Monday, July 23, 2012

Distress Call from the Big Ship

Adult Education in California is attached either to K-12 districts or to Community College Districts.

It is attached to Community College Districts in San Francisco, San Diego, and Santa Ana.

Right now, there is all kinds of trouble in San Francisco.

CCSF - City College of San Francisco - like every public school in California, has been hit by budget cuts.

On top of that, it's got accreditation trouble.

It is also the largest college or university in California.

With a huge non-credit - that is to say, Adult Education program.

Read more details about this in New America Media's article "City College Closure Could End San Francisco’s Adult Education Program."

Including these details:

*  Louis Freedberg, executive director of the Bay Area-based non-profit, EdSource, says more than half of the 90,000-plus students enrolled at City College are there for non-credit and non-degree bearing certificate programs that range from ESL to computer skills and gardening. Together, these classes account for a majority of courses offered at the school.

*  Only accredited schools receive state funding, meaning, that a loss of accreditation would most likely lead to the school -- which has already lost some $40 million in cuts over the past four years -- closing its doors.

*  This year City College lost $17 million in funding and could face another potential $10 million loss should voters reject Governor Jerry Brown’s tax hike proposal in November. School officials, meanwhile, have put forward their own ballot initiative, proposing a $79 per parcel tax on the November ballot to benefit the college.

What caused the accreditation problems at CCSF is complicated and a source of disagreement among many.

This article is a good discussion of why.

What we know is, if CCSF goes under and/or suffers more cuts, there is going to be more trouble than there already is for people in San Francisco and nearby areas who are trying to get jobs or GEDs, improve their English pr parenting skills, become citizens, or stay healthy mentally and physically. 

(Is mental and physical health important?  Check the cost of Medicare, MediCal, Healthy Families and other programs.  Check the effects that mental illness and illiteracy and the lack of a high school education have on crime and then check the cost of that crime.  Then get back to me.) 

What we also know is that while CCSF is suffering cuts and dealing with accreditation challenges, for-profit colleges are growing.

The Academy of Art University has grown from 2,300 students ten years ago to more than 16,000 today.

And for-profit colleges do not have the same stringent accreditation requirements that institutions of public education do.

In other words, if CCSF goes under, there will be plenty of less regulated schools to pick up the slack - sort of, but at a price, and not with the same mission.

Because those less regulated schools do not have a mission to serve the neediest among us - immigrants in need of English, job skills, and citizenship, families in need of parent education and literacy skills, seniors in need of classes to maintain or improve health, adults of all ages in need of GEDs, High School Diplomas, and vocational training. 

They do not have a mission to be the fourth leg of the chair that upholds California.

They do not have a mission to serve the general good, generating both civic and economic health. 

They have a mission to teach people something, yes.  Yes, they do.  But only those who can afford to pay.  Sometimes a lot.

Does any of this trouble you?

If so, you might consider signing this petition,
You can also stay up-to-date on what is happening at CCSF and in Adult Education all over California by going to Google News or some other search engine and entering "Adult Education cuts" or "City College of San Francisco" in the search box.
And remember, if you have information to share on what is happening in Adult Education, please let me know so I can share it here.  Send your information to

                                                        City College of San Francisco

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