Opponents of City College takeover to march through SF

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Opponents of last week’s decision to revoke the accreditation of City College of San Francisco and place the district under state control until that death sentence becomes official in July 2014 plan to rally and march through San Francisco today [Tues/9] at 4pm.

The procession will begin at the CCSF’s downtown campus at 88 Fourth Street and end outside the U.S. Department of Education -- whose policy of coercing colleges to focus on job training and university prep led to the crackdown on CCSF, as we report in tomorrow’s Guardian -- at 50 Beale Street.

Among the local officials who will join the march are Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, San Francisco Central Labor Council Executive Director Tim Paulson, and Alisa Messer, president of the American Federation of Teachers Local 2121, who this morning issued statements condemning the decision by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

“This decision is nothing less than an attack on the people of San Francisco,” Ammiano said. “All of us benefit from having this great 78-year-old institution, whether we take courses or not. San Francisco voters recognized that at the polls just last fall when they passed Proposition A to support the college financially. In addition, the appointment of a state official to manage the school takes away the local voice of CCSF’s duly elected trustees.”

"The quality of education at City College is not in question," said Messer, who is also an English teacher at the college. "For the last year this institution has turned itself upside down to address the recommendations of the Commission, with employees putting in thousands of hours of effort and making huge sacrifices. To be told at the end of this process that the effort has had no impact is simply outrageous."

"City College is vital and has made major progress in turning around many of the shortcomings identified by the Commission," said Paulson. "The actions of the ACCJC – an organization accountable to no one -- have unnecessarily put at risk the livelihoods of the nearly 2,500 hard-working men and women at the college. What’s more, their move to deny CCSF accreditation has imperiled the future of San Francisco's working people, who rely heavily on a CCSF education for workforce training, language learning, and a pathway to better futures for themselves and their communities.”

"The Accrediting Commission's handiwork has not improved educational quality at CCSF," said Messer. "We want a stronger, better college, but in many instances direction from the ACCJC has moved us in the wrong direction. The Accrediting Commission should be accountable for the impact of its actions."

 “The accrediting agency has only worked half-heartedly to support City College, and instead seems bent on tearing it down,” Ammiano said. “The decision needs to be reversed so we can all go to work building on the successes and fixing the few problems, instead of spending our time starting over from scratch because the school was destroyed by naysayers.”