Project

Public Education Advocacy and Policy

Goal: This project’s goal is to explore and critique the corporate-driven austerity agenda shaping the California Community Colleges system, the largest system of higher education in the United States. How can we build a movement to fight for students' rights to define and achieve their educational goals during an era when the California Community Colleges system is focusing on producing more degrees more quickly in service of a neoliberal agenda to churn out workers for a capitalist economy? How can the largest system of higher education in the United States lead the way in achieving equity for part-time faculty, who comprise 70% of the faculty?

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3

Project log

Debra Klein
added a research item
Why have so many advocacy organizations whose decision makers have little, if any, direct experience within the California Community Colleges, successfully determined the policy and funding direction of the system over the past few decades? In 2020, I began researching a range of California-based advocacy organizations which have redefined the mission for the California Community Colleges to meet the goals of the so-called education “reform” agenda. As education historian and former US Assistant Secretary of Education, Diane Ravitch has revealed through her body of work, the unhidden intention of these policies has been to defund, disrupt, and dismantle public education. Compelled by Ravitch’s argument in Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools that “The Resistance” has successfully defeated the reform agenda in K-12, I believe it is time for a successful resistance movement within the California Community Colleges. The purpose of this article is to call out the educational “reform” movement’s agenda and plant the seed for an organized resistance to the policies that have been defunding, disrupting, and dismantling the California Community Colleges for the past two decades.
Debra Klein
added a research item
Just as the coronavirus crisis magnifies systemic inequities in societies across the globe, it also magnifies systemic absurdities. Now the absurdity of pouring taxpayer dollars into Calbright, a project that is fiscally wasteful, is impossible to ignore. As taxpayers who love and benefit from the community colleges, we have an opportunity to address such absurd spending. When people’s lives are in jeopardy, this kind of spending should be called out and redirected into educationally and ethically sound investments.
Debra Klein
added a research item
The California Community College system’s over-reliance upon part-time faculty is the most chronic and systemic inequity of teaching in the California community colleges. Although the Education Code deems part-time faculty temporary, part-time faculty are not only permanent but have comprised 70 percent of all California community college faculty for over two decades (figure 1). Furthermore, California law does not require part-time faculty be paid for anything beyond the classroom hour, and current law limits a part-time workload to 67 percent of an equivalent full-time load in a single district.
Debra Klein
added a research item
The California Community College system is one of the most significant and vital engines for educational, economic, and personal growth opportunities in California, and particularly for Residents of Color and low income. While many faculty are actively working to create more equitable college cultures and classrooms, transformation will only happen with “the commitment of [our] institutions and the unwavering support of [our] administrations. It is extremely difficult and constant work, but that is what makes it so necessary” (Cabrera, Franklin, and Watson 94). Our colleges must “confront racism, power, and privilege at all levels of the institution” (89) if we want to become better teachers, colleagues, and allies capable of creating more equitable relationships, classrooms, and institutions.
Debra Klein
added a project goal
This project’s goal is to explore and critique the corporate-driven austerity agenda shaping the California Community Colleges system, the largest system of higher education in the United States. How can we build a movement to fight for students' rights to define and achieve their educational goals during an era when the California Community Colleges system is focusing on producing more degrees more quickly in service of a neoliberal agenda to churn out workers for a capitalist economy? How can the largest system of higher education in the United States lead the way in achieving equity for part-time faculty, who comprise 70% of the faculty?