Skip to main content

I can't believe I'm reading this...

View more videos at:

City College of San Francisco teachers, administrators and  advocates responded with shock and outrage to a regional accrediting  commission's announcement today that the school's accreditation has been  terminated, effective next year.

Pending appeal, the college's accreditation will end on July 31,  2014, according to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, which announced its decision this afternoon.

The ACCJC last July placed City College on "show cause" status and  required the school to file a report this March showing how it had addressed  problems identified by the commission, including an excessive number of  campuses and high non-instructional faculty costs.

At its semi-annual meeting last month, the ACCJC determined that City College had fully addressed only two of the commission's 14  recommendations.

At a time when college is more important for people in the Bay Area than ever, particularly considering the economy is growing faster here than a number of regions in the U.S. and more people at the same time are still out of work, the potential of the City College of San Francisco losing accreditation could be a big blow to San Francisco given a lot of minorities depend on this college for work-related training and cutting costs for them to complete general education (GE) before they attend colleges like San Francisco State University, UC Berkeley and University of San Francisco.

Yes, CCSF did address only two of the commission's recommendations but with challenging times like these for families and individuals across the board, it's really not a good idea to remove accreditation from CCSF.  The ACCJC may have reasonable cause for making their decision but what they're also doing is harming the CCSF and Bay Area residents' opportunities at higher education even more.

Here's the full statement from the ACCJC:

Just a point of reference, I've had a friend who got a Broadcast Electronic Media Arts CC degree a a few years ago and is currently an active filmmaker down in Argentina who is looking to build his reel there, as well as potentially having a long-lasting career in the U.S.  One day when we were on a film shoot in San Francisco, his father came up to one of my other friends on the shoot and said, "I'm so proud of Tony for getting his degree."

Now an associate's degree or anything like that may not mean that much to those of us who soon after go for our Bachelor's Degree, Graduate Degree or anything higher but it does mean a lot to people like my friend Tony's father and even mother who don't have fancy bachelor's degrees and professional business careers.

However, this appears to mean nothing for the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.  

As others from City College and around the education community, they are outraged:

"We are disappointed in the commission's decision," City College  interim Chancellor Thelma Scott-Skillman said. "We will be filing a request  for review and will do everything in our power to have this decision reversed."

Alisa Messer, president of the American Federation of Teachers  Local 2121, City College's faculty union, called the ACCJC's decision  "shocking for the whole City College community" and said it will have "a  terrible effect" on the school.

Messer said many teachers and other staff already began looking  for other jobs following the sanctions last year and said she expects that to  continue after today's announcement.

"We've seen an exodus," she said, adding that student enrollment  has also dropped sharply in the past year. "It's been a demoralizing  experience."

Josh Pechthalt, president of California Federation of Teachers,  which in May filed a complaint against the ACCJC accusing the commission of  intimidation, a lack of due process and other violations, said today's decision was more of the same.

"It's an assault on a stellar education system," Pechthalt said,  adding that the commission "continues to thumb their noses to individuals or organizations willing to question their behavior."

Here's what San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee had to say on the matter:
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee acknowledged that "some hard decisions  are going to have to be made" and said he supports the appointing of a  special trustee.

"These will be difficult times for the college, but this is the time to commit to true reforms and revitalization, so that this irreplaceable and valued institution continues," Lee said.

However, as much as Ed Lee and others want to do everything they can to reform the City College of San Francisco to its permanent accreditation status, even with all of CCSF's problems, that's not enough.  There are other community colleges in California that are dealing with issues like CCSF and they are being faced with getting their accreditation status revoked.  Colleges like the Los Angeles Mission College are dealing with this problem as well.

To show support for CCSF and for students, here's the necessary contact information:

City College of San Francisco Interim Chancellor Thelma Scott-Skillman's Office:
Phone:  415-239-3303
Fax:  415-239-3918

John Rizzo, President of the CCSF Board of Trustees:
Phone:  (415) 239-3739

California Federation of Teachers

Main Office:
818-843-8226 phone
818-843-4662 fax

President Josh Pechthalt

Here's the ACCJC Contact Information:
415-506-0234 phone
415-506-0238 fax

If needed, you can also contact the following:

SF Board of Supervisors:

District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar
(415) 554-7410 - voice
(415) 554-7415 - fax

District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell
(415) 554-7752 - voice
(415) 554-7843 - fax

District 3 Supervisor and Board President David Chu
(415) 554-7450 - voice
(415) 554-7454 - fax

District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang
(415) 554-7460 - voice
(415) 554-7432 - fax

District 5 Supervisor London Breed
(415) 554-7630 - voice
(415) 554-7634 - fax

District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim
(415) 554-7970 - voice

District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee
(415) 554-6516 - voice
(415) 554-6546 - fax

District 8 Supervisor Scott Weiner
(415) 554-6968

District 9 Supervisor David Campos
(415) 554-5144 - Voice
(415) 554-6255 - Fax

District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen
(415) 554-7670

District 11 Supervisor John Avalos
(415) 554-6975 - voice
(415) 554-6979 - fax

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's Office:
Telephone: (415) 554-6141
Fax: (415) 554-6160

Originally posted to pipsorcle on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 12:12 PM PDT.

Also republished by California politics.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  While You're Calling The People at CCSF (15+ / 0-)

    Tell them to wake up and get to work.  This was entirely avoidable.

    Too Folk For You. - Schmidting in the Punch Bowl - verb - Committing an unexpected and underhanded political act intended to "spoil the party."

    by TooFolkGR on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 12:21:50 PM PDT

    •  Can't address this, but (6+ / 0-)

      I've been following this for a while now and, although clogged sinuses and a full brain have impeded my ability to retrieve the information immediately, I do recall reading an article or two about this that did suggest a few things CCSF could have done, but didn't.

      That said, ot has become easier and easier to lose accreditation, esp. when there isn't the political will to keep a college open. How do I know this? I just went through the accreditation process. It is a very rough process, and no school should assume they've got it or try to bs the accreditor.

    •  I work at a school that (11+ / 0-)

      lost its accreditation from another agency. These things happen over years. It appears that this was going on since 2006 so I am baffled why people are shocked. Many letters go back and forth about these things.

      If they tell you to fix 14 things and you only do 2, what do you expect? 2 out of 14 is a failing grade right? How are people surprised? They did know that 12 recommendations were not done, right?

      In my experience, the reason from the loss of accreditation is either lack of seriousness by the school to correct problems and/or lack of money to fix problems. I would guess that the school had to spend some money to take care of some of these items, i.e. hire more faculty, provide more materials, etc. If there were financial problems to begin with then that is a big red flag because federal money from loans is involved and they do not mess around.

      I fully sympathize with schools and realize that this is an important school for poorer people but the money has to be spent to remain accredited. I would also guess that the school had problems getting funds from the city of SF to fix the problems.

      So if there is anyone to blame it is probably the city and their lack of awareness and support.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. - Elbert Hubbard -9.62/-8.15

      by GustavMahler on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 12:43:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup. (5+ / 0-)

        I just went thro a hit or miss accreditation process where the accreditors were literally dropping by our offices and springing questions out of the blue, calling us into meetings, etc., all because they knew the board and admin were bs'ing them.

        Accreditors mean business these days, and no school should assume they've made it through easily in the past, so it'll be no problem. Er, not how it works anymore.

        •  Lucky you -- (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Victor Ward, Vatexia

          at my place they just went out to dinners with administrators a lot, and nodded through a couple of open forums.

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 01:17:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  They actually have (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        indubitably, ColoTim, Vatexia

        a parcel tax that provides higher revenue per student than most community colleges in the state. In CA community colleges are funded by the state on a per student basis, but CCSF had an additional revenue stream on top of that.

      •  Accreditation is important (3+ / 0-)

        But the irony here is that CCSF is set to lose its accreditation next year while the U.S. economy is slowly growing and while more people are out of work.  In the Bay Area, while there quite a number of people out of work, the economy is much better here than most other parts of the U.S. but there are also a number of minorities and particularly Asians (SF has a large Asian population) who utilize CCSF as an incentive for transferring to SFSU and other accredited colleges in the Bay Area.  

        Perhaps CCSF's problems have happened since 2006, as you pointed out but how is it that ACCJC didn't address this years ago?  Why is it now that the ACCJC is going to remove the accreditation status from CCSF when CCSF and other community colleges are cash-strapped and need more support than ever?  

        Even if the CCSF does reform its system, there are important measures it can do but some other measures there's likely to be a cost factor involved and so that will be the challenge of CCSF.  Meanwhile, SFSU and other accredited four year colleges get a considerable attendance in classrooms in part because of students from colleges like CCSF.  So if CCSF loses its accreditation, SFSU may lose additional students as well who can't transfer in their credits.

        I'm surprised because truthfully, I don't know that much of the accreditation process so when I read this article, it took me completely aback as CCSF has a large presence in SF.  Sure, ACCJC may say

        Perhaps I should side with the ACCJC on this after all but if anything I think there should be an effort for commuting colleges and others across the board in California to develop smoother relationships with the ACCJC.

        Or perhaps CCSF really needs a kick in the butt by the ACCJC in order to finally take action so it doesn't avoid problems like this in the future.

        •  It has been a while actually (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ColoTim, Vatexia

          They were told they needed to make changes back in 2006 and then again last summer.

          The ACCJC outlined three reasons why City College received
          Show Cause: failure to meet some Eligibility Requirements,
          failure to meet some Accreditation Standards, and failure to
          address the recommendations from the 2006 Evaluation Team.
          •  Then it appears the CC system needs reforming (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And I completely support that.  Accreditation really does help schools become recognized.

            I think SF Mayor Ed Lee, who is already aware of this issue, knows the seriousness of the accreditation problems with CCSF and won't let the CCSF lose accreditation.  Part of the reason why I put the contact information of the SF Board of Supervisors and Mayor Lee on this diary is because of additional visibility and seeing if anyone can notice just how serious the accreditation problem of CCSF means to San Francisco.

        •  I'm not sure it's ACCJC's responsibility to "help" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          misslegalbeagle, FG

          CCSF other than to make clear what the standards are and then CCSF has to meet them.  ACCJC's responsibility, it would seem to me, is to set and maintain standards and when they're not being met, to do what they are now doing.  CCSF will have one more opportunity to fix this (I'm guessing trying to pull political clout and to show that they really are fixing things), but it will take a lot more effort than they've apparently shown to this point.

          Remember, if the school isn't able to meet standards, it's not serving the interests of the tens of thousands of students who are trying to learn through there - many of whom are taking on personal debt through public loan programs.  Neither the public nor students are helped if the education is crappy.

        •  Loss of accreditation is a slow process. CCSF knew (0+ / 0-)

          about the problems for years. Kick in the butt came years ago. And yet they still did little to fix their problems.

    •  I'm not clear what the issues are (0+ / 0-)

      This diary doesn't really say. It only mentions a couple which don't make sense.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

      by anastasia p on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 06:12:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds likc CCSF has problems, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming

    accrediting agencies are a joke.  An expensive, bad joke.  Just consider how easy they are on all of the University of Phoenix-type institutions out there that are not judged by the same standards (faculty credentials, for instance, or curricular integrity) that brick-and-mortar institutions are held to.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 12:29:08 PM PDT

    •  Congressional hearings had begun (1+ / 0-)

      in 2008 or thereabouts. Then, because there is no difference between repubs and dems, congress was overrun by repubs, and the issue of for-profit schools suddenly disappeared. Hm, imagine that.

      Anyway, there have been incremental improvements, but no one in their right mind believes a degree from a for-profit is worth, um, shut. Will get you a horrible job as a CNA or a manager at Wal-Mart, but not much more.

      I've known people who've lost their jobs because they decided to get graduate degrees from a for-profit and tried to pawn them off as equivalent to, say, a state university or non-profit college. Eh, didn't work.

      •  Erg. (0+ / 0-)

        Shit, not shut.

        Clogged sinuses really interfering with brain activity ...

      •  Not as true as you'd like to believe. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming, Victor Ward

        A relative of mine got a promotion to director of the nursing staff in her hospital on the basis of her advanced degree from, wouldn't you know, the University of Phoenix.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 12:46:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just my opinion, but (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          That might tell you something about the state of healthcare administration in your area.

          I've seen people with advanced degrees in nursing from really dreadful schools, including uphoenix, but they're getting these jobs at hospitals and medical facilities you really do not want to go to and that you want to make sure you have family members to protect you from hospital staff, including nurses.

          Um, yea ... not joking about this.

          •  I agree with you about the state of (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Victor Ward

            healthcare administration, but I suspect the problem isn't limited to my area.

            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

            by corvo on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 01:17:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  shock doctrine at work n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  I think it's a good decision... (3+ / 0-)

    ...because it's what was needed to replace the current trustees with a special trustee who can actually make the necessary changes.  You can't just run a college any way you like and insist that other people call it a college.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 01:19:03 PM PDT

  •  We now have an education industrial complex (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Free Jazz at High Noon

    that connects with the security industrial complex. That has made it possible for Janet Napolitano to shift seamlessly from one to the other. Students are cartridges in the assembly line for the transmission of the proceeds of student loans. Once they have served that function, they can spend the rest of their lives in debt peonage.

  •  I am not an expert in this matter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, misslegalbeagle

    but from what I have read, this institution has been mismanaged for many years.  A thorough housecleaning is in order.  

    Maybe they can climb back out of the ditch.  I hope so because they are sorely needed.

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 02:23:21 PM PDT

  •  The purpose of accreditation is to ensure (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, Chas 981, valion

    that member schools are meeting certain standards.  Their purpose is not to rubber stamp whatever schools are doing and then get blamed because it hurts the schools.  The purpose of a rating system is to force schools to meet standards.  

    If I'm a meat producer and the USDA says my product is tainted, it would be ridiculous for me to turn around and blame the USDA for hurting my business.  

  •  Most of these comments are ignorant and the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, elfling

    diary itself misses what has happened here. This is a concerted effort to privatize and sell off the resources of CCSF. It has NOTHING to do with academic standing or standards. The report criticized the school over "fiscal management." There are ties to ALEC in this. What the diary and these comments miss is that our education system is being systematically dismantled. Those on here who assume the Acreditation committee are "right" to do this are assuming far too much (without looking into this sordid history). This has nothing to do with whether CCSF is a good school academically or has served it's students and the community. It is all about the insidious logic of corporatism, business, austerity and privatization.

    Please educate yourselves before posting!!!

    There are far better analysis than this, but I'm on my phone right now and this is the easiest source to bring up. I think this article understates how bad it is.

    Who Killed City College?

  •  I'll add to that (0+ / 0-)

    The 12 recommendations that they say CCSF didn't achieve compliance with all said "Hire more administrators" - just exactly what a college in these cash strapped times doesn't need to do. You, misslegalbeagle, are at best misinformed about this particular situation.

    Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

    by Dave in Northridge on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 05:05:09 PM PDT

  •  For another view of the situation (0+ / 0-)

    I highly recommend articles from this site:

    and others on the same topic there. Read the comments too.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 05:50:31 PM PDT

    •  CCSF should just be shaken up (0+ / 0-)

      If the accreditation board is really going after CCSF hard for being lax on improving how it does business, then CCSF needs new leadership.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site