Rich Hansen (FHDA) , Ron Galatolo (SMCCD),  Jackie Spears, Anna Eshoo, jim Beal (all legislators) , Rafael Mandelman (CCSF trustee from the dissolved board of trustees), Josh Pechtault (CFT), Ron Gerhard (CCSF admin),  Assemblyman Tom Ammiato,  Local 2121 President Alissa Messer, and others are gathered to discuss CCSF issues in the Diego Rivera theatre.  The backdrop, incongrously,  is a blue-walled and book-cased setting for a play. At least four hundred folks are gathered to hear the remarks, and perhaps even to speak up and ask questions or offer suggestions or insight.

The politicians speak first (Jackie Spears and Anna Eshoo, Jim Beal).  The politicians want to “hear” how to make the system better. They all support the community college system and  the students. Ammiato is very happy to have the attention of the congressmen and women.  He goes onto say we are not just a village, we are the village people, who will solve this problem.

“It’s time to be warriors,” says Ammiato, who calls ACCJC a site of “corruption.’   “We will work with the governor on legislative change to protect the community college system.”

Galatolo says that  we must “change the mandate that requires us to use the ACCJC.”  Then he went onto say the educational quality is excellent (at CCSF –and indeed throughout the cc system) and gave examples from the state system and technical programs.  He says “the punishment does not fit the crime,” referring to the closure of CCSF via a rogue accrediting body.

Neither Hansen nor Galatolo mention Part time faculty– and how the poorly paid and poorly integrated PTF statewide fit  into the accreditation picture, or the educational quality picture, or the union framework, or address the fact that many PTF teach “across systems” and thus blur any “educational quality distinctions” between districts,. What does it mean that faculty A teaches at institution X (loosing its accreditation), and institution Y (successfully re-accredited), and institution Z (sanctioned)?

In addition,  none of the first six speakers  (Spiers, Eshoo, Beal, Ammiato, Galatolo, or Hansen) attempted to discover or question “why” the ACCJC has this particularly pernicious attitude toward  the community colleges.  Could it be foundation funding?  Every time the woman behind me shout outs “Lumina” Galatolo visibly stumbles and  looks as if he is determined to duck  the issue.  He sticks to his prerecorded remarks–the relatively simple narrative of an inexplicably  “evil ACCJC,.”

Nonetheless, Galatolo stole the show–his presentation was powerful otherwise, particularly when  he pointed out that the colleges from which commissioners who serve on the ACCJC hail, have done remarkably well in this season of scorched earth for community colleges.

Most panelists agree that there should be a governmental (Gov Brown) or legislative fix in the works for reining in the ACCJC, thought the union-led lawsuit will surely have a place in the outcome of this sad saga.. . . .

Because I teach at three colleges, I had to leave the proceedings midway, without contributing to the Q and A.

It is the story of my life.

Leave early. Go to another campus. Teach  another class .




Margaret Hanzimanolis teaches writing for three Bay Area community colleges.

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