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Friday, June 18, 2021

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UncategorizedAnother problem with the accreditors’ plan for City College

Another problem with the accreditors’ plan for City College

By Tim Redmond

Suppose City College went along with the (looney) idea of applying for accreditation as a new institution, as the heads of the accrediting agency are suggesting. Think about what that would mean.

John Rizzo, president of the (deposed) local Community College Board has. And he points out a serious flaw that hasn’t been much in the news.

If City College applied as a “candidate,” it would be in effect saying that it was a new and different institution. And that might mean that all of the existing contracts – including labor contracts – are void.

“The teachers wouldn’t be represented,” Rizzo said. “They’d have to start all over again.”

More than that, what I think ACCJC might want is for City College to become a “charter college,” like a charter school – an institution that takes state money, but can choose its own staff. A charter college might have no elected board; it might not have union contracts. It might not offer anywhere near the range of classes that CCSF offers, and might become exactly what the accreditors want – a much smaller junior college with the only mandate of teaching people who want to transfer to a four-year institution.

Alisa Messer, who runs the City College Teachers’ Union, noted that “it’s become apparent to us that the ACCJC dislikes unions, perhaps even more than it dislikes elected boards.”

Is that part of the plan? Is this what the loss of accreditation was all about? Maybe.

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Is it time for the mayor to wake up and take a stand against this madness? Pretty clearly.

Marke B.
Marke Bieschke is the publisher and arts and culture editor of 48 Hills. He co-owns the Stud bar in SoMa. Reach him at marke (at) 48hills.org, follow @supermarke on Twitter.
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  2. According to the Student Success Score Card that just came out, CCSF’s academic quality & completion rates are outstanding, as even ACCJC admitted.

    You raise valid points on labor conditions for adjunct, and all junior academics entering the labor market, but using CCSF as an example is poorly informed.

    Unlike almost every other CCD, CCSF tapped their Reserve to keep course sections open, actually observed the 75/25 law which is violated system-wide under austerity by other CCDs, 2014 had IRS add 75 minutes per section for prep & grading counting toward FT or 0.5FTE/30 clock hours where benefits kick in, and had a system of (unionised) academic administrators from the senior faculty carrying heavy service & reduced teaching loads as the Discipline Chair Council, rather than have an extra layer of “deanlets”, or lower administrators with credentials like the professional 3-year EdD lacking experience working directly with students.

    This was the main thing ACCJC took exception to, being pro-management, anti-union, anti-faculty, and anti-democracy.

  3. Statutorily, the CA CC system is supposed to maintain the “75/25” rule, meaning 75% of courses are supposed to be taught by FT faculty.

    21st century academia had a massive surplus labor pool of PhDs even before the austerity fuelled lay-offs & freezes in hiring for FT TT faculty during post-2008 austerity. Many lecturers with impressive CVs & doctorates find themselves teaching 1-2 sections at 2-4 campuses/colleges/CCDs on temporary adjunct contracts with zero job security for years or decades. Studies show that the toll in stress on the teacher reduces the success of their students, compared to the same person teaching the same # of sections FT or temp PT at only one college/campus.

    CCSF has one the highest percentages of PhD faculty in the entire CCC system, in fields where PhD is the terminal degree. A simple MA hasn’t been a competitive CCC teaching qualification for a new FT TT faculty hire in decades without at least a decade of college lecturing experience, except in fields where a Master’s is the terminal degree, or where BA plus 5+ years professional experience is considered adequate for college level instruction (business, fine & performing arts, police & fire, nursing, etc.)

  4. You rightly call attention to the plight of part-time instructors, although I’m not sure what that has to do with the issues around accreditation discussed in Tim’s post. The idea that somehow full-timers and the union have conspired to keep adjunct faculty in their place is pure fantasy [and not supported by any evidence in your post]. I am a full-time instructor at CCSF and, like most of my colleagues, work my ass off every week in and out of the classroom to support my students and department.

  5. Rick – Thank you for providing the link .Contrary to Ms. aka [Tammy] Wynette Pugh’s assertion that ‘the union’s choke hold’ should be pried lose[sic], it is particularly because of CCSF’s union that part-timers have received higher pro-rata pay and benefits . There is NOT the divisive atmosphere of us vs. them which the tone of her post so exudes.

  6. Yes, conditions for adjunct faculty are terrible. However the bombastic accusations against CCSF are not supported by facts. In fact CCSF has significantly MORE full time faculty than most California community colleges. But don’t take my word for it; see for yourself at the informative website
    Compare it with Santa Rosa JC where Agrella comes from.

    CCSF is also one of the very few community colleges to offer benefits to PT faculty working 50% or more. That was one reason the ACCJC has attacked the college administration.

  7. All of the practices that I have described are well documented, and indeed represent a factual account. Only the willfully ignorant are “unaware” that 60% of all college faculty are now adjunct, and there is reason we’re called the ‘invisible faculty’. It isn’t easy to read the story of Mary Margaret Vojtko or face up to the fact that full time community college professors are taking paid sabbaticals so they can ‘think’ or whatever, while adjunct Mary-Faith Cerasoli is living out of her car. It’s especially hard to face when the basis premise of your career is a ridiculous lie that a minority of people somehow deserve dignity and the rest of do not. Congress has held hearings into these matters (Google George Miller and the “Just in Time Professor”) and sources like the Chronicle of Higher Education write about exploitation of this majority of teachers on a weekly basis. Incidently, a recent study done by the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that adjunct faculty are actually better teachers than full time faculty (I guess all that union-enabled complacency isn’t working out so well….). See here. http://www.nber.org/papers/w19406
    If the union’s choke hold can be pried lose, then we dissolve this artificial system of privilege that hurts students as much as it hurts teachers.

  8. Well, the only problem with getting rid of FT faculty and replacing them with low-paid PTs is that I don’t know where they are going to find qualified faculty. The unemployment rate for people with Master’s degrees is very low.


    To teach at the college level you have to have a Master’s degree in most subjects, and CCSF already can’t find enough PTs, even though they offer higher wages to PTs than other local colleges.

    That said, it might not stop ACCJC from trying

  9. Wynette, let’s say that you do diligent research about your ‘facts’ first before posting – given that you claim to be an instructor. I would think that you would expect as much from your students. I do.

  10. I am an adjunct instructor at several Bay Area colleges. I once took an Oceanography class at CCSF in which the instructor claimed that global warming was not happening. I also a computer software use course from an instructor who had clearly falsified his resume. Further stories of the degree of dysfunctionality among CCSF faculty are not hard to come by. Like most colleges, CCSF depends on a unfair labor system where most of the work is done by part-time temporary instructors, with no benefits, who can be let go at any moment. Full timers ascend through different pay scales, enjoy pensions, health care, first pick of the choicest assignments and even get select parking spots. Full timers are a minority. Part timers often teach just as many credit hours by shuttling between several different colleges because of strict rules that limit their hours (and thus their stake) at any given college. All these sweet little perks are engineered by teachers unions in which part-timers are dramatically under-represented, but whom are often assigned the brunt of pay or section cuts. One of the many teachers unions I am in will limit the hours I can work if a lecture as a double class, defined as more 50 students in it, but I only get paid for the double lecture if there are 65 students, which is five more than maximum possible enrollment. The community college teachers unions and the full timers that run them are THUGS. Their engineering of this system, and their complacency in the wake of its injustice are disgrace to education and the progressive cause of labor. The New York TImes editorial board and the US Congress agrees. The privilege of the full time faculty is a lie and people that benefit from it are living a lie. I am a died in the wool radical and veteran college teacher and I say fire all those CCSF faculty right now. Let’s see how these full time professors do on a fair playing field.

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