Executioner’s Song

This last Wednesday July 3, after teaching my summer class, I was cleaning up my office, readying myself to head out into gridlocked traffic (the BART strike ongoing). Just then, on the afternoon of a holiday weekend, our Interim Chancellor sent out an e-mail announcing that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges had announced that City College of San Francisco’s accreditation would be TERMINATED by July 2014.

If you want to read the whole turgid document from July 2012 that put us in this situation, you can see it on CCSF’s web site.  I  can summarize it this way: the report focuses on the finances, administration, governance, and facilities management of CCSF, and there is plenty to criticize there.  Perhaps 10 to 20 percent of the report was concerned with “student learning outcomes,” faculty self-assessment of the success of instruction. That is what normal faculty have scrambled to improve in the last year. Never has the ACCJC claimed that CCSF’s retention rates, graduation rates, transfer rates are substantially different from other California community colleges. Their interest is less about quality of instruction than how the entire institution is run.

I was shocked.  I had assumed that the hard work of faculty and staff, and more to the point, the enormous social disruption of displacing 85,000 or so students in the Bay Area would induce some moderation in the Accrediting Commission’s harsh judgment.  Not so.  So here we are, shuffling toward death row for community colleges.

Life at CCSF, which is always exciting and meaningful but close to exhausting and overwhelming (see my earlier post “The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves”), has gotten worse this past year– worse, worser, worsest?

It was always my intention to focus this blog on media conscious learning, but to reflect on that teaching and learning in relation to my culture, location, and individual experience. I never intended to write about my school situation as such. But this accreditation crisis is unavoidably bleeding into my entire life.

This post is my effort to think toward new writing to assemble these fragments. Should I begin to write media criticism about journalistic coverage of accreditation?  Should I just write about this unprecedented crisis from the inside?  Should I post links to valuable sources on CCSF?

Please post if you are so moved.  I would love to hear from you.

This entry was posted in Living / Teaching, Local Politics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Executioner’s Song

  1. Diana Rossi says:

    Yes, you should do all three: I would love to hear about unprecedented crisis from the inside;
    critique of media coverage; and links to sources or resources are useful as this is quite a complicated situation to wrap one’s mind around. And anecdotes. Give me anecdotes. Sometimes I don’t think politicians, policy wonks, education gurus, and even average “Joes/Josephines” like myself understand what it would be like to be either a student or teacher in an institution that is being threatened with closure — how hard it might be to go to work each day, thinking that your work did not matter or wondering if the classes you take could be labeled substandard in any way/or untransferable.

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