-time faculty as regards rehire rights and seniority. This issue is too important to be left to the “local control” some suggest is the best way to resolve such issues. Fourteen years of such local control has left far too many part-time instructors bereft of any stability of assignment or continuity in their role as educators. Your signature on AB 1690 is essential if California’s Part-time community college instructors are to have the rehire and retention rights the legislature intended them to have over a decade ago. Also, it should be pointed out that without such rights, there is no academic freedom.
There is a historical analogy that effectively illustrates part-time faculty issues. Due to the relentless protests by activists within the Civil Rights Movement, the federal government stepped up to its role in enforcing what the 14th and 15th Amendments “due process” and voting rights! For years, civil rights activists fought against the entrenched racist “local control,” a.k.a. Southern “states’ rights” strategy to keep African Americans from voting. President Johnson led Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1965, and so history conveys the powerful message that centralized government involvement is necessary when “local control” fails to protect citizens from abuse and exploitation.
The historical precedent set by the Civil Rights Act of 1965 clearly demonstrates the necessity, in certain circumstances, for you to exercise your power as Governor on behalf of the underprivileged by signing AB 1690. Legislators from both houses agree that it’s time to force districts to comply with reasonable measures to safeguard the tens of thousands of contingent instructors who work in the community college districts, something local control has not accomplished in fourteen years.
One final note, AB 1690 will help to ensure student success, as outlined in SB 1456, the Student Success Act of 2012, as this bill will ensure continuity and stability of faculty work assignments which has been proven to translate into greater student success.
Therefore, I urge you to do what is right. Community College faculty and students across the state need your signature on AB 1690.