City College of S.F. strives to retain accreditation

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City College of San Francisco -- the largest community college in the state and possibly the nation -- faces a deadline Friday to prove that it should retain its accreditation.

A scathing report in June by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges found that the school, which serves about 80,000 students and has been heralded by supporters for its commitment to access and affordability, was riddled with problems. Among them: paltry financial reserves, a dearth of leadership, a slow-moving style of democratic governance and a lack of defined learning outcomes that can be tracked to determine meaningful success.

Leaders of the 78-year-old college and a special trustee charged with guiding reforms have been pressing hard for change ever since. While they concede they have not solved all the problems the commission had asked them to by Friday’s deadline, they are hopeful that enough progress has been made to avoid closure.

The reforms have caused a rift on campus, with many students and faculty protesting proposed reductions of teacher ranks and salary cuts as contrary to the school’s values. In a spirited protest to City Hall on Thursday, they derided the commission and other outsiders pressing reforms as ‘carpetbaggers.’ But college leaders counter that the school’s values won’t be worth much if it is forced to close. The accreditation commission is expected to determine its fate in June.



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-- Lee Romney in San Francisco