Monday, April 10, 2006


April 2, 2006

Sen. Sheila Kuehl
State Capitol, Room 5108
Sacramento CA 95814

Sen. Kuehl,

I have a profound respect for your work on SB 840, and need your help on another issue of basic decency and social justice: equal pay for equal work for part time faculty at community colleges.

We are required to have the same qualifications as our full time colleagues and teach the same classes, but are paid as little as a third as much per class, and at most schools aren’t even offered health insurance. As a result, most of us patch together jobs in two or more districts since we can only work 60% of full time in any one place. Ironically, we end up teaching more hours than our full time co-workers just to survive.

It is difficult to explain the value of a higher education to our students when our jobs that require masters degrees don’t pay enough to make our student loan payments, to go to the doctor, or sometimes even to make rent.

Section 45025 of the California Education Code already requires K-12 schools to give pro rata pay to part time instructors, and the state of Washington has bills in both their house and senate requiring schools to give equal pay to part timers.

Past legislative remedies have been so tepid and full of loopholes that the money set aside to equalize part timers pay largely ended up in the pockets of administrators.

California should not have to wait for other states to set the example in ending this abuse of college instructors, particularly since the Assembly and Senate have democratic majorities who depend on teachers to vote to keep them in office.

If you sponsored a bill, mandating equal pay for equal work for part time community college faculty, it would go a long way toward correcting this problem. If you cannot do so, please let me know who would be the best legislator to address about this.

Michael Dixon


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