What is the next step for City College of San Francisco as its overseer is threatened with lost of power?
As City College of San Francisco faces its hardest uphill battle yet, a most curious development just may give the beloved college another cause to access where it stands. The regional accreditor that oversees City College of San Francisco, along with all other California Community College campuses, is now in trouble itself.
In a table-turning development that no one expected to happen, The U.S. Department of Education has notified the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, that it is in trouble because it is out of compliance in several areas that relate to its sanctioning of CCSF. According to the notifying letter, the commission is ordered to take “immediate steps” to prevent suspension or even termination of its federal classification as an accrediting body. While news of the letter has been reported the last couple of days, just what does it mean for City College of San Francisco? What is the potential impact on the college?
The outcome for CCSF is unclear at the moment, particularly since most parties involved in the new update are still absorbing the reprimand and its potential consequences.
What it may mean for CCSF
The department’s ruling could have a positive effect on City College, as faculty union leaders said the Department’s ruling could force the commission to withdraw penalties it placed on the college, just as it is fighting for it’s academic life. Even without such a drastic about face, the college will almost certainly request the review process it can ask for within a week.
Last month the commission voted to revoke City College’s accreditation citing that CCSF had not made sufficient progress in correcting problems it found in 12 identified areas, including its failure to track student progress and operating with insufficient cash reserves needed to keep the college doors open.
City College of San Francisco would be forced to close next June if the commission’s ruling is let stand. The college would lose access to both state funding and federal financial aid, which would wipe out any ability to attract students, and the school would shut its doors, leaving over 80,000 students to find other colleges to transfer to.
In response to the accreditor’s negative reviews of City College and other California community colleges, the California Federation of Teachers, along with other faculty unions filed a complaint against he Accrediting Commission charging that it had failed to follow federal and state laws in addition to being overly harsh in its supervision of two-year institutions. Although the commission denied the union’s assertions, the faculty groups sent their complaint to the Education Department. Last week the department’s Accreditation Group supported the union’s side in four key areas, including the commission’s potential conflict of interest issues and its suspected lack of clarity on just what comprised the recommended areas for improvement versus areas of serious inadequacies a City College.
The Accrediting Commission is certainly disappointed with the Education Department’s findings, and speaking out.
“The ACCJC believes there are errors of fact in the letter,” said Barbara Beano, commission president in a written statement. She said that the commission will react to correct any alleged errors, and “will, of course, make necessary policy changes to address the department’s concerns going forward.”
As for the California Federation of Teachers, its spokesman Fred Glass said, concerning the Education Department’s letter, “This is a very encouraging sign.” Glass added, “The Department of Education is validating some of our points.”
City College of San Francisco can move forward in appealing the accreditor’s sanction to the federal government.
This is a big story with resulting actions by both sides, so stay tuned for updates in the month ahead. Read more on this story here.
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