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Just How Is CCSF Doing Anyway?

With all eyes on City Attorney Dennis Herrera's legal manuevers, is the more important question whether the college is improving?

Today, City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed two legal actions to block the revocation of CCSF's accreditation by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. In one lawsuit, Herrara accused the Commission of conflicts of interest, improper evaulation procedures, and, "allowed its political advocacy to color public responsibilities it should frankly never have been given," according to the Chronicle. In a separate legal action, Herrera alleged that the State Board of Governors had incorrectly relinquished its authority over CCSF in favor of the Commission, a private entity. Herrera's move comes soon after the Department of Education upheld a complaint of numerous problems with the manner in which the Commission had evaluated CCSF.

Herrera's move drew support from across the city's political establishment today, including Supervisor Scott Wiener, who told us tha "The process around the revocation of City College's accreditation has been outrageous and defective [...] We all need to work hard to oppose this attempt to destroy such a critical institution.”

But missing from the discussion of the lawsuit—which is based on the process by which the Commission operated—is the quieter story about how CCSF has been moving to adopt the Commission's recommendations.

That's been the tactic taken by special trustee Robert Agrella, who filed an appeal on Monday asking for more time to meet the Commission's requirements. Agrella sounded conciliatory notes, writing, "I strongly believe that the best path to maintaining CCSF’s accreditation is to follow the Commission’s rules, regulations, and directions and to continue to show substantial progress toward meeting the eligibility requirements and standards.”

And just how much headway has CCSF made? According to their internal metrics, which divide the recommendations into 28 categories, the college has come into full compliance in two policy areas—the evaluation of student support services and creation of internal financial controls—and partial compliance in eleven others. That leaves plenty of ground to be made up—the college doesn't plan to meet all those goals until January 1st of 2015/