NAWD Action Item #8: Write a Politician a Letter

Good Adjuncts:

Having a rally and making noise is good, turning it into action is better.  In California currently many activists are engaged in getting the Governor to address adjunctification by categorically dedicating:

30 Million dollars to adjunct office hours

50 million dollars to equity pay

100 million dollars to more full-time positions

In addition, there is proposed legislation being considered regarding the creation of three-year contracts for adjuncts.

Anyway, below please notice series of sample letters you might send to Governor Brown.  Copy and paste one into a word file, sign it and send it to one of the addresses given below:

Governor Jerry Brown

c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173

Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Brown:

As you may or may not know, part-time, temporary instructors teach approximately 70% of the courses at community colleges. In many districts these individuals are paid far less than their full-time counterparts even though they have exactly the same credentials and teach exactly the same courses.

As a result, many of these part-timers are forced to take on multiple jobs and work in multiple districts in order to make ends meet. Furthermore, very few districts compensate adjunct faculty for office hours and those that do often compensate at a very low rate (in some cases barely more than the minimum wage).

Given that there is a clear benefit to students from faculty who are decently compensated, and given that students benefit greatly from access to faculty during office hours I would encourage you to increase funding in the state budget in order to correct these deficiencies.

Specifically, I am asking that you allocate additional funds for the categorical line items that currently exist for parity/equity compensation and paid office hours for part-time temporary faculty in the California Community College system in the amount of $30 million for paid office hours, and $50 million for parity/equity compensation. In addition, I ask you to also allocate $100 million for the conversion of existing part-time temporary faculty to full-time faculty status.

Sincerely,

­____________________________

(sign)

____________________________

(print)

____________________________

(date)

Here’s Another:

Governor Jerry Brown

c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173

Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Brown:

As a part-time faculty member teaching in a California community college, I am writing to ask your support in improving the quality of higher education in our state by bettering the working conditions experienced by part-time instructors who teach 70 – 80% of all college classes today. Although part-time faculty are highly trained professionals who hold the same qualifications and deliver the same instructional services as our full-time counterparts, we receive only 50 – 60% of the financial compensation earned by full-time faculty on a per class basis.  We find this inherently unfair – to our students, to our institutions, to the taxpayers at large, and to ourselves.

Over the last six years, the number of students either earning a two-year degree at a California community college, or transferring to a four-year institution, has fallen by 2.6%. Studies at the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute show this is a direct result of the inequalities that currently exist between part-time and full-time instructors. Because part-time faculty receive lower pay and few if any benefits, many of us are compelled to take on teaching loads which exceed those of our full-time colleagues. We work at multiple institutions of higher learning, which reduces our availability to students as well as the time we can devote to providing vital feedback on student work and to preparing for classroom instruction. This negatively impacts student retention and graduation rates.

Our institutions of higher learning and the taxpayers at large are adversely impacted as well. Many of us live under financial duress. Some of us, after years or decades of dedicated service to the profession we love, find the hardship too great, and leave teaching altogether.  Our students and our institutions feel such losses keenly, as do we ourselves. Those of us who persist in our educational calling are often compelled to draw regularly on state unemployment or food stamps in an effort to survive between, and even during, semesters.  News media have also reported dramatic – but telltale – stories of tragic homelessness for some part-time educators. We do not wish to rely upon social services to make ends meet, but part-time/full-time inequality has created a paradoxical situation in which some of our society’s most highly educated and productive citizens come, by necessity, to rely upon welfare programs paid for by taxpayers.

Specifically, I am asking that you allocate additional funds for the categorical line items that currently exist for parity/equity compensation and paid office hours for part-time temporary faculty in the California Community College system in the amount of $30 million for paid office hours, and $50 million for parity/equity compensation. In addition, I ask you to also allocate $100 million for the conversion of existing part-time temporary faculty to full-time faculty status. Help us to create fair and equitable working conditions that will benefit our students, our institutions, and our taxpayers by building today the basis for an educated tomorrow.

Sincerely,

­____________________________

(sign)

____________________________

(print)

____________________________

(date)

Governor Jerry Brown

c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173

Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Brown:

Let me begin by acknowledging that, given your recent budget proposal, it is clear that you value the California Community College System, and recognize its importance for the citizens and the future of our great state. That being said, I am writing to ask you to more clearly set aside some of the money in your proposed budget specifically for adjunct issues. As I hope you are aware, adjuncts make significantly less than their full-time counterparts despite teaching the same courses with the same credentials and the same level of experience. Furthermore, these part-time professors must work multiple jobs at multiple districts to make ends meet. This all too often comes at the expense of students because their professors simply don’t have enough time in the day to give these students the time they need in order to be successful. The only way to address this problem is to reduce the number of adjuncts and improve the working conditions of those that remain.

While I understand that you prefer to leave a great deal of control over budgeting to local districts, the simple fact is that this kind of attitude has only made the situation worse. In those districts with strong unions, various protections have been established for adjuncts, but these tend to be the exception rather than the rule. If we want our students to succeed, if we want to retain them and ensure their ability to graduate or transfer and succeed at four years colleges, we must do more to improve the lives of the adjunct instructors who are increasingly the backbone of the community college system.

Consequently, I am asking you not to increase your already generous budget for the community colleges, but instead to take some of the money out of the budget an earmark it for adjunct concerns. Specifically, I am asking that you allocate additional funds for the categorical line items that currently exist for parity/equity compensation and paid office hours for part-time temporary faculty in the California Community College system in the amount of $30 million for paid office hours, and $50 million for parity/equity compensation. In addition, I ask you to also allocate $100 million for the conversion of existing part-time temporary faculty to full-time faculty status.

Sincerely,

­____________________________

(sign)

____________________________

(print)

____________________________

(date)

Addresses for National Adjunct Action Day Lobbying Campaign All letter should be addressed to the Governor and then CC the other people on the list.

Governor Jerry Brown State Capitol, Suit 1173 Sacramento, CA 95814

Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins P.O. Box 942849 Sacramento, CA 94249-0078

Senate President Pro Temp Kevin De León

State Capitol, Room 205

Sacramento, CA 95814

Senate Education Budget Subcommittee Chair Marty Block

State Capitol, Room 4072 Sacramento, CA 95814

Assembly Education Finance Budget Subcommittee Chair Kevin McCarty

P.O. Box 942849, Room 2160

Sacramento, CA 94249-0007

Department of Finance Director Michael Cohen

915 L Street

Sacramento, CA 95814

Department of Finance Program Budget Director Nick Schweizer

915 L Street

Sacramento, CA 95814

Community College Chancellor Brice Harris

1102 Q Street, Suite 4554

Sacramento, CA 95811

Now start writing and sending those letters good Adjuncts!

Geoff Johnson

A Good Adjunct

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NAWD Action Item: More Videos

The Adjunct Revolution is taking place!

Here are a couple of videos to show your students this week. Students, who are being set up for a precariat life, are our natural allies. Let’s tell the the truth. Here’a  a documentary in the works that looks real:

Freeway Fliers

There is ongoing work from The Homeless Adjunct: ‘Junct: The Trashing of Higher Ed. in America

And, here is an excellent NAWD video from Ohio.

 

Show these to your students!

NAWD Action Item #7: Make and Wear a T-shirt

Good Adjuncts:

For those of you who like something more visual and durable (It’s not like after Feb. 25th the skies will cleave open and adjuntification will disappear and birds will sing),  a T-shirt may be the better way to go.  I know there are a few designs already out there, but this is one that we came up with at Adjunct Crisis.

t-shirt 1t-shirt 2

If you want, I can send the jpegs of the designs so you can make one for yourselves.  For any San Diego Mesa College or Southwestern Community College folks who want a shirt, I’ll be contacting you via campus email.

Geoff Johnson

A Good and Sartorially Splendorous Adjunct

NAWD Action Item: Show This to Your Students

Use this video of Stacy Patton, one of the few journalists covering one of the most important stories of our time, the adjunctification of higher education, as part of your NAWD actions. Show it to students. Show it to other faculty (especially, perhaps, tenured ones). Patton describes what amounts to a lost generation of scholars, “stuck” because they have had the great misfortune of having studied and committed to serving society at a time when the ideology of capitalist exploitation was ascendent.

Patton’s brief comments expose the human cost of adjunctification. The implementation of the corporate model in higher eduction has been happening for a couple of generations. That’s hundreds of thousands of scholar-teachers whose contributions to society have been marginalized and stifled by exploitive and impoverishing labor conditions. Of course, the adjunctification of higher education is just part of the creation of precariat labor across society.

It is important that we communicate to students how they, like us, are caught in the precarious workforce bind. Many of us have student loans we can’t pay because of low wages; likewise, our students are headed this way as well. It does not have to be so. We need to radicalize students as well as ourselves, to resist the neoliberal assault on higher education.

NAWD Action Item #5: Write Number(s) on the Board Which Show Adjunct Reality

Good Adjuncts:

If either any of the other adjunct action items haven’t suited your fancy, or if you want to try a different tack with your students, it’s often the case that numbers speak louder than words.

So here’s what you might do…

At the beginning of the class, and right in the middle of the board write a number.  Say nothing.  As you continue to teach and use the board, work around the number, but leave the number in the center of the board.

After a while, or in some cases, immediately, a curious student will likely as the significance of the number you put on the board, and of course you will then need to explain it to him or her, and if done right, this id going to generate discussion.

If this doesn’t work, you can simply lead students into a “guess the meaning of the number” game.

Here are some numbers I like to throw out:

53% or 58%:

The amount I am paid proportional to a full-timer, depending on district, for the same teaching hour.

4

The number of times I have been on employment in the last two years.

41,731.80

My Last year’s salary

84,205.00

What I would have made as a Full-timer with the equivalent years of teaching and education

17

The number of units I teach at the above salary

15

The number of units a full-timer teaches for the higher salary listed above

55-60

The number of actual hours I work during a teaching session

3

The number of consecutive days I went without seeing my then young son awake in spite of living in the same house due to my work schedule

1

Times my wife, near having a nervous breakdown, threatened to leave me because of my work schedule

286, 000

The number of miles I had on my 1984 Mazda Sundowner Pickup before I got rid of it last year.

4

The number of times I was unable to make it to class in a five-year period due to car trouble with said car.

146,000

The number of miles on my “new” car when I got it.

21

My true average hourly wage after earning an MA +30 units, graduating with honors, and 26 years of teaching experience, with 15 of which being specifically in Higher Ed.

20

The number of extra unpaid tutoring hours I provided to at-risk students for my composition class.

8

The number of students who would not have passed without the extra tutoring

Give ‘em the numbers good adjuncts, make ‘em know.

Geoff Johnson

A Good Adjunct

“What is a an Adjunct?” has been Edited

Good Adjuncts,

Thank you for coming to the blog. I know many of have read or downloaded the “What is an Adjunct?” piece.  When I initially posted the piece, I thought I had saved some changes to obvious errors in the text, so what many of you may have seen is a text with more than a few glaring grammatical and missing word errors.  In effect, I was a “bad” adjunct.  I have since edited to the document.  If you haven’t read it yet, check it out and give it to your students.

Anyway, I’ll be back tomorrow with another action item.

By the way, I’d love to get some of your ideas good adjuncts.  Post them in the comments, or if you want, you can email me at mixinminao@gmail.com, and we’ll post it as a main article.  We want contributors!

Keep strong and let’s make people pay attention on February 25th.

 

Geoff Johnson

A “good” adjunct

An Adjunct Poem

Good Adjuncts,

This is by my colleague at Southwestern College Erin Vrugic:

 

          A 7 Letter Word

                       A

                       Dirty seven letter word

                    unJustly describing

                      oUr Walmartification

    of AmericaN higher education, Faculty

                     ACross the United States.

                      Together we stand,

                    together we rise

                    to support equal labor rights

                    for all.

You’re so right Erin.

Geoff Johnson

A Good Adjunct

http://erinbrownvrugic.weebly.com/

NAWD Action Item #4: Make Stickers and Wear Them

Good Adjuncts:

We need visibility and it can’t just come from a teach-in in a lonely room, or a one-time protest in a main campus space.

Some of you, for one reason or another, cannot or do not want to participate in the latter, so, as with all of the action items I post here, is a small and easy thing one can do for oneself, while involving students, and in fact, anyone else who happens to agree that the conditions and practices of adjunctification need to end.

Make stickers, wear them and distribute them to others.

This is much better than going the button route.  Buttons are relatively expensive, and tear up people’s clothes.  Stickers are by and large the opposite.

Below are the designs for ones we are ostensibly using as San Diego Mesa and Southwestern Community Colleges in San Diego and Chula Vista respectively.  For those blog readers who are at either of those colleges, I should have them out in about a week.

I’m hoping to get a few people wearing them before the 25th so that we can get others to buy in on the big day.

By the way, if you don’t like these designs, then by all means make your own.

Geoff Johnson

The “Good” Adjunct

sticker cut