True importance of AHC’s board vote

Posted on Oct 23, 2016

Published in the October 20, 2016 Santa Maria Times. A lot is hinging on the Allan Hancock College Board of Trustees election this year. Two challengers have come forward to take on two long-standing incumbents, and the outcome will determine the direction our community college will take over the next four years. In Area Two, encompassing Orcutt all the way to New Cuyama, Dan Hilker is challenging Tim Bennett. In Area 4, Lompoc, Jeff Hall is...

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Teaching students about the Holocaust

Posted on Jul 24, 2016

Published in the July 22, 2016 Santa Maria Times. “The past is the best prophet of the future,” wrote English poet Lord Byron, and nothing in our past speaks more poignantly to this than the Nazi Holocaust. But like many other important historical events, it appears to me students coming out of our local K-12 educational system know very little about this most terrible crime in human history. I often teach a lesson on the Holocaust as a...

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Higher minimum wage makes sense

Posted on May 31, 2016

Published in the May 27, 2016 Santa Maria Times. When Gov. Jerry Brown signed California’s $15-per-hour minimum wage law, he called the landmark legislation a matter of economic justice. The millions of workers who will benefit from this increase will certainly agree. At Allan Hancock College I deal with many students who come from poor families. Many of them also work at minimum-wage jobs in an attempt to support themselves and offset the...

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Public-sector unions dodge bullet, for now

Posted on May 1, 2016

Published in the April 28, 2016 Santa Maria Times. In July 2015 I devoted a column to the Friedrichs vs. CTA case, which was on its way to the Supreme Court and hanging over the heads of public-sector unions like the sword of Damocles. The case revolved around a suit brought by some K-12 teachers against their union, the California Teachers Association. The plaintiffs recruited by anti-union Silicon Valley millionaires claimed having to pay...

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Professional Development Conference Funds

Posted on Apr 27, 2016

Some nice news: We learned yesterday that we as a bargaining unit have used up all of the Professional Development Conference Funds available to us for fiscal year 2015—2016. This is important because there was a sense in some quarters that we part-timers were not interested in attending conferences and this money set aside for us would not be used. We have proven the doubters wrong by showing our interest in improving our professional skills...

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Part-time faculty group honored

Posted on Mar 29, 2016

Published in the March 26, 2016 Santa Maria Times. Activate Labor For Justice was the theme of the 74th annual California Federation of Teachers Convention in San Francisco. While there was a great deal of rain coming down outside, it did not dampen the spirit or the enthusiasm of the more than 600 delegates, staff and guests, all of whom came determined to continue labor’s fight for justice. The convention is always an exciting experience,...

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