Behind the Wheel for Education

ALEX TIMA
El Vaquero Staff Writer

With the creation of the
freeways and flight,
travel from one destination to
another was simplified, not to
mention made more
convenient. Who would have
thought in the future, due to
education budget cutbacks, the
combination of the two words
(freeway and fly) would result
in a concept-word that few
college students and faculty
would like to deal with,
freeway flyers.

Freeway flyers are
classified as students and/or
part-time faculty who must
travel between college facilities
in order to achieve their goals.
While the goals vary among
both teachers and students, they
must deal with the antagonist of
their focus, the budget cuts,
which ultimately have caused
many disruptions on
community college campuses,
including less classes. Astudent
goal is usually to complete the
necessary units in order to
transfer to a four-year school.

The teacher mission is a little
different, as they are trying to
earn money to make a living.

The problem of freeway
flying has been an issue with
the faculty before all of the
budget cutbacks. Initially junior colleges hired part-time faculty
to keep up with the everchanging
demand in students
needs.

After a boom in teaching
through the ’80s and ’90s, junior
colleges were flooded with
applicants for teaching. Because
colleges were only allowed to
hire a limited amount of fulltime
teachers, many teachers
seeking full- time positions had
to settle for part time teaching
jobs. Part-time salaries were not
enough to satisfy a full-time
paying life so instructors were
forced to find part time jobs at
other community colleges and
universities in order to make
their living.

With these working
conditions, faculty banded
together into a political action
group and managed to have the
Assembly Bill 1725 passed by
the California legislature, which
was to raise the amount of fulltime
faculty to be hired. The
numbers of full-time faculty has
been increasing through the
years, but Vice President of
Administrative Services Larry
Serot feels “part-time staff might
be running themselves out of a
job.”

If more full-time staff are
hired there will be less room for
part-time faculty so in essence,
more part-time teaching
positions would be lost. Just as
this mess was being created
amongst to hiring of full and
part-time teachers, the budget
cuts of 2003 were coming into
focus, along with it many more
problems.

As food needed to be put onto
the table and rent waited to be
paid, the lifestyle of freeway
flying did not seem so bad. But
the budget cuts caused classes to
be cut, suddenly there were no
classes for these instructors to
teach and many may have
ultimately lost their jobs.

The loss of classes is also
creating a problem for students
and thus they are resorting to
freeway flying as well. “Because
the amount of classes being
offered has been reduced it is
becoming a serious problem for
students to put together a fulltime
schedule,” said Serot. To
get a full-time schedule, students
must go to other colleges in
order to get their full-time
schedule and to take
transferrable classes. Besides
class cuts, undedicated students
are adding to the problem.
“Some students enroll in the
classes and don’t show up,” said
Serot. This overcrowding keeps
willing students from getting
their classes in their
neighborhood community
college, so they are forced to
freeway fly to other schools.

In addition, UCs and CSUs are
reducing the enrollment from
junior colleges. “These
reductions result in students who
are unable to transfer, staying in
junior college,” said Serot. “The
more students stay the harder it
becomes for new comers [to the
college] to enroll in classes.”

With every semester, more
students have to push back their
graduation dates, take both
evening and day classes and add
mileage to the car on the
freeways.