2012-10-27 08:00:00

Educating San Franciscans for Over 75 Years

As the largest community college in California, City College of San Francisco (CCSF) serves almost 100,000 students annually and is our own local resource and treasure. As a native San Franciscan and CCSF faculty member, I have witnessed the daily transformations that have taken place at the college.

Some of the transformations have been, in fact, miracles: a former foster youth who becomes the valedictorian speaker at graduation, a former prison inmate who transfers from CCSF to UC Davis seeking a law degree, a wounded veteran who leaves CCSF with a dream of a medical degree and a 4.0 GPA, a disconnected high school student who transfers from CCSF to SFSU with the goal of becoming a teacher in his own neighborhood elementary school. The stories and the miracles go on and on.

CCSF is a place where dreams are realized. It is likely that your neighbor, your daughter, your uncle or your co-worker has enrolled in our classes. It is probable that the police officer, the firefighter, the teacher, the nurse, the corporate executive, the chef, the gardener and the bank teller at your local financial institution found their career at CCSF.

Our doors have remained open to serve San Franciscans. We teach new immigrants English. We breathe deeply and smile wisely when the new crop of high school graduates from SFUSD and other local high schools arrive each year and remind us of what we don't know -- we help career changers develop new skills and we daily open our doors to students that simply want to learn.

We are also in the midst of a fiscal and organizational crisis. We have tried to continue to serve our community in the face of crippling budget cuts and reductions. We have tried to continue to serve San Francisco with fewer resources.

We have made some mistakes and some flawed administrative decisions. But we have a long history in San Francisco and we know we have many supporters. We know that we have transformed lives and empowered individuals. We know that we have leveled the field and have been part of social justice in action.

And now we need your help. We have been there for you and now we need you. Help us. Vote for Prop A on the local ballot and Prop 30 on the statewide ballot this November.

Come and take a class with us in the spring semester. Send your high school graduate to us. If we helped you or played a role in your educational journey, tell your story. If you work in San Francisco, ask your employer to support training and education for your co-workers. Help us to regain our strength. Help us to continue to serve San Francisco for another 75 years.

We are not glamorous, we are not selective and we are not exclusive. We belong to you and we are a college for the community, your community. We are San Francisco's community college and we know we can depend on you.

Kathleen White is department chair of Child Development and Family Studies at City College of San Francisco.

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