Schools Must Be Reopened Safely
Send an email to California elected leaders today. We have some ideas for your letter below, but please feel free to edit it to reflect your voice.
I am writing to you today to urge you to listen to the priorities and needs educators and parents have raised to safely reopen our schools for in-person learning and instruction.
I appreciate the legislative proposal in prioritizing safety in opening schools for in-person instruction and allowing time for school districts and local educators to negotiate and submit safety plans that ensure required safety measures are in place. The proposal also calls for transparency and accountability by posting plans on school district websites and the statewide reporting of data.
Vaccinating teachers and education support professionals, coupled with the multi-layered safety protocols, including testing, PPE, six feet social distancing, sanitization, proper ventilation, testing, and contact tracing are all key to protecting students and their families as well as educators and school staff.
It’s important that county public health departments be required to make COVID-19 vaccines available to school site personnel who are working at a school site where pupils are attending in person. Prioritizing those who are already teaching in-person will allow the state to accommodate the vaccine rollout.
The governor’s announcement that 10 percent (75,000) of vaccines will be set aside for educators is an important step to ensuring teachers and school staff have access to the vaccine before opening school and worksites for in-person instruction. They will be prioritized for those currently in-person and as others near their return, plus those with occupational risk.
Testing and tracing are crucial to help identify school employees and students that need to isolate and quarantine. Asymptomatic testing of students and staff at least every two weeks for schools open in Red Tier will help stop the yo-yo effect of schools opening and closing and ensure stability for students, educators, and their families.
I also appreciate the legislature’s focus on supporting students who need extra help coming out of this pandemic. The current proposal provides $4.6 billion to help districts support students and extends the deadline for districts to use those funds through September 2022, which will be important over the summer months. It is important that when we look at supports to students, they are not only academic supports but also support the social and emotional needs of students and target a whole-child approach.
I urge you to continue to work with educators, parents, and local communities to safely reopen our school buildings for in-person teaching and learning.
Reopen Schools Only When It's Safe
Educators want nothing more than to go back to in-person instruction with all of our students. We know that our students thrive in our classrooms and schools. We must ensure that students, educators, and their families are safe and that our schools are at the center of healthy communities.
We urge our elected leaders to join with educators and parents on priorities for safely returning to in-person instruction.
Testing, low community transmission rates, and vaccines are necessary to safely reopen schools for in-person teaching and learning along with the multi-layered safety measures required by the CDC and CDPH. Those mitigating protocols that must be in place include personal protective equipment, adequate ventilation, smaller class sizes for social distancing, contact tracing programs for students and staff, transparent school safety plans, regular facilities cleaning, hand washing, and access to data on transmission and community spread.
Join us to demand elected leaders open schools safely, hear the concerns of educators, and make responsible decisions for students and families. Send an email today to Governor Newsom and your state lawmakers today!
Equal Pay for Equal Work for California Community College Faculty
Petitioning: California Legislators
Groundbreaking legislation, AB 1269 (Garcia), has been introduced in the California legislature that would ensure parity for part-time faculty so that equal work results in equal pay. Join California educators to urge California lawmakers to support much-deserved parity for the part-time faculty of California Community Colleges (CCC).
Part-Time Faculty comprise 70% of the community college faculty and teach approximately 50% of the classes across the system. As a result, many CCC administrators are exploiting Part-Time Faculty on their campuses as a cost-savings measure, and so they are, in many if not all ways, an exploited second class in the academic world.
In 1968, California Education Code was revised to create part-time faculty to fill emergency, temporary needs in the community colleges, but contrary to the labels of temporary and adjunct/unnecessary rooted in Ed Code, part-time faculty have become a permanent fixture in the college system, and many of these professionals have been teaching on temporary contracts for decades at the same institutions.
This exploitation harms our part-time faculty, our institutions, but it damages our students far more as they have limited access to part-time faculty who
- Are working multiple jobs to earn a living;
- Are not compensated sufficiently or at all for office hours to meet with students (despite the student success research that has repeatedly demonstrated that students who visit professors during office hours are much more likely to succeed);
- Are not provided adequate space on campus to meet with students and to do their work;
- Are not included in the shared governance work that informs the college decisions and curriculum, and;
- Are not generally compensated for the professional development and training required by the state and national legislatures and accreditation.
Status quo hurts Part-Time Faculty, impedes full-time faculty hiring, and most importantly negatively impacts the students they serve. Sign our petition today and stay tuned for next steps.