Behind the attacks on City College

How's CCSF doing after last year's sanctions? The update you need to hear

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OPINION Last year the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges harshly sanctioned City College of San Francisco and gave us just nine months to shape up or face the consequences. This was pushed on the community even though the quality of education provided at City College was never in question.

Since then, CCSF has changed student assessment metrics and addressed the governance, institutional planning, and enrollment management issues cited. We have done so even as we have also documented disquieting information about the ACCJC's damaging role at CCSF and at community colleges throughout California.

Our research into ACCJC found that the commission failed to respect the law and public policy of the state and violated federal common-law due process and California common-law fair procedure. Further, at CCSF and in districts around the state, the ACCJC often acts arbitrarily, capriciously, unfairly, and inconsistently in evaluating colleges, thereby harming the schools and their communities.

San Francisco has shown valiant support for City College despite the drumbeat of negative publicity around our accreditation status.

Recently, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in support of preserving the quality and diversity of education at City College of San Francisco, of tackling the achievement gap and ensuring equitable opportunities for students, and of utilizing Proposition A funds as intended.

In the age of the 24-7 corporate news cycle, educators and unions are too often portrayed as the opposition in attempts to push austerity, undermine the public sector, and efface the important educational work we do for students. We will not apologize for resisting the downsizing of our students' educations, for saving jobs, and for protecting educational programs that benefit our students—particularly our most vulnerable students. We will not apologize for attempting to sustain employees' health, working conditions, and well-being.

When San Franciscans passed Proposition A overwhelmingly last November, it was a ray of light for those of us who have devoted our lives to City College and its students. Providing $15.2 million, the tax was designed to reverse the cuts to classes and employees in our starved public educational system, helping sustain our college for San Franciscans. Now the administration is diverting millions of these dollars and pumping additional money into consultants, lawyers, computers, and maintenance. Under the administration plan, next year less than a third of that money will go toward the educational purposes voters were promised.

Meanwhile, the race to downsize continues. At the negotiating table and in the press, the administration uses the need to retain the college's accreditation—something all of us agree is crucial—as reason, excuse, and threat. It has shirked its duties at the bargaining table, imposing pay cuts and implementing premature and damaging layoffs of staff and faculty.

We face a host of other dramatic changes that cut into our ability to serve student needs, including a reorganization that pushes faculty expertise and voices further into the background and a shocking lack of substantive dialogue or transparent processes. Our trustees now preside over meetings that squelch public speech, restricting access to a too-small meeting room with the windows literally papered over so that no one can see in or out.

Thankfully, we are not alone in this fight. In Chicago, in Seattle, and in communities around the country afflicted with disingenuous "reforms" and diminished access, we are gathering strength and allies and standing up for the principles that inform our work as educators, responsible for defending and improving quality, accessible public education for the public good.

To join the fight to save our City College, email aft@aft2121.org

Comments

So like an suspect in a criminal proceding who points fingers at the prosecution CCSF says " We might have problems, but look at the ACCJC, they have problems too."

Showing that your accuser makes mistakes doesn't make your failings any less serious.

Posted by Zed on May. 08, 2013 @ 2:06 am

Word.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 7:20 am

Do you really know what you're talking about? If not, how about introducing your top lip to your bottom one.

Posted by GuestEdo on May. 08, 2013 @ 9:59 am

The quality of education at City College of San Francisco is not -- and has not -- been in question throughout this whole ACCJC-contrived crisis. The ACCJC did not impose its sanction because of that. The ACCJC is trying to force unreasonable changes on an institution which has proudly served the community for 75 years at a time when budget cuts are crippling the college. The ACCJC is a partisan organization that deserves as much scrutiny as the institutions which it is overseeing. It appears to have a political agenda that has nothing to do with education and a lot to do with trying to further justify reducing the budget for community colleges -- and education -- throughout the state.

Posted by Time to put some sanctions on the ACCJC on May. 08, 2013 @ 5:30 am

The fact that the college is probably not up to accredditting standard is absolutely the issue here.

And the fact that the staff say that they "will not apologize" for their generous pay and benefit packages and for the third-rate teaching there is exactly the problem. Not only is the staffing and teaching sub-standard, but they won't even admit that it is, instead claiming to be 100% effective and blaming everyone but themselves.

CCSF needs to be downsized. We can start right here.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 6:47 am

Word.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 7:47 am

CCSF has won national awards. CCSF students who go on to 4-year universities have higher success rates than students from other community colleges AND higher success rates than students who start at those 4-year colleges (we're talking about UC, State and Stanford here). So, on what actual factual evidence do you base your opinion? Obviously you didn't attend college, or you would know that it is not cool to throw out unsubstantiated opinions and present them as fact.

Posted by GuestEdo on May. 08, 2013 @ 10:02 am

Please read this ARCC report:

Page. 116 for CCSF.

CCSF is average academically. However it takes almost 2 times the instructors to service the same number of students according to FCMAT report.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

the bloated pay and benefits of it's staff, and the fact that there are way too many of them.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

Do you have the data to back up those claims? I have been looking for this data -- so if you you have it, I'd love to see it. Otherwise, claims without data are just words.

In the meantime, folks should look at the Student Success scorecard, put out by the CA Community College Chancellor's office (http://scorecard.cccco.edu/scorecard.aspx) -- note that even though the overall completion rate for CCSF is higher than the state average, the completion rate at CCSF is lower than the state average for African-Americans, Filipino/as, Latino/as, Pacific Islanders, and Whites. The data identify significant achievement gaps at CCSF which must be addressed in order for the college to be the San Francisco resource that it should be.

Posted by Hal Huntsman on May. 08, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

Quality of classroom teaching is NOT an issue in the accreditation report. They took issue with how the administration is set up, number of campuses, and matters that legally belong in collective bargaining, not accreditation. Read the report. They have been doing this around the state at community colleges for the past eight years.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

and vice versa. When you have a low quality institution, everything is wrong, and sometimes the only thing you can do is close it and start over. Or not bother at all.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

I do not believe the mission of my alma mater, City College of San Francisco was to assure quality of educational achievement and to ensure equitable opportunity. Signs commonly displaying the proviso, “persons of color encouraged to apply” caused resentment while attending. Am I invisible, I would wonder. No, the mission was to advance a divisive identity politick to the next stage of political capital using Proposition A money. Grant me dispensation to write that my academic achievement was so pathetic that one professor advised me to drop his class. He did not advise me to seek remedial course work to improve my comprehension and performance within the discipline. I challenged his decision for me and won. It was formally communicated to me that I had the right to fail the class. I did.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 08, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

It seems that a handful of people have a vindetta against City College -- either because they did poorly there or because they are politically narrow-minded. Pity that some people would try to destroy something that has benefitted so many students and the community. Notice the number of times here that a few of these biased critics have vented their spleens.

Posted by Time to put some sanctions on the ACCJC on May. 08, 2013 @ 7:30 pm

If you go on the CCSF website and read the student success scorecard, this school sounds like a train wreck. It's not preparing people for 4 year college and/or careers. Why have a school that produces such dismal results?

Can we have our Prop A tax dollars back if it closes?

Posted by The Commish on May. 09, 2013 @ 11:57 am

Good riddance to it and it's bloated, overpaid staff.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

Word.

Posted by AnotherGuest on May. 09, 2013 @ 2:45 pm

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