SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - The California Federation of Teachers recently labeled
the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) a "rogue college accreditation commission."
The teachers union and the Save CCSF (City College of San Francisco) coalition believe that the agency is following a corporate agenda in the fight over accreditation of the San Francisco college.
Business-oriented education reform is a familiar topic to those following trends in K-12 public education. Higher education has not been immune to similar trends, with corporate reformers laying out strategies which tend to embrace a more business-type model for colleges. Free-market think-tanks like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are working in parallel with funders such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation, increasingly gaining ground in crafting education policy.
Last year the ACCJC, the body that yanked the accreditation of CCSF this July, was one of the recipients of a $1 million Lumina Foundation grant.
For 19 years, LaborFest
of San Francisco has marked the occasion of the July 1934 waterfront labor struggles with a monthlong festival of events, films, and tours. Progressives and union leaders breathe life into the history that marked the beginning of the longshoremen's struggle to gain their union, which included a unique and successful general strike
in San Francisco. Guides from many organizations give tours of significant areas in historical events, also tying in the artists and artwork of the New Deal era.
Many outside of San Francisco have heard of Coit Tower, but perhaps fewer know that the muralists who painted the beautiful works inside were the first artists employed by the massive work program put into place by President Roosevelt to alleviate Depression-era joblessness. Furthermore, these same artists were witnesses to the violence of the 1934 waterfront fight, the "Battle of Rincon Hill," which they could see from up in the Tower while it raged.
Gray Brechin and Harvey Smith of Living New Deal, an organization with a mission to catalogue and preserve New Deal projects in the U.S., are veteran guides of LaborFest tours, highlighting WPA projects that still exist in San Francisco. A mine of information like the story of Coit Tower's artists, they also give a popular tour of the murals of Rincon Annex, which were the last works created by the public programs of the New Deal.
On July 3rd, 2013 another chapter in the saga of the future of City College of San Francisco (CCSF) took an unexpected turn when the accreditation committee, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), revealed its decision to pull accreditation for CCSF after the finish of this academic year.
CCSF has been engaged in a year-long process, attempting to fix issues that ACCJC laid down last year as conditions for the college to keep its academic standing. Rather than taking the improvements made thus far as a sign of the future health of the institution ACCJC decided, instead, to pull the college's accreditation, which would end the ability of the college to offer degrees, transfer credits or accept state funding - affecting 85,000 students.
The ACCJC itself stated that the threat to shutter CCSF was not at all based on the academic performance of the college, but detailed several issues that it had with the governance of the school - such as its decisions to run with fewer administrative staff, its desire to keep cuts in education as far from the classroom as possible and its opting to run with lower monetary reserves.
City College of San Francisco is not taking these results meekly, the college has until the end of this month to lodge an appeal against the ACCJC panel's decision, and in the meantime it is also pursuing legal avenues against the accreditation entity.
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Rasheen Aldridge, a young worker from St. Louis, presented the face of America's low wage economy on June 21 at the Netroots Nation
premiere of the Congressional Progressive Caucus campaign to "Raise Up America." At the Parque de los Pobladores event here, Aldridge opened by saying you "can't survive on $7.35," eliciting a call-and-response from the crowd. Rasheen was there with another worker, Darius Chambers, both supported by Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., Mark Takano, D-Calif., and Mark Pocan, D-Wis., to announce the new three-point campaign to help low-wage workers proposed by the Progressive Caucus.
Aldridge and Chambers related their experiences trying to function in major U.S. cities while receiving low pay, short hours, and a lack of respect. Aldridge works at Jimmy John's, a popular sandwich chain, in St. Louis, while Chambers works at Tim Horton's in Detroit. A horrified ripple moved through the crowd at the event when Aldridge related humiliating disciplinary actions at Jimmy John's for minor infractions, such he and another worker being required to hold up signs in the restaurant detailing their errors.
MOOCs have been a heated subject of media attention lately, even attracting controversy in California's educational system. In theory, these large-scale free online courses (often featuring star professors from blue-ribbon universities) sound like an excellent opportunity for any person wishing to study subjects for no cost on their own. With the barriers of tuition and distance to conventional education, alternative, democratic and accessible ways of continuing studies through MOOCs, delivered online via YouTube or other websites, can seem like a dream come true. Meanwhile, the increasing difficulty for degree-seeking students of getting into required classes in many colleges, due to education cutbacks and shortages, likewise makes the choice to take a for-credit class that accepts unlimited students an appealing alternative.
SAN FRANCISCO - On the eve of the March 15 accreditation deadline for City College of San Francisco, a rally at City Hall brought together students and allies of the college, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 2121 and several social justice organizations under the umbrella of Save CCSF.
The American Federation of Teachers recently highlighted the tenuous employment and poor compensation of part-time college teachers in an article titled: "New report blasts working conditions of adjunct faculty."
The article spotlights findings of two recent reports. In the first, a survey of 500 adjunct faculty found they are frequently hired at the last minute for courses they have little time to prepare for, with little or no support from the institution. They rarely have opportunities for professional development or chances to share in the collegial culture of education.