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Immeasurable Value: The City College of San Francisco, Libertarians, and Communitarians

July 8, 2013

If you can get by the paywall, check out this article on the accreditation status of the City College of San Francisco.

This is terrible for the students, faculty, and community, but absolutely fascinating from the perspective of someone who has studied the history of education. For starters, community colleges have been going gangbusters since 2008—with support from the Obama administration. But here the trend is downward.

The key problem is that, because the city has inadequate vocational education at the secondary level, the college had picked up that responsibility without received the proper funding. The article cites the CCSF’s “unusual role as a designated provider of adult education in San Francisco, a function handled in most cities by the elementary and secondary schools.”

So its special relationship to its S.F. community has emotional and real human value in relation to local citizens, but not capital value. No state, federal, or municipal entity is stepping in to make sure the budget issues will be solved. The article, despite providing that tension above, mostly paints this as a classic battle between labor and management (i.e. can’t accommodate union demands! or shared governance!).

So the accounting is flawed somewhere. Someone is not seeing the potential value here, either for taxpayers or for the CCSF’s consumer students. The “community” (city, state, federal) must contribute more, or the individuals of the community must pay higher tuition.

Will the libertarians or the communitarians win this political debate? Or will the community remain paralyzed and let the CCSF go under? – TL

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