Presentation on theme: "Accreditation Bullies for a Corporate Agenda A Power Analysis of the Manufactured Accreditation Crisis at City College of SF 1."— Presentation transcript:
Accreditation Bullies for a Corporate Agenda A Power Analysis of the Manufactured Accreditation Crisis at City College of SF 1
We’ll investigate a mystery : The purpose of accreditation is to provide assurance of quality education to the public. Yet: One of the biggest community colleges in the nation is under an ongoing threat of closure because of “deficiencies” cited by the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), mainly in the areas of governance and finance, not education. These “back office deficiencies” can only be evaluated by the ACCJC and a closely-aligned private consulting firm, FCMAT (Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team). The ACCJC’s threat to close City College has created a hemorrhage in student enrollment and makes it very difficult to recruit permanent leaders. This accreditation shock will translate into harsh budget cuts and downsizing, and is already severely damaging the many premier programs of the College. The College is under a state takeover imposed by the state Board of Governors, which indefinitely suspended the locally elected Board of Trustees. The state imposed a Special Trustee with Extraordinary Powers who makes all decisions unilaterally, and which installed a new top administration that is very aligned with the demands of the ACCJC toward down-sizing and corporate overhaul of the college. 2 Citations in speakers notes
Under the threat of closure, City College is bleeding students & faculty The college downsized rapidly with five years of deep state budget cuts, followed by the accreditation shock starting in 2012. About 30% of all students are gone, down from 100,000 in 2008; More than one quarter of all part-time faculty have lost their jobs, and only one tenth of retiring full-time faculty are being replaced; As 2015 opens, there is open discussion about selling off irreplaceable College land and property, including 33 Gough and the Reservoir. Is accreditation “destroying the college in order to save it?” 3
When “saving the college” equals downsizing and a corporate overhaul In the name of “meeting accreditation standards,” the College is being forcibly overhauled along the lines of top- down corporate education “reform,” as articulated by the biggest California multi-national corporations organized in the California Business Roundtable: --Shedding tens of thousands of “non-priority” students, those not headed for the corporate workforce; --Moving from a heavily full-time faculty labor force and a benefited and stable part-time faculty, to a heavily contingent faculty labor force; --Moving from an elected board of trustees, shared governance, a thin layer of administration and elected faculty department chairs, to a thick administrative layer and nearly zero structures for input by the public, community, faculty, staff or students; --Moving toward heavy reliance on metrics for top-down control, through a corporate-style Student Learning Outcome process of one-way accountability of the bottom to the top; --Defining student support services as optional, and moving to eliminate many. 4
The fundamental issue is open access Open access for all according to the California Master Plan of 1960, including “second- chance” students, part-time students, basic-level ESL students, students with disabilities, elders and lifelong learners. The three pillars of the Master Plan were access, affordability and quality. Open access is advocated vigorously by City College Board, students, faculty; VERSUS Success for a few, or “human capital development” for a narrow band of full-time students pursuing degrees and certificates for the corporate workforce, resulting in much smaller community colleges. This position is advocated by the ACCJC, the California Business Roundtable (CBR), the Campaign for College Opportunity (co-founded by the CBR), the Little Hoover Commission, the ACCJC and allies. This position will shed roughly 50% of City College students. 5
City College: A Top College 6 April 2007: The New York Times asked researchers to name model community colleges in the U.S. The Times featured City College of San Francisco in a profile of the top eleven nationally.
7 Nationwide, only four community colleges out of 7,000 lost their accreditation in the most recent year, according to Senator Tom Harkin.
So, the ACCJC would have us believe: That City College somehow plummeted from being in the top 11… 8
An Inconvenient Truth 9 For those threatening to close City College, an inconvenient truth is that the Chancellor’s Office Score Card shows that it is one of the strongest colleges in California. Many people at the College believe that standardized metrics are a very limited way of looking at quality of education. But if for a moment we use this widely accepted yardstick, City College excels.
CCSF has the fourth highest transfer rate among the large California community colleges 10
CCSF’s Score Card outcomes are superior to those of all the colleges associated with the accrediting commission “A higher percentage of City College students transferred to a four-year university or earned a vocational certificate within five years than did students at each of the colleges affiliated with members of the accrediting commission, asaccrediting commission measured by the state’s latest Student Success Score Card for California community colleges, released on April 15,Student Success Score Card 2014 by the state Chancellor’s Office; In all, 58 percent of students who entered City College in the 2007-08 school year achieved their goal of transferring or earning a certificate within five years, the Score Card shows; None of the 12 colleges led by members of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges — or where commissioners teach, have been employed, or were graduated from — did as well.” --Nanette Asimov, SF Chronicle, facts buried in a web blog after scores of negative newspaper articles slamming City College 11
Downsizing is not an unfortunate side effect, but is in fact a major (though veiled) goal In October 25, 2013, a vice chancellor gave a rare direct statement to the SF Chronicle, as she discussed an aggressive new payment policy that robo-dropped some 2000 low-income students for small delayed payments such as unpaid library fines, weeks before their financial aid arrived. This “pay to stay” payment policy is now enforced every semester, shedding thousands of low-income and undocumented students: “We are in a serious transition to right size the college.” Explains Special Trustee Mr. Agrella to the Wall Street Journal: “In community colleges in general, we tried to be all things to all people. We cannot afford to do that any longer.” This raises the question: which parts of the mission are to be cut out, and which students are disposable? 12
Bait and switch on the mission The first accreditation shock came in July 2012, quickly followed by state-appointed interim chancellor, Pamila Fisher. In August 2012, Fisher’s opening action was to cut in half the College’s mission, an overarching statement of funding priorities (and un-priorities, the set up for later cut-backs). THE BAIT: THE STANDARD AS WRITTEN “The Board of Trustees should review the mission on a regular basis.” THE SWITCH: THE STANDARD IN REAL LIFE The imposition of a new half-sized mission--which coincidentally is the same as that advocated by the Student Success Act (SB 1456), then being battled out in Sacramento. The ACCJC and City College were on opposing sides of a battle royal over open access. Fisher set a tone of shock and awe, using the ACCJC as the threat: "Without dramatic change, there won't be a college,” Fisher scolded the trustees at 1:30 a.m. when she feared they might waver. "Time is of the essence. The accrediting commission made it clear as recently as yesterday that they are concerned we are not moving quickly enough.” ” 13
The imposition of a half-sized mission DOWNSIZED CCSF “CORE MISSION” Job training (career and technical education) Completion of associate degrees Transfer to university Still included in the City College mission after a fight: Basic skills, including English as a Second Language and adult high school diploma/GED The above is the precise mission of SB 1456, the Student ‘Success’ Act (2012), and echoes the priorities of another elite policy group, the Little Hoover Commission. “PERIPHERAL ACTIVITIES,” GONE GONE GONE Active engagement in the civic and social fabric of the community; Citizenship preparation Lifelong learning and life skills (including elder education) Cultural enrichment The college offers other programs and services only as resources allow… (This is the set-up for getting rid of the relatively strong specialized student resource centers that students, community and faculty have struggled to build over the last 40 years: Disabled Students Programs and Services, EOPS, Transitional Studies, the Resource Centers (Family, Women’s, Queer, Multicultural, Veterans), SCube, VIDA (by and for undocumented students), the Book Loan Program, HARTS (Homeless services), Guardian Scholars, Project SURVIVE, the Gender Diversity Project, Second Chance, WAYPASS, the Writing Success Project, Peer Case Management, and all retention programs.} 14
Cutting the mission means cutting out students WHO’S IN? (PRIORITIZED) New high school graduates and 18-24 year olds speeding towards the corporate workforce. Students who can afford school full time—or (better yet for the student loan industry), who take out student loans. Middle class students who don’t need extra support services. Researchers are seeing a “cascade effect,” where students who might otherwise go to the ever more expensive CSU (now heavily ‘impacted’ or overcrowded) turn to the community colleges. WHO’S OUT? (DE-PRIORITIZED) Part time students, i.e. low-income students and parents – (not coincidentally, the main recruitment target of the for-profit colleges). Those not well-positioned to help the US economy ‘beat the global competition’—for example, disabled students, displaced older workers, elders. “Second chance” or marginalized students who will no longer receive needed services: People coming home from prison or war, those with special challenges, anyone who didn‘t succeed in college the first or second time. Undocumented students. Citizenship classes are out of the mission. 15
But why is this happening? Many of us have a nagging feeling that there are corporate players behind the City College crisis: “It just makes no sense to ‘safeguard educational quality’ by threatening to close one of the best community colleges in the country. The City College situation seems so political.” This line of critical thinking often gets shut down with the mocking comment, “Oh, that’s just a conspiracy theory.” This presentation aims to give us an understanding of the corporate players behind the accreditation crisis at City College, their goals and methods. 16
It’s not a conspiracy, it’s an agenda A conspiracy is small and secret. But the agenda of downsizing and re-engineering the California community colleges is being pushed by a corporate education “reform” coalition that operates substantially in the open—although they speak in code language. The Student Success Task Force Report of 2012 summarizes the consensus of corporate and political elites that California needs a much different and smaller community college system with a narrow focus on workforce training. They don’t openly say that corporations are dis-investing in and down-sizing all public services from the post office, to food stamps, to public education. 17
They say “there’s just no money, and sadly, there is no alternative” 18
In strategic reports, the need for the overhaul is justified on budgetary grounds “The California Community Colleges are in the midst of a serious fiscal crisis…” “The state must “change the system to meet the state’s current and future civic and workforce needs with the finite financial resources it has” [Translation: Do more with less.] “Given the scarcity of resources currently available to the colleges, the reality is that the state has failed to live up to that commitment [of the Master Plan to open access to ‘all Californians who can benefit from higher education]…we as a system are rationing access to education.” Translation: We need to cancel the promise of the Master Plan of 1960 with a “new Master Plan” with the singular goal of more degrees and certificates for the corporate workforce. The cure for budget cutbacks is posed as boosting productivity and “rationing education more rationally.” Unmentioned are the thousands of students being pushed out. The new focus should be on full-time students, those who arrive “most likely to succeed.” 19
Important realities are hidden under an invisibility cloak, and fundamental issues are silenced California ranks #50 of the 50 states in state dollars per college/university student, dragged down by the severe under-funding of the system that serves the neediest students and is tasked with providing a ladder of upward mobility—the community colleges. California is the richest state in the richest country in the history of the world, with the highest concentration of millionaires and billionaires; San Francisco and Silicon Valley have the highest concentration of net worth of individuals nationally, i.e. the most millionaires per thousand; California has the #1 highest poverty rate of all 50 states, using a poverty index that adjusts for cost of living. 20
Inequality in SF worse than in Rwanda The US Chamber of Commerce narrows the parameters of discussion: “We discuss outputs—student outcomes. We do not discuss inputs ” [i.e. the resources required to reach the outcomes]. No wonder corporate elites do not want to discuss distribution of resources and power: The Brookings Institution recently found that the income gap between San Francisco’s rich and poor is growing faster than any other city in the nation, plunging the city into Third World levels of inequality. San Francisco’s Human Services Agency released a new report saying that income inequality in San Francisco is a little more extreme than that in Rwanda, and just a little better than that in Guatemala. 21
22 In short, the fundamental premise for downsizing and re-engineering the community colleges— “we’re broke”—is a lie.
Cracking the code language of the Student Success Task Force and the City College state takeover They don’t say they are canceling the open access mission set forth in the California Master Plan of 1960; they say they are “updating the Master Plan” by focusing on the most important priority—degrees and certificates for the corporate workforce; They don’t say they are pushing out the most marginalized students who must work and can only attend part time; instead they say they are “rationing education more rationally” by prioritizing full-time students who are most likely to succeed. They don’t say they are closing down student services built up over decades to support students with special challenges, such as undocumented students, parents or LGBTQ students; they say “City College is not a social service agency.” They don’t say that they want to trim down curriculum that promotes critical thinking about our ever-more unequal society—they say (paraphrasing interim chancellor Pamila Fisher): “All that social justice stuff--the Diversity Departments, San Francisco, flowers in your hair—it’s nice, but we just can’t afford it any more. Your Diversity Departments are in our crosshairs.” 23
What’s the end game? 24 Very briefly, their aims are to downsize California’s big 112-college community college system radically, to shrink the public sector and open market share for the for-profit colleges and the student loan industry; and to re-engineer these shrunken community colleges to focus narrowly on corporate workforce preparation, to be provided at public expense. In order to ram through these highly unpopular goals, they are working to sweep aside democratic governance structures including unions, locally elected boards of trustees, shared governance, and academic senates. Always described as “dysfunctional,” local input is a serious annoyance to the plans of the elites.
Push-out policies Statewide, a host of new push-out policies (e.g., unit caps, repeatability rules, “academic progress” standards, financial aid limits) is shedding hundreds of thousands of students seen as disposable: low-income students, part-time students, parents, new immigrants, older students, non-credit and “second chance” students. Not coincidentally, these are the same demographics targeted by the for-profit colleges. Corporate players are organized in long-standing lobbying organizations such as the California Business Roundtable and the Chamber of Commerce. They work out their specific positions through reports and commissions (and this process involves conflict, negotiation and compromise, there’s no puppet master pulling all the strings). This corporate coalition runs a multi-year legislative agenda in Sacramento and Washington DC. They advocate for their agenda through networks of personal ties, drafting laws, modifying regulations and making campaign contributions. They work through a network of faux grassroots groups (astroturf organizations), well-financed think tanks, and cooperative politicians. The whole effort is amply funded through giant “venture philanthropy” foundations spun off from the corporations themselves--the Lumina Foundation (set up by the Student Loan Marketing Corporation); the Gates Foundation (set up by Microsoft); and other foundations set up by the tech and real estate industries. 25
Down-sizing the Public Sector Starting with five years of unprecedented state budget cuts totaling 1.5 billion in 2007-12, California community colleges have already shrunk significantly, from 2.9 million students in 2008, to 2.1 million today. 24% of all classes were cut, including a 60% cut in summer classes and in classes for older adults. 26
Is there protest from official leadership? After these huge cuts, state budget funding to rebuild community college enrollment was set for 2.75% for 2014-15 and 2% for 2015-16, lacking the four-year growth commitment made to the CSU and UC systems. Yet in place of loud protest, we hear only SILENCE or weak laments from officials, along with calls for more career prep, STEM education and “innovation” (often a code word for more on-line instruction) 27
Accreditation’s parallel universe It is extremely well-documented that over many years, corporate lobbyists have systematically created a parallel universe of hyper-regulation for public community colleges, and extreme de-regulation of for-profit colleges. This can be clearly seen in the case of City College of San Francisco. Here one of the premier public colleges in the state is being subjected to a traumatic and prolonged threat of closure, while the very same accrediting agency—the ACCJC--fully accredited one of the Corinthian for-profit brands—Heald—for almost 30 years—until the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau finally sued and moved to break up this scam operation: ◦Corinthian is accused by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of running an illegal predatory lending scheme: “We believe Corinthian lured consumers into predatory loans by lying about their future job prospects, and then used illegal debt collection tactics to strong- arm students at school.” The lawsuit filed on 9/16/14 alleges “a pervasive culture across the [Corinthian] that allowed employees to routinely deceive and illegally harass private student loan borrowers.” Most students who attend [the schools] come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds…” The list of charges includes sham job placement rates and predatory student loans that were more than twice as expensive as federal loans. 28
Wildly Disproportionate Accreditation Sanctions Aimed at California Community Colleges Between 2003-2008: 89% of all the sanctions in the US were issued by one of eight regional accrediting agencies, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) In the other regions, the average rate of sanction is 2% of colleges per year; the ACCJC had a sanction rate of 37% per year. Currently: 25% of California community colleges are on sanction. 29
The ACCJC: A private agency wielding public power The official story is that the ACCJC is a peer organization elected by community college presidents, with a mission of safeguarding educational quality on behalf of students and the public. In reality, it is a private 501c3, run by a small, powerful staff. It has governmental-type powers to re-engineer, drive down enrollment, and ultimately to close public colleges. This power is authorized by the US Department of Education, and an un-elected state body, the Board of Governors of the California Community College system (mainly appointed by governors, with several of the current BOG appointed by Gov. Schwarzenegger). The secretive ACCJC holds three-day meetings that include 15 minutes for public comment and does not publish proceedings. The executive staff of the ACCJC nominates like-minded commission candidates who are voted up or down as a block by community college presidents, so that their election is pro forma. The commission is dominated by conservative administrators from the Valley. 30
The manufactured accreditation crisis: Judge calls it “Significantly unlawful” In a week-long trial brought by the City Attorney’s Office in October 2014, many ACCJC irregularities came to light. In some cases the commission’s site visit teams would have desired conclusions telegraphed to them in advance by senior staff of the ACCJC: “At College X, you will find that….” Perhaps most shocking: The 16-person ACCJC visiting team spent five days in a site visit to City College in spring 2013, reviewing an exhaustive self-study and meeting with scores of people across the College. This delegation unanimously recommended to the ACCJC—by a vote of 16-0--that City College be removed from the “show cause” sanction and placed on probation—i.e. be taken off death row. Instead, the president of the commission, Barbara Beno, unilaterally altered the draft report to add new “deficiencies” not found by the inspection team, and set an execution date. She INCREASED the level of sanction to termination in July 2014, giving the college one year to close down. 31
The privatization playbook in K-12 has “jumped the fence” to the two-year colleges In 2009, President Obama announced his plan to close 5000 “failing public schools:” “Chronically underperforming schools need a new start” [i.e. closure]. So far, 4000 K-12 public schools have been closed, mainly in gentrifying Black and Latino neighborhoods near valuable downtown development areas 6500 charter schools have been opened—mainly chain operations owned by hedge funds and private equity firms (large donors to the Obama campaign): Charter teachers make 59% of what public school teachers do (Ohio); Huge on-line charter corporations like K12, Inc. charge full tuition for enrolling students doing self-study at home; The “savings” from degrading the quality of teaching and learning is funneled to the investors and CEOs. 32
Who’s affected by public school closures? The breakdown: 33
Public Education, the Big Enchilada: Montgomery Securities: “The education industry,” according to these analysts, “represents, in our opinion, the final frontier of a number of sectors once under public control” that “have either voluntarily opened” or, they note in pointed terms, have “been forced” to open up to private enterprise. “The education industry represents the largest market opportunity since health-care services were privatized during the 1970s…the K-12 market is the Big Enchilada.” Size of K-12 education market in 2015: $789 billion
High-stakes testing is to K-12, as accreditation is to community colleges In K-12, high-stakes testing is the hammer used to create the narrative of “failed public education,” justifying the false solution of closing public schools in favor of charter schools, and pushing a new model of heavily on-line education oriented around a brand dominated by Microsoft with Pearson: the Common Core. In the community colleges, currently accreditation is the hammer being used to down-size and re-engineer. Expect to see high-stakes testing and canned curricula coming to the community colleges: the Degree Qualifications Profile, a nationalized curriculum framework funded with student loan industry dollars (Lumina Foundation), is now being piloted by the ACCJC in 15 community colleges, again funded by Lumina. This is the parallel to the Common Core in K-12, pushed by the Gates Foundation. 35
“The Common Core is the cornerstone of unprecedented national-level corporate ‘reform’” The Common Core is a nationalized curriculum framework that drives a multi- billion dollar edu-industry. Common Core modules developed by Gates business partner Pearson (the largest educational publishing company in the world), are loaded on Microsoft Surface tablets. Gates calls this “personalized learning.” Then Common Core content is tested using computer-based standardized tests— more software licenses and hardware sales for the tech industry, and more sales for the 14 billion dollar a year testing industry. 70% or more of all students in New York and Georgia failed the Common Core state tests. 36
Did Bill Gates Purchase Consensus on the Common Core? Bill Gates’ foundation invested 400 million to get 44 states to adopt the Common Core. Gates invested heavily in public relations campaigns, and gave grants to associations that would endorse and lend legitimacy (ex: the National Governor’s Association and many others). Gates Foundation staff got conflict of interest waivers to take leading positions in the US Dept. of Ed, so that it is now hard to tell where Microsoft ends and the federal government begins. 37
A Nice Monopoly if You Can Buy One 38 This year, states are expected to spend 12 billion on Common Core-branded products—with $1.25 billion set aside in the California state budget alone (2014-15). Gates was highly offended when a reporter inquired if he might conceivably have a pecuniary interest in the Common Core.
39 This is a business plan, masquerading as an education plan
In postsecondary, Lumina is the ubiquitous funder of corporate education deform In 2011, Lumina directed $450K to ACCJC to pilot the Degree Qualifications Profile in 15 community colleges--the equivalent to the Common Core in K-12; It also gave 1.5 million to WASC to overhaul accreditation in California; It was a funder of the Student Success Task Force which laid the foundation for the Student Success Act of 2012; It funded California Competes to launch a public relations offensive and lawsuit against Academic Senates in California (the lawsuit was thrown out); It co-founded and funds the Campaign for College Opportunity, the main organizer of public and legislative support for the Student Success Act 40
Corporate-style Student Learning Outcomes Based on the K-12 experience with high-stakes testing, we predict that standardized testing for the community colleges will gradually emerge from the current ACCJC-enforced Student Learning Objectives process, and the Degree Qualifications Profile now being pilot-tested by the ACCJC. In contrast to authentic assessment used by groups of teachers, the current SLO process resembles industrial “management by objectives” or continuous quality improvement. According to education researcher Zemsky, SLOs were the brain child of Texas investment banker Charles Miller, on the board of JP Morgan Chase. SLOs was one of a trio of “education reform” policies including the high-stakes testing law called “No Child Left Behind,” which has since morphed into the even more aggressive “Race to the Top” law—used to rank and fire teachers and principals, and to justify closing 4000 public schools over the last decade. There is virtually zero research evidence that this process improves the quality of education—rather metrics are needed to move to a business model of education, with strict top-down control and a privatized market. City College’s “insufficient progress” on SLOs was one of the main reasons given for the dis-accreditation of the college. 41
Shock Doctrine: Using a Crisis as a Lever for Change A manufactured crisis should stun the target and move at top speed to force through unpopular policies that could not fly with any semblance of democratic process. “Only a crisis produces real change.” Naomi Klein explains that this strategy was developed by economist Milton Friedman, the guru of privatization. The first test of the shock doctrine was in Chile 1973, in a bloody coup followed by an economic overhaul strategized by Friedman’s “Chicago boys” economists. Case Study: The U.S. Postal Service 2006--Congress manufactured a crisis by requiring retiree healthcare to be pre-funded 75 years in advance—setting aside retirement funds for employees not yet hired--in fact, not yet born. This requirement destabilized the Post Office and forced cutbacks, opening market share for private competitors (UPS and Fed Ex). 42
The Shock Doctrine at City College: The 4 Ds Dishonor—dis-accreditation threat, with scores of attack articles led by the SF Chronicle—”City College is a behemoth, hopelessly mismanaged.” The College’s excellent outcomes data are buried. Disinvest—chronic community college under-funding, followed by five years of draconian state budget cuts, lead to poor conditions—for example, City College had old computers. This resulted in an accreditation “ding”—not any action to rectify the problem. Destabilize—threat of closure; veiled policy to “right-size” the college with a host of student push-out policies, class cancellations, layoffs and closure of one campus with four hours of notice. Disenfranchise—state takeover run by a “Super Trustee with Extraordinary Powers” appointed by the Chancellor’s Office, with the elected board of trustees suspended indefinitely by the statewide un-elected Board of Governors. The STWEP in turn installed an all-new top administration, headed by a former three-star general from Houston. 43
Who stands to gain from the downsizing and corporate overhaul of City College? 44
The Wall Street Siamese twins: The for-profit ‘colleges’ and the student loan industry The for-profit colleges are owned by Wall Street hedge funds and equity firms. They are financed by an open spigot of taxpayer dollars. After the for-profit corporations get their money, the dollars are quickly converted into student debt--held by the five big banks and the Student Loan Marketing Corporation, known as Sallie Mae. As of 2006, student debt can virtually never be discharged, so that millions of students are shackled to these loans for a lifetime. In some cases the same company runs a for-profit college, and also holds student debt—for example Wells Fargo Bank, which owned 19% of the fraudulent Corinthian—again, fully accredited for nearly three decades by the ACCJC. 45
Why is California a juicy target for a privatization strategy in the two-year sector? Our state has by far the the biggest community college system of all 50 states, and the smallest university system. 46
California also has the least expensive community college tuition in the US. The graph below shows that in San Francisco, for-profit ‘colleges’ are seventeen times as expensive as similar programs at City College 47
48 Sen. Tom Harkin completed two 1000-page investigations of the industry “You will find overwhelming documentation of exorbitant tuition, aggressive recruiting practices, abysmal student outcomes, taxpayer dollars spent on marketing and pocketed as profit, and regulatory evasion and manipulation. These practices are not the exception— they are the norm. They are systemic throughout the industry…”
The for-profit colleges have a problem: not only are they extremely expensive, but their outcomes are scandalous The on-line division of the #1 for-profit, University of Phoenix, has a five percent graduation rate. This means that 95% of students end up with nothing but student debt. 72% of for-profits produce graduates who, on average, earn less than a high school dropout who works full time. The for-profit colleges do intense race, class and gender profiling as they target who to suck in. Could someone please remind me why this is legal? 49
Your tax dollars at work…. 96% of students at the for-profit colleges must take out student loans, compared to 13% of public community college students. At the for-profit colleges, pulling down taxpayer dollars is the main activity, with education and student services as a sidelight. According to the Harkin Report: 22% of revenue is spent on marketing, advertising, recruiting 19% on profit Only 17% on instruction. Average CEO pay is 7.3 million annually. 50
With California’s big and affordable community college system, the for-profit colleges and student loan industry cannot grow as explosively as they have in the rest of the US. 51
For-profit colleges in Bay Area have only 3.8% of the two-year “market”—the public sector has the lion’s share, and City College alone has 25.6% Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics
City College was a “Scandinavian- style” college–a polar opposite to the corporate model of ‘college as a business’ By far the highest proportion of full-time teachers of any California community college–71.4% 86% compensation rate for part-time instructors, with benefits and real job security A locally elected Board of Trustees that registered public opinion. A cardinal sin: the Board called for investigating moving college accounts away from Wells Fargo Bank, because of the bank’s role in 22% of home foreclosures in San Francisco The SF real estate industry, backed by Mayors Feinstein and Agnos, tried four times to win ballot initiatives to take over undeveloped College land—the Reservoir. They were defeated repeatedly by grassroots mobilizations (late 1980s and 90s). City College led statewide advocacy for open access community colleges, against Student “Success” Act The “ungovernable” City College must be brought to heel. A good example must be crushed, sending a warning to other colleges. 53
The results of this schizophrenic accreditation regime? 1. Extreme expansion of for-profit ‘colleges’that have single-digit graduation rates and saddle students with crushing debt. Through a taxpayer-funded federal voucher system, the for-profit colleges run on ever-growing open spigot funding of some 32 billion a year. Aggressive lobbying has removed nearly all regulations. The for-profits are so weakly regulated that the head of the California Student Aid Commission said that we see “…an emerging ‘Wild West’ of higher education – a frontier where anything goes and not much is regulated.” 2. Meanwhile, public California community colleges with affordable tuition and far higher graduation rates are starved, downsized and heavily disrupted by accreditation sanctions, losing 24% of all classes statewide from 2008-2013. 54
Hyper-regulation of pubic colleges, via the ‘two-year rule’ In a parallel universe not far away, in 2008 the US Department of Education amped up the existing hyper-regulation of California community colleges. Despite an already wildly disproportionate sanction rate, the US Department of Education criticized the ACCJC for being “too lenient.” DOE said that the ACCJC had not strictly enough enforced the existing obscure ”two year rule,” under which community colleges were to be given only two years to correct “deficiencies” and come into “full compliance.” The ACCJC consistently cites the two-year rule as their reason for needing to close City College. - Amador & Kinsella, Apr 12, 2014, SF Chronicle 55
56 But who was in charge of the accreditation apparatus in Washington, as accreditation shifted from a culture of peer feedback, to a culture of compliance, punishment, fear and disruption?
VICKIE SCHRAY 57 Long time leader of accreditation rule- making for US DOE, Schray departed after 13 years in January 2012 to become vice president of government and regulatory affairs of Bridgepoint, the nation's second largest for-profit college. Bridgepoint was called by Sen. Harkin “a scam, an absolute scam.” According to the Harkin Report, the estimated compensation for a Bridgepoint VP was 1-3 million annually in 2009. *
SALLY STROUP 58 A lobbyist who ran the Washington office of the University of Phoenix, and a student loan company official, Stroup then became assistant secretary of postsecondary education under Bush, overseeing accreditation and other areas. When Bush left office, he helped her “burrow in” with a newly-established permanent position. In 2006 Stroup left DOE to work as a congressional staffer on accreditation and other areas under John Boehner, speaker of the House and top recipient of campaign contributions from the student loan industry. Here she crafted industry-friendly legislation and regulations to direct the DOE, maintaining close ties with Department staff. Now: Executive vice president of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, the main lobby group of the for-profit colleges
Three-pronged strategy for privatization 59 Developed by investment banker Charles Miller, Microsoft, Lumina and others, through the Spellings Commission on Higher Education (2005-06): 1. High stakes testing scaled up through so-called “No Child Left Behind”--produces a multi-billion dollar testing industry, branded nationalized curriculum (the Common Core), demand for millions of software licenses, tablets and other hardware, competitive teacher evaluation systems, closure of public schools; 2. Student learning outcomes—a corporate system of ‘management by objectives,’ laying the groundwork for standardized testing in colleges although it has no evidence that it improves education. The ACCJC cited “insufficient progress” on SLOs as a top reason for dis-accreditation of City College; 3. The use of “get tough” accreditation as a lever Bush’s education Secretary Margaret Spellings left DOE to run the education arm of the US Chamber of Commerce, the oldest corporate lobby
62 Lee Fang. Graphic: Vidhya Nagarajan for the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute
De-regulation of the for-profit ‘colleges’ In 2008 and 2011, Sen. Tom Harkin issued two volumes of a 2000-page report on the scam nature of the rapidly growing for- profit college industry. The Government Accounting Office issued two similar reports. In 2010, the new Obama administration responded by proposing three new rules to mildly restrict the for-profits. Feeling threatened, the for-profit colleges formed a new Democratic Party-oriented lobby group—the Coalition for Educational Success, coordinated by two hedge fund executives. The lobby group projected a progressive-sounding message: “We serve low income students who have few other options.” They launched a 16-million dollar campaign, hiring 14 lobbyists who are former members of Congress. These lobbyists met more than two dozen times with Arne Duncan and other DOE staff (covered in exhaustive detail in Huffington Post, the NYT and Mettler’s Degrees of Inequality). Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) called it “the most intense lobbying campaign I’ve seen in my 32 years in Washington.” The blitz succeeded. In 2011, Congress voted to drop the new proposed rules, and Arne Duncan issued a closing statement: “As a country, we need this [for profit] sector to succeed.” 63
The Lumina Foundation, largest postsecondary foundation in the US, is a proxy for the Student Loan Marketing Corporation (Sallie Mae) The Student Loan Marketing Corp set up Lumina in 2001 with $700 million. The corporation transferred its CEO and four board members over to run the new Foundation, to establish a positive policy environment for the parent corporation. Two Lumina policies: A. Spearheads the “Big Goal” of 60% of the adult population having a degree or credential by 2025; B. Lumina strongly pushes a 15 unit/semester load on students, making work difficult and student loans necessary A + B = C, millions of new student loans 64
California Business Roundtable – CEOs of the two dozen biggest multi-national corporations – aims to vocationalize post-secondary 65 Powerhouse Sacramento lobbyist and CBR president Bill Hauck co-founded and for seven years chaired the board of the Campaign for College Opportunity, which spearheaded the organizing for the Student “Success” Act of 2012. CBR is a leading advocate against corporate taxation (the crucial revenue stream for all public services), vigorously opposing Prop 30 and reform of Prop 13.
The California Business Roundtable and the Campaign for College Opportunity co-wrote a report that was essentially a work order to the California community colleges and the CSU, from the biggest multi-national corporations: Keeping California’s Edge, 2006 66 If you’re not on this pie chart, you’re on the menu.
The US Business Roundtable: Legalized Tax Fraud A 2015 report by US Senator Bernie Sanders shows that the CBR’s parent organization--the US Business Roundtable--is responsible for 1 trillion of the total 2 trillion dollars in “legalized tax fraud” by US corporations, through tax havens in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and other countries. California Business Roundtable members include: --Chevron Corporation with $31,300,000 (billion) in such tax dodges --Eli Lilly with $23,740,000,000; Wells Fargo. The five big banks—the core of the student loan industry--are heavily involved in this tax evasion. For example Citigroup has 427 tax havens, 43.8 billion in profits held offshore, and would owe 11.7 billion in income taxes Apple and Google use tax dodges in Ireland to pay almost no corporate taxes. Cisco has 56 tax havens and holds $48 billion in profit overseas. 67
It isn’t “those Republicans again”– The privatization strategy is utterly bi- partisan 68 Senator Dianne Feinstein and husband Richard Blum own the 3 rd and 4 th biggest for-profit “colleges:” Career Education Corporation ITT Tech Feinstein/Blum own the largest commercial real estate corporation in the world, CBRE. A leader in stripping out public assets, Blum has the exclusive contract for the sale of 56 main post offices (often sold to his business partners, at fire sale prices) Governor Jerry Brown is married to a top corporate lawyer for KIPP, a major charter school chain Mayor Ed Lee is extremely responsive to the tech industry. Google’s number one advertiser is University of Phoenix
Corporate Democrats: the list goes on… John Burton, chair of the California Democratic Party, is on the board of University of Phoenix Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was an originator of the public school closure strategy in Chicago, working with the Chicago Commercial Club. Ted Mitchell, the current under secretary of US DOE, is a long-term edu-corp investor. James Shelton, the deputy secretary, is a longtime edu-corp investor and founder of a charter school chain. Representative George Miller’s son is a lobbyist for EDMC, a major for-profit “college” owned by major Obama campaign donor, Goldman Sachs. 69
Non-Debate The Democrats and Republicans are now debating whether the for-profit colleges should continue to be able to pull down 90% of their revenue from the taxpayers (the Republican position)… or should it be 85% (the Democratic Party position)? Worldwide, many movements say that profit from the human right to education should be illegal. The Black Agenda Report proposes that zero public dollars should go to the for-profit “colleges,” and that this 30 billion should be directed to community colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Latino-serving colleges and others that truly serve low- income students and students of color. 70
To summarize--what’s the end game of the corporate ed deform coalition? 1) To PRIVATIZE public education by DOWNSIZING public community colleges and EXPANDING for-profit ‘colleges,’ student loans and out-sourcing, using a market model; 2) To EXPAND THE MARKET FOR TECH through a degraded model of on-line instruction and standardized testing; 3) To VOCATIONALIZE the community colleges, externalizing the cost of corporate job training so that the public will bear their costs; 4) To IMPOSE CORPORATE-STYLE TOP-DOWN DECISION-MAKING by sweeping aside structures for public input: eliminate locally elected boards; weaken teacher’s unions through a precarious labor model, charterization, competitive teacher evaluation systems and anti-union laws and regulations; weaken academic senates and eliminate actual shared governance. 5) To take over City College land for real estate development and weaken an anchor for working class and people of color in San Francisco. ASSET STRIPPING AND GENTRIFICATION; 6) To carry out a “revolution of the soul” to create a technically proficient but politically passive workforce, and a population socialized to accept social control, austerity and gross inequality. NARROW THE CURRICULUM, KILL DIVERSITY STUDIES, ARTS, HUMANITIES, CRITICAL THINKING 71
What does this mean for us? We’re up against a long-term strategy by powerful players, so short-term crisis organizing won’t do: We need deep alliance building, long-haul strategy and organization, real leadership development, research and study; We must confront the bi-partisan nature of corporate education deform, and dispel illusions. We can work with the progressive base of the Democratic Party, but we can’t let the top ranks silence us or make us self-censor. We need to build political independence from corporate Democrats. We need to name names. We need to build strong student-community-labor alliances that stay in the streets. 72
Education is a human right! Together, the long-haul Chilean student movement, working with teacher’s unions, the labor movement and international allies: Forced the University of Phoenix to pull out of Chile; Sent a cabinet minister to jail for selling accreditation; Forced two other cabinet members to step down; And are building a strong movement for free public education 73
75 Here, we’re struggling to stop the gentrification of City College and of our city. We’re working hard to recapture and rebuild Our City College, in Our San Francisco—open access, whole, with room for all.
About this slideshow This slideshow was created by the Research Committee serving the struggle to Save City College. It is made up of students, faculty, retirees and staff from City College, SF State, and UC Berkeley, with friends and colleagues at organizations working in low-income communities and communities of color, as well as at several other campuses. This long version is intended mainly for organizers, activists and journalists. While the slideshow comes out of the context of the broad Save City College movement, the opinions in the slideshow do not necessarily reflect those of the Coalition. Please send comments or suggestions to ResComm11@gmail.com. The contact person for the committee is Allan Fisher. To learn more about this analysis, we suggest you read: Pauline Lipman, The New Political Economy of Urban Education: Neoliberalism, Race, and the Right to the City, and Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine 82