Now two liberal Democrat Bay Area members of Congress are joining the efforts of the public employee unions to keep discredited San Francisco City College open – and they are doing it by blaming the messenger – the Accrediting Commission – rather than demanding a probe of the out-of-control payroll department that helped cause the de-accrediting of the school.
Congressmembers Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo think S.F. City College should keep offering meaningless degree programs even after the college failed in a year-long effort to convince the Accrediting Commission that it had fixed 12 separate areas where it had fallen short of acting like a real institution of higher learning. Among the problem areas identified was a lack of financial controls so profound, that teachers were routinely paid for work – teaching classes – that they did not perform.
Accountability at California’s largest public school still remains allusive. The Accrediting Commission has not made public the information about who exactly was responsible for the failings in the payroll office; how many teachers were paid for “no show” work; or whether salary over-payments were returned to the school (and the taxpayers). The San Francisco Chronicle has done an awful job covering the scandal, by failing to dig into the lack of financial controls and “naming names.” Instead, the newspaper has preferred to quote teacher union representatives, whose comments of course are oriented to protect the teacher-administrators involved in the rip-off.
At a time when California’s fourth graders rank 46th and 47th in the nation in reading and math, enforcing minimum academic standards at all California schools, especially our Community Colleges, is essential to the future economic security of the state. California needs an educated workforce. If standards fall and degrees become meaningless scraps of paper, we all lose, not just the student cheated out of a decent education. Today there are at least 20 Community Colleges statewide on academic probation. Speier and Eshoo can help Californians a lot more by probing the question of why our schools are failing, rather than trying to keep a failing school in business.