CATESOL Position Statement on the Need to Increase Full-Time, Permanent Teaching Staff in Adult or Community College Non-Credit ESL Programs


(revised 2/97)

The negative impact that the high ratio of part-time to full-time instructors has on the scope and quality of educational programs was recognized by the California State Legislature and the Governor by the passage of the Community College Reform Bill (AB 1725). This bill required a 75%-25% ratio of full-time to part-time instructors in the credit course programs of the community college system by 1992.

Unfortunately, AB 1725 does not apply to the non-credit programs in community colleges and K-12 adult schools, where 72% to 92% of the ESL faculty are part-time, temporary employees. CATESOL believes that the percentage of full-time faculty in these programs should be increased as well so that all learners who need and want to learn English and prepare to become US citizens can be provided with quality language instruction.


A majority of ESL instructors are hired on a part-time basis despite an increasing demand for ESL instruction statewide as evidenced by:

  • the growing population of adults now enrolled in non-credit ESL courses. This population has increased from approximately 176,000 in 1987-88 to 459,000 in 1995. By the year 2020, the California population over 18 will increase by 75% and immigrants will comprise 59% of the total population in California.
  • the thousands of additional learners who are waiting to enter already crowded ESL classes. In Los Angeles Unified alone, thousands of learners are on waiting lists and many districts have waiting lists or are opening new classes to provide for the needs of their constituents.
  • the demand of the California voters that the immigrant population in the State learn English as quickly as possible (demonstrated by the 73.2% vote on the English Only Proposition in 1986.)
  • the need of the new residents (many of whom qualified under the Amnesty Program) for ESL/Citizenship instruction, which prepares immigrants to become fully productive citizens.
  • the increased demand to prepare second language learners, particularly learners on public assistance, for vocational training programs and employment. By the year 2000, 41% of all jobs in California will be higher skilled occupations, thus demanding higher level English skills, even for entry level positions.
  • the increased demand for family literacy classes (which include ESL instruction) for parents of elementary school children. This movement is supported by recent research that proves that the parents' literacy development has a positive effect on language acquisition by their children.


The quality of any program is determined primarily by the teachers in the classroom. Instructional quality cannot be maintained when districts continually hire new, inexperienced part-time instructors rather than give full-time positions to long-term employees.

Part-time instructors who must work without benefits in 2 or 3 districts in order to make a full-time salary are not able:

  • to give sufficient attention to curriculum development, the planning of courses, or even to daily lesson planning.
  • to give personal time to individual students whose language and acculturation needs are complex and varied.
  • to give sufficient attention to the assessment of learners' progress in the classroom and document outcomes outside the classroom. (Requirements for documentation of learner outcomes as criteria for program funding have increased greatly.)


CATESOL therefore recommends that for all adult non-credit programs in the community college and K-12 districts the legislature move to:

  • significantly increase the ratio of full-time to part-time instructors through requiring a formula similar to that of AB 1725 legislation which recommends a 75%-25% ratio of full-time to part-time instructors in credit courses throughout the community college system.
  • require the delivery of full benefits to instructors whose combined assignments in two or more districts are equivalent to full-time status.