California Educator

November 2015

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By DINA MARTIN T he 50th anniversary of the federal Higher Edu- cation Act provided the opportunity during the Community College Association's fall conference in October to recommit to the union values that have strengthened and supported faculty teaching and stu- dent learning conditions. Signed by President Lyndon Baines Johnson on Nov. 8, 1965, the landmark Higher Education Act provided access to scholarships, loans and work opportunities for millions of students who might never have had the chance to attend college. In signing the legislation that would become the cor- nerstone of his anti-poverty Great Society program, Johnson said prophetically, "It is a truism that education is no longer a luxury. Education in this day and age is a necessity." In the years since, community college faculty — and CCA — have been at the forefront of promoting access and support for students to higher education. Attendees were reminded of this as they participated in weekend sessions aimed at strengthening the voice of faculty and their stu- dents. With the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Friedrichs v. CTA in early 2016, the need to strengthen that voice has become even more urgent. CCA took advantage of the conference to hold two emer- gency sessions that introduced ways to reinvigorate members through one-on-one discussions, giving them the opportunity to express what is important to them. Other workshops were devoted to such topics as helping campus leaders develop membership engagement plans, using storytelling to orga- nize members, and connecting with members by using negotiations successes. Assembly Member Jose Medina (D-Riverside), chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, was presented with CCA's Legislator of the Year Award. Medina stayed on to participate in a panel with California Community Colleges Vice Chancellor Vincent Stewart on dual enrollment and its challenges, as increasing numbers of students enroll in com- munity college classes while still in high school. Medina, a longtime history teacher, CTA member, and adjunct community college faculty at Riverside and San Ber- nardino community colleges, has been a stalwart advocate for higher education since his election in 2012. In the past legislative session, he authored bills to provide increased employment stability for part-time faculty and to help students stranded by the abrupt closure and questionable practices of Corinthian Colleges. ough AB 1010, the part-time faculty legislation, failed to pass this time around, Medina vowed, "I won't give up fight- ing for part-time instructors if you are still behind me. To be out there year after year and not know whether you will be back is not acceptable. We look forward to reintroducing the bill to give part-time faculty what they deserve." For more, see CCA's fall conference strengthened faculty, student voices Recommitting to Union Values Far le: Lisa Lopes, psychology instructor and member of San Joaquin Delta College TA with daughter Pilar, 5. Near le: CCA President Lynette Nyaggah, Assembly Member Jose Medina, and CCA Vice President Brad Reynolds. 54

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