Difference between revisions of "Attack on City College SF"

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Why shutdown the US government so that citizens' can't have affordable health insurance? Herrera's law suit alleges that “the panel is biased against the college and its advocates because of differing agendas.” No truer words were every spokes. CCSF's value to faculty and students has long been its openness to political difference and the diversity of the city's culture, not adherence to a monocultural perspective on education, student outcomes, or who should be allowed access to vital resources and who should not.  
 
Why shutdown the US government so that citizens' can't have affordable health insurance? Herrera's law suit alleges that “the panel is biased against the college and its advocates because of differing agendas.” No truer words were every spokes. CCSF's value to faculty and students has long been its openness to political difference and the diversity of the city's culture, not adherence to a monocultural perspective on education, student outcomes, or who should be allowed access to vital resources and who should not.  
  
The attack on CCSF reads as one more in a long history of "fall out" from State and national greed and corruption. The effects of years of racist, classcist response, the passing over tax-payers for CEOs, and a minority of powerful "aristocratic" interests actively destroying civil society, are hitting home.
+
The attack on CCSF reads as one more in a long history of "fall out" from State and national greed and corruption. The effects of years of racist, classcist response, the passing over tax-payers for CEOs, and a minority of powerful "aristocratic" interests actively destroying civil society in the last decades, are hitting home.
  
  
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The social and political history of CCSF and its influence on our City as an educational institution is important to the Bay Area as a whole. Radio talk shows about CCSF's accreditation debacle have had callers expressing anger over the perceptible the effects upon minority, low-income, and immigrant students. One angry ESL teacher from the East Bay ended her rant about the war on minority students with, ”Oakland has no more adult education.”  
 
The social and political history of CCSF and its influence on our City as an educational institution is important to the Bay Area as a whole. Radio talk shows about CCSF's accreditation debacle have had callers expressing anger over the perceptible the effects upon minority, low-income, and immigrant students. One angry ESL teacher from the East Bay ended her rant about the war on minority students with, ”Oakland has no more adult education.”  
  
'''Racism and Educational Equity are a National Issue'''
+
'''Civil Rights Backlash and Educational Inequity are a National Issue'''
  
Recently, many national events have targeted the public sector, particularly, its people of color and lower-income. The New York Times reports that 1 in 5 children live in poverty in this country according to a recently published census. (NY Times, 10/1/2013) Income discrepencies show people of color significantly poorer and more unemployed overall to white people; approximately 60% of people of color to a nine percent of whites. This lends a cumulatively disturbing background to events surrounding the dis-accreditation process and threat of closure to a school which has helped lower income people and minority students gain in academia, job placement and career certification.
+
Recently, distressing national events have targeted the public sector, particularly, people of color and lower-income. The New York Times reports that 1 in 5 children live in poverty in the United States. (NY Times, 10/1/2013) Income discrepencies show people of color significantly poorer and more unemployed overall than similarly aged white people; approximately 60% of people of color to a mere nine percent of whites. These numbers lend a comparative background to the climate surrounding dis-accreditation and threat of closure to CCSF, a school which has helped thousands of lower income people and minority students gain in academia, job placement and career certification. Where will these students go and what will their future prospects be in a system which is currently oppressing them further? How can society be made more equal without reasonable and fair access to education?
  
Starting from the top, the recent Supreme Court decision to take down the 1965 Voters' Rights Act on the thinly laid argument that the racial discrimination originally leading to this seminal legislation no longer exists. To be clear, the Voter's Rights Act is a piece of Law, put into place to protect minorities from discrimination, just as Roe v. Wade is a piece of law that enables women to gain the right of privacy over their own bodies. These laws have been held as cornerstones of an improved, more open minded and inclusive democratic political landscape in the US, yet within hours of the Court's decision, notoriously racist Southern states set about re-zoning voting districts, drawing boundaries which would affect voter turnout thus potential outcomes in future elections. It is an historic fact that President Obama won in states where voter turn out among minority and low-income populations was high. 
 
  
A not-guilty verdict in the Trayvon Martin shooting has also sent a disturbing message. Fatal wounding of young people of color by those armed and sanctioned to use weapons is being legally protected by the judicial system. In my humble opinion, this constitutes another link in a chain of highly-conservative backlashing which is regularly glossed over by the “Martinizing” of the Obama presidency. As Smiley and West have pointed out, sentimentality towards Martin Luther King does little but put frosting on situation which King would have abhorred and which cannot be condoned ---that is the trading of civil rights laws for ineffectual "feel good" histories as easily forgotten as they are enjoyed.
+
Starting from the top is the Supreme Court decision to take down important parts of the 1965 Voters' Rights Act on the thinly laid argument that the racial discrimination originally leading to this seminal legislation no longer exists. To be clear, the Voter's Rights Act is a piece of Law, put into place to protect minorities from discrimination, just as Roe v. Wade is a piece of Law that enables women to gain the right of privacy over their own bodies. These laws have been held up as cornerstones of civil liberties for people of color and women in the US, yet within hours of the Court's decision, notoriously racist Southern states set about re-zoning voting districts, drawing boundaries which would affect voter turnout in future elections. It is an historic fact that President Obama won states where voter turn out for minority and low-income populations was especially high.
What is real is the shape shifting of top courts and Justices, legal manuveurs tantamount to inequality, closing of borders, and the de-waging and under valuation of low income citizens. Where can this be seen most? In the cuts to spending on public education, in attacks on the cultural ideal of accessible, affordable education for all citizens.  
+
  
The beleagurement of the other, the poor, the ethnic minority is a pernicious outcome of white, male dominated ruling power. It can be observed in the widespread modeling and adoption of “Stop and Frisk” police methods in Oakland, in the problem of Oscar Grant's nearly excused death, and of “inner city” hatred emerging as far back as the Nixon and Reagan administrations when many urban policing laws were put on the books and more people were put out on the streets.  
+
A not-guilty verdict in the Trayvon Martin shooting has also sent a disturbing message. Fatal wounding of young people of color by those armed and sanctioned to use weapons is being legally protected by the judicial system. In my humble opinion, this constitutes another link in a chain of highly-conservative backlash towards people of color which is being glossed over by the “Martinizing” of the Obama presidency with highly publicized marches on Washington in honor of King. As Smiley and West have pointed out, sentimentality towards Martin Luther King does little but put frosting on a situation which King himself would have regarded as abhorrent and which cannot be condoned ---that is the trading of civil rights laws for ineffectual "feel good" histories as easily forgotten as they are enjoyed.
  
If you are a person of color and poor, today — even with a half Black president — you can be screwed out of your vote, stopped and frisked without a warrant, and are more likely in 2013 to be the target of police brutality or "acceptable levels" of violence from someone wearing a badge, who will then be pardoned for shooting you.
+
What is real, however, is the shape-shifting of top courts and justices, legal maneuveurs tantamount to legislating inequality, new laws around activism, the closing of borders, and the de-waging and under valuation of low-income citizens. Where does growing inequality best take root? In attacks on the cultural ideal of accessible, affordable education for all citizens. It is here that populations stand to lose the most ground in terms of their own self-betterment, growth, and prosperity.  
  
Thus, to destroy from the inside, an institution which for nearly a century has served well a predominantly minority and lower income student body, unfortunately, to my mind, fits to right in to the current, reactionary cycle of governmental shutdown/control and domination that we are witnessing. It is nearly an act of war against the population supported by justifications in the same way that the invasion, occupation and "rebuilding" of Iraq has been justified. It is a movement of empirical thinking, as Hardt and Negri pointed out, and one in which the modus operandi is clear.  
+
'''The Toll'''
 +
 
 +
Beleagurement of the other, the poor, the ethnic minority is a pernicious outcome of white, male dominated ruling power. It is observed in the widespread modeling and adoption of “Stop and Frisk” police methods in New York and Oakland, in the problem of Oscar Grant's shooting death going all but excused, and of “inner city” hatred emerging as far back as the Nixon and Reagan administrations when many urban policing laws were put in place and more people started living in the streets.
 +
 
 +
If you are a person of color and poor, today — even with a half Black president — you can be screwed out of your vote, stopped and frisked without a warrant, and are as likely in 2013 to be the target of police brutality or "acceptable levels" of violence from someone wearing a badge, who will then be pardoned for shooting you than you may ever have been before.
 +
 
 +
Unfortunately, to my mind, the destructive restructuring of CCSF with little explanation and little faith in its sustained purpose or public good, fits right in to the current, reactionary cycle of governmental shutdown/control and domination. Most importantly, the attack is a disavowal of the multiple cultures and expressions of culture which make CCSF a diverse intellectual institution. It is nearly an act of cultural war supported by justifications of power in the same way that Hardt and Negri describe the growth of "just wars" as an excuse for military industry and colonization under empire.  
  
 
'''DOE'''
 
'''DOE'''
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In 2009, the Department of Education swept the country with educational imperatives in hand. They held multiple public meetings on minority education in public and charter schools in numerous states including our own at the Main Library in Civic Center. In the Bay Area, attendees, including myself, heard from young Oakland activists of color about the state of Oakland's schools, which when moved from being public to Charter status under the DOE's plans for educational reform, frequently became more whitened and were no longer seen as serving or belonging to minority populations. The activists cited in particular the American Indian Middle School, which “went charter” and lost its community character. Actions such as the people's sit-in at Lakeview Elementary in Oakland 2012, underscore further, the degree of struggle being undertaken to protect public schools from outside "takeover". This is in the context, too, of neighborhoods being gentrified and of the extensive publicity of crime rates and levels of involvement from Oakland's black youth. At the same time, it is very important to respond to the fact that if it had not been for the African American press, the Oscar Grant story would probably have disappeared altogether.  
 
In 2009, the Department of Education swept the country with educational imperatives in hand. They held multiple public meetings on minority education in public and charter schools in numerous states including our own at the Main Library in Civic Center. In the Bay Area, attendees, including myself, heard from young Oakland activists of color about the state of Oakland's schools, which when moved from being public to Charter status under the DOE's plans for educational reform, frequently became more whitened and were no longer seen as serving or belonging to minority populations. The activists cited in particular the American Indian Middle School, which “went charter” and lost its community character. Actions such as the people's sit-in at Lakeview Elementary in Oakland 2012, underscore further, the degree of struggle being undertaken to protect public schools from outside "takeover". This is in the context, too, of neighborhoods being gentrified and of the extensive publicity of crime rates and levels of involvement from Oakland's black youth. At the same time, it is very important to respond to the fact that if it had not been for the African American press, the Oscar Grant story would probably have disappeared altogether.  
 
   
 
   
In the modern history of the United States, the quality of life, and open, free-wheeling civic participation of community politics have been upheld as standards of indisputable progress embodied by the city of San Francisco. Residents here helped build a movement against the Vietnam War in the 1960s and have been the first to implement many critical chapters in the history of womens' rights, gay rights, and AIDS research, Moreover, the people of this city have demanded tolerance and sanctuary for undocumented workers and immigrants coming here to be at home. Part of this progressive tradition has been the building of the institution of CCSF which has provided low-cost higher education to the lumpen mass and brought opportunity for betterment to the many without student loan debt.  
+
In the modern history of the United States, the quality of life, and open, free-wheeling civic participation of community politics have been progressive values embodied in the city of San Francisco. Residents here helped to build a radical movement against the Vietnam War in the 1960s, against the invasion of Iraq, and have been the first to implement many critical chapters in the history of womens' rights, gay rights, and AIDS research. Occupy SF was a vibrant and challenging chapter in recent social movement history here. Part of this progressive tradition has been the building of CCSF which has provided low-cost higher education to the lumpen mass and brought opportunity for learning and cultural exchange to the many without student loan debt.  
  
 
[[Image:CC mural.JPG]]
 
[[Image:CC mural.JPG]]
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''Photo: Molly Hankwitz''
 
''Photo: Molly Hankwitz''
  
Regardless of obvious faults which one could find with City College, the point here is to lay bare the methodology of the neo-liberal attack strategies, the connection between depriving populations of public assets and other oppressive events in the national political landscape, and, above all, to point out the right to the city and the right to decent affordable education for all citizens, a feature of San Francisco's support for CCSF and its history as an idea
+
Regardless of faults with City College SF, the point here is to lay bare the consistency of neo-liberal attack strategies, the connection between depriving populations of public assets and other forms of oppression now emerging in the national political landscape, and, above all, to point out the pointlessness of destroying something which has proved to be an effective resource and so beneficial to the city. All citizens deserve the right to affordable higher education. What the responsibility of California's cities will be to their populations regarding accessible higher education remains to be seen, but CCSF has proved an excellent model.
 
    
 
    
We must not allow "the wrecking crew" (as SAVE CCSF affectionately refers to its captors) in their effort to control every aspect of our lives, to destroy what freedoms have been dreamed and built for nearly a century by City College
+
We must not allow "the wrecking crew" (as SAVE CCSF affectionately refers to its captors) to destroy what has been dreamed of. City College needs to be supported and enabled, not destroyed.
  
 
'''Save City College!'''  
 
'''Save City College!'''  

Revision as of 18:03, 5 October 2013

Historical Essay

by Molly Hankwitz, September 24, 2013

CCSF mission campus.JPG

A beautiful mosaic of the Aztec calendar greets those entering the City College Mission Campus

Photo: Molly Hankwitz

This Attack Goes Against Our History and Any Meaningful Sustainable Solution for San Francisco

Maneuverings of The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, (ACCJC) around City College's accreditation and threats of closure this July 2014 came as and unwarranted attack on the community. To many here, CCSF exemplifies the best of this part of the world: its inclusive, diverse, intellectual and progressive populations. How is it possible, then, that CCSF had gotten behind on paperwork and standards when the education is widely valued? What could this event do to the exceptional cultural diversity and educated workforce of the city? How has CCSF sprung back? Moreover, what is the responsibility of Californian cities to their lower income and minority residents with respect to higher education?

The 2008 State budget cuts affected California's community and state colleges through reduced enrollment and loss of services. The cuts took a toll upon the UC system as well. The pressure on CCSF to change its ways or lose accreditation is yet another set back to our State's higher educational system.

This small, notoriously democratic institution, a College of approximately 85,000 currently enrolled students has worked for nearly a century to deliver quality higher education and certification to its students. Many in the student body are under-served, newcomer, transitional, or older adult residents of the city.

CCSF has also been a robust employer paying its faculty some of the highest salaries and benefits for public workers anywhere in the nation. State budget cuts have already affected CCSF capacity to do its job as an institution, despite the fact that administration managed throughout to preserve faculty salaries and many student services. Yet, despite the difficulties experienced at the hands of the State, CCSF is now being made to scramble to fulfill the requirements set by the private organization, the ACCJC, or risk closure.

More Context

The ACCJC's judgments may have first appeared rigorous due to the many news reports. It may also have appeared an assertive official effort to "clean up" a faltering and unworthy urban institution. But, it's easy these days to send morality plays through the news when "quality education" is being debated as hotly as it is. "Crisis" makes for good reading. However, more astute thinking cannot separate one act of large-scale political indifference from another. These are politically divisive times in the US. From the Federal government shutdown by the Tea Party to the plethora of evictions and foreclosures plaguing citizens' housing. One must read the swashbuckling neo-liberal moves to destabilize institutions as having politically divisive and conservative similarities.

Because of its scale and history, the attack on CCSF is one more event in a spate of political attacks on minority and lower-income citizens (and their history) including the recent Supreme Court's decision on the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the Trayvon Martin verdict, the Tea Party's blockade if Obamacare, and Republican adherance to "states' rights", as well as the secret, nighttime addition by Republicans of limitations to birth control, a clear attack on womens' reproductive freedom!

Indeed, globally speaking, entire governments of poorer countries have been strangled by destabilization. Economies have fallen and state measures towards "austerity" have been enforced, frequently through violent police "militarization". But, not without resistance. Privatization of public assets, the dogma there is no money without privatization, has proved hideously successful in league with media, in convincing the public sector that it can no longer survive without private control. We see this in arguments for undermining K-12 public education, parks and recreation facilities, and public transportation.

Laying Blame and Taking Action

Bodies of “interest” behind frequently clandestine initiatives, like those used to discredit and restructure CCSF, must be resisted. These efforts work to undermine the foundations of our civil society, our capacity for free thought, and the right to self-government of our educated population.

In a singularly well-worded lawsuit, City Attorney Dennis J. Herrera's office has proceeded against the ACCJC for “using the accreditation process to squelch debate with respect to education reform in Sacramento”.(LA Times,2013) Their move sheds light upon the agency's agenda for including CCSF in its already overly-punitive track record of punishing California's community colleges. This commendable insight into the political practices of the ACCJC across the state comes as some welcome relief to an else-wise silent or "on side" City Hall.

Resistance, Protest, Student Speak Outs: The Community Rallies Back

Efforts to sustain CCSF, largely through pushing for enrollment, and to resist the attack have developed, of course. (See links below.) Students, faculty, administrators have been working to keep CCSF alive despite the imposition of a demeaning “deadline." Any decline in enrollment means continued loss of funding from the State. Loss of accreditation, of course, will make that situation even worse. This is why the trajectory of this event is punitive. The ACCJC's approach is counter-productive to a school beleagured by State budget cuts! CCSF relied upon State funding. The State's entire budget and its challenges have nothing to do with CCSF per se. The school is being pushed further under by the ACCJC and, critically speaking, the San Francisco Chronicle has done nothing but agree with the “official story”. The paper spotlighted the one Trustee appointed, not elected, to dictate all decision-making. CCSF has been held unduly responsible for the State's mess and the linear, punitive methodologies and "interests" of the ACCJC.

Questions

Why destroy the city's largest provider of workforce education? Why shutdown the US government so that citizens' can't have affordable health insurance? Herrera's law suit alleges that “the panel is biased against the college and its advocates because of differing agendas.” No truer words were every spokes. CCSF's value to faculty and students has long been its openness to political difference and the diversity of the city's culture, not adherence to a monocultural perspective on education, student outcomes, or who should be allowed access to vital resources and who should not.

The attack on CCSF reads as one more in a long history of "fall out" from State and national greed and corruption. The effects of years of racist, classcist response, the passing over tax-payers for CEOs, and a minority of powerful "aristocratic" interests actively destroying civil society in the last decades, are hitting home.


CC is now open sign.JPG

Keeping the doors open!

Photo: Molly Hankwitz

Efforts to Kill Morale

Let's name the ways in which the attack on CCSF has played out across the community. In the mainstream press steeped in neo-liberal capitalist "speak", CCSF has been assailed as fiscally irresponsible, failing to maintain appropriate standards, with the strong implication that CCSF is behind the times in its aims. This argument is transparent. This is an "old and new" argument, preparing for a future of "real" change, as it were, which will be managed and created to be up to date, as if there were no mitigating circumstance or community voice. The San Francisco Bay Guardian, reliably left wing, published an editorial, however, on how elements of Obama administration rhetoric are to blame for much of this pushing and maneuvering around education at state and national levels. (Bay Guardian editorial, 2013)

Measures to disrupt CCSF's practices from the faceless regime-enforcing new management have been extensive. In total, faculty have received humiliating eleven percent pay cuts, a measure which was supposed to have been prevented by Prop. A, voted in by the city.

Those teaching for many years have received reduced course loads and carefully renamed classes with syllabi handed over to younger teachers. These are contract-breaking tactics which hold faculty responsible for management's foibles and whims. Course attrition rates have also been blamed on teachers since this news broke. But, in truth, enrollment has been declining since the 2008 budget cuts and since the ACCJC pronouncements. It's not the fault of the Faculty.


More Confusion and Undermining

The threat of closure to an institution much used and respected by San Franciscans has felt like robbery. Ultimately, it's an issue of self-government v. "top down" distanced management with an undisclosed, yet painful and harmful agenda. When locks were suddenly changed in classroom buildings without notifying those using them, the message was clear. New keys had to be requested by a workforce which had come and gone freely for years. The disappearance of departmental chairs, faculty pay cuts, “downsizing“ of student services, and commercialization of the bookstore all happened so quickly, there was little time to respond. It was as if the school had become slated for demolition by an outside force. Visions of the newer campuses falling silent have haunted a public familiar with San Francisco land grabs and the current rapid gentrification of many neighborhoods has not helped. In fact it places the entire attack into the realm of being part and parcel of a "takeover" of San Francisco's organic, counter-cultural, lower income and minority elements. CCSF campuses, with their huge building footprints, expanses of lawn, playing fields, parking lots, and the brand new multi million dollar architecture would seem tasty morsels to the wannabe sharks.

Where is the assessment that would decide to sustain CCSF on the grounds that residents deserve affordable educational opportunities? Where lies belief that inexpensive, accessible public higher education is a public good?

The social and political history of CCSF and its influence on our City as an educational institution is important to the Bay Area as a whole. Radio talk shows about CCSF's accreditation debacle have had callers expressing anger over the perceptible the effects upon minority, low-income, and immigrant students. One angry ESL teacher from the East Bay ended her rant about the war on minority students with, ”Oakland has no more adult education.”

Civil Rights Backlash and Educational Inequity are a National Issue

Recently, distressing national events have targeted the public sector, particularly, people of color and lower-income. The New York Times reports that 1 in 5 children live in poverty in the United States. (NY Times, 10/1/2013) Income discrepencies show people of color significantly poorer and more unemployed overall than similarly aged white people; approximately 60% of people of color to a mere nine percent of whites. These numbers lend a comparative background to the climate surrounding dis-accreditation and threat of closure to CCSF, a school which has helped thousands of lower income people and minority students gain in academia, job placement and career certification. Where will these students go and what will their future prospects be in a system which is currently oppressing them further? How can society be made more equal without reasonable and fair access to education?


Starting from the top is the Supreme Court decision to take down important parts of the 1965 Voters' Rights Act on the thinly laid argument that the racial discrimination originally leading to this seminal legislation no longer exists. To be clear, the Voter's Rights Act is a piece of Law, put into place to protect minorities from discrimination, just as Roe v. Wade is a piece of Law that enables women to gain the right of privacy over their own bodies. These laws have been held up as cornerstones of civil liberties for people of color and women in the US, yet within hours of the Court's decision, notoriously racist Southern states set about re-zoning voting districts, drawing boundaries which would affect voter turnout in future elections. It is an historic fact that President Obama won states where voter turn out for minority and low-income populations was especially high.

A not-guilty verdict in the Trayvon Martin shooting has also sent a disturbing message. Fatal wounding of young people of color by those armed and sanctioned to use weapons is being legally protected by the judicial system. In my humble opinion, this constitutes another link in a chain of highly-conservative backlash towards people of color which is being glossed over by the “Martinizing” of the Obama presidency with highly publicized marches on Washington in honor of King. As Smiley and West have pointed out, sentimentality towards Martin Luther King does little but put frosting on a situation which King himself would have regarded as abhorrent and which cannot be condoned ---that is the trading of civil rights laws for ineffectual "feel good" histories as easily forgotten as they are enjoyed.

What is real, however, is the shape-shifting of top courts and justices, legal maneuveurs tantamount to legislating inequality, new laws around activism, the closing of borders, and the de-waging and under valuation of low-income citizens. Where does growing inequality best take root? In attacks on the cultural ideal of accessible, affordable education for all citizens. It is here that populations stand to lose the most ground in terms of their own self-betterment, growth, and prosperity.

The Toll

Beleagurement of the other, the poor, the ethnic minority is a pernicious outcome of white, male dominated ruling power. It is observed in the widespread modeling and adoption of “Stop and Frisk” police methods in New York and Oakland, in the problem of Oscar Grant's shooting death going all but excused, and of “inner city” hatred emerging as far back as the Nixon and Reagan administrations when many urban policing laws were put in place and more people started living in the streets.

If you are a person of color and poor, today — even with a half Black president — you can be screwed out of your vote, stopped and frisked without a warrant, and are as likely in 2013 to be the target of police brutality or "acceptable levels" of violence from someone wearing a badge, who will then be pardoned for shooting you than you may ever have been before.

Unfortunately, to my mind, the destructive restructuring of CCSF with little explanation and little faith in its sustained purpose or public good, fits right in to the current, reactionary cycle of governmental shutdown/control and domination. Most importantly, the attack is a disavowal of the multiple cultures and expressions of culture which make CCSF a diverse intellectual institution. It is nearly an act of cultural war supported by justifications of power in the same way that Hardt and Negri describe the growth of "just wars" as an excuse for military industry and colonization under empire.

DOE

In 2009, the Department of Education swept the country with educational imperatives in hand. They held multiple public meetings on minority education in public and charter schools in numerous states including our own at the Main Library in Civic Center. In the Bay Area, attendees, including myself, heard from young Oakland activists of color about the state of Oakland's schools, which when moved from being public to Charter status under the DOE's plans for educational reform, frequently became more whitened and were no longer seen as serving or belonging to minority populations. The activists cited in particular the American Indian Middle School, which “went charter” and lost its community character. Actions such as the people's sit-in at Lakeview Elementary in Oakland 2012, underscore further, the degree of struggle being undertaken to protect public schools from outside "takeover". This is in the context, too, of neighborhoods being gentrified and of the extensive publicity of crime rates and levels of involvement from Oakland's black youth. At the same time, it is very important to respond to the fact that if it had not been for the African American press, the Oscar Grant story would probably have disappeared altogether.

In the modern history of the United States, the quality of life, and open, free-wheeling civic participation of community politics have been progressive values embodied in the city of San Francisco. Residents here helped to build a radical movement against the Vietnam War in the 1960s, against the invasion of Iraq, and have been the first to implement many critical chapters in the history of womens' rights, gay rights, and AIDS research. Occupy SF was a vibrant and challenging chapter in recent social movement history here. Part of this progressive tradition has been the building of CCSF which has provided low-cost higher education to the lumpen mass and brought opportunity for learning and cultural exchange to the many without student loan debt.

CC mural.JPG

Copernicus and the Aztecs as inspiration.

Photo: Molly Hankwitz

Regardless of faults with City College SF, the point here is to lay bare the consistency of neo-liberal attack strategies, the connection between depriving populations of public assets and other forms of oppression now emerging in the national political landscape, and, above all, to point out the pointlessness of destroying something which has proved to be an effective resource and so beneficial to the city. All citizens deserve the right to affordable higher education. What the responsibility of California's cities will be to their populations regarding accessible higher education remains to be seen, but CCSF has proved an excellent model.

We must not allow "the wrecking crew" (as SAVE CCSF affectionately refers to its captors) to destroy what has been dreamed of. City College needs to be supported and enabled, not destroyed.

Save City College!


The author wishes to thank Richard Baum for his camaraderie and factual assistance, and Walter Alter for his correspondence and research. She is the initiator of The City College of San Francisco Community History Project (continually being added to Found SF) and seeks to collect stories, photographs, and details about CCSF from the community of San Francisco. She is working on a video installation about City College and urban education for the masses for ATA's window gallery on Valencia Street.

For more information, please contact: 'mollybh@aya.yale.edu


Notes

City Attorney Files Suit

San Francisco sues Panel over City College Accreditation

Save Our City College

Here's Real History in the Making: Fighting to Save City College