picture of James Merisotis the head of the Lumina Foundation, kitchen cabinet for the Obama Department of Education
Anyone who has been following the devastation of higher education in favor of Wall Street predation is aware of the situation at City College San Francisco where the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) refused to re-accredit the college. You can read more here: (http://stuartbramhall.aegauthorblogs.com/2013/04/06/time-to-stop-community-college-privatization/) (http://www.dailycensored.com/lumina-foundation-brice-harris-city-college-san-francisco-privatization-higher-education/).
The attack on City College of San Francisco (CCSF) was planned in the back rooms of Wall Street with the help of billionaire plutocrats posing as philanthropists and their coin operated subservient politicians.
Now, student enrollment is down at the college, which is what the privatizers wanted. The college is also embroiled in a court case over the actions of the renegade (ACCJC) and their minion, Barbara Beno and her sordid friends.
Privatized Functionalism and a world without teachers
The college is pegged to be privatized by allowing the for-profit scourge that is the for-profit college and university system to bivouac on the campus under the guise of ‘access’. In fact, the for-profit college criminal cartel is rubbing their greasy hands and smacking their waxy lips in anticipation of more students who are now looking for seats so they might receive a ‘diploma’ and then a ‘job’. One, we are told, leads to another.
So education itself has been driven right down the whole of functionalism which under capitalism is its role. This and the assurance that ‘school’ becomes little more than a propaganda mechanism where critical literacy is scorned and education is boiled down to a sickening roux. This way, with no real education, students and faculty will accept their servitude.
Yet, in light of all of this, the special trustee who runs City College of San Francisco abruptly withdrew a proposed 19.3 percent raise for administrators that he recently proposed. This hasty retreat came after an outcry from faculty members whose salaries have just been cut by 4 percent.
If the item had been approved, vice chancellors and associate vice chancellors already earning between $104,000 and $183,000 would have received raises increasing the pay range to between $124,000 and $219,000 (http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Troubled-CCSF-backs-off-big-administrator-raises-5173287.php).
To begin with, the fact that these mercenaries for the privatizers, like the Special Trustee who works hand in hand with the Lumina Foundation to assure that CCSF will never get back on its feet unless the college capitulates to the demands of the corporate run educational privatizers could even advance such a notion is unbelievable. But alas, it is true and for many reasons, not being the least, the horrible disorganization and actions of the teacher unions.
Acting Chancellor Thelma Scott-Skillman and Special $1,000-a-day Trustee Bob Agrella (a Lumina Foundation made-man) were hired, using public funds, surreptitiously by the Lumina Foundation to unilaterally alter the institutional structure of San Francisco City College. It says it is doing this in the name of “productivity”.
This is the Lumina Foundation’s sophistic and Wall Street minted rhetoric for producing more work-ready college graduates in less time and with cheaper labor costs (http://www.dailycensored.com/fools-rush-in-where-wise-men-never-go-sfcc-and-the-destruction-of-the-public-commons/). The problem is, there is no work and the administrators and privatizers know this.
Lumina ‘Bob lies: administrative costs are rising all over the country
Lumina ‘Bob’ Agrella fatuously stated the item had been placed on the agenda erroneously by an employee and was “not appropriate.” Agrella winced and said the agenda item was supposed to say only those administrators’ salaries could be “independently adjusted according to market conditions.” The college is trying to attract new people, he stated, many of whom may be earning more than market rate in their current jobs.
Sure, you tell ‘em, Bob. We know who you really work for and taxpayers should be up in arms with the obscene salaries Agrella is receiving (and this does not include expenses) as well as his mendacious characterizing of the ‘agendized’ administrator raises’. Basically: Lumina Bob lied, which is what taxpayers pay him to do.
The agendized pay increases for administrators comes on the heels of a devastating financial report last summer revealing that money management at City College was rife with problems ranging from payroll headaches to infighting to poorly trained staff (http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Troubled-CCSF-backs-off-big-administrator-raises-5173287.php). So how can raising administrator pay staunch the financial bleeding? It can’t. What is needed is to end the hiring of administrators and reduce those that exist. It is administrative costs that are eating financial budgets and Argella and Skillman know it.
The fact is in the entire US educational administrative costs are eating higher educational budgets at alarming speeds while classes are cut and instruction is placed low on the list of priorities.
The Washington Monthly noted in 2011:
“One thing that has changed, dramatically, is the administrator-per-student ratio. In 1975, colleges employed one administrator for every eighty-four students and one professional staffer—admissions officers, information technology specialists, and the like—for every fifty students. By 2005, the administrator-to-student ratio had dropped to one administrator for every sixty-eight students while the ratio of professional staffers had dropped to one for every twenty-one students.
Apparently, as colleges and universities have had more money to spend, they have not chosen to spend it on expanding their instructional resources—that is, on paying faculty. They have chosen, instead, to enhance their administrative and staff resources. A comprehensive study published by the Delta Cost Project in 2010 reported that between 1998 and 2008, America’s private colleges increased spending on instruction by 22 percent while increasing spending on administration and staff support by 36 percent” (http://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/septemberoctober_2011/features/administrators_ate_my_tuition031641.php).
Agrella knows this. He also knows that his paymasters, Lumina and friends, need high paid administrators to institute their Shock Doctrine of Austerity and assure that colleges and universities are ‘turned around’ to serve the interest of the new curriculum of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine (STEM) (http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2013/05/navy-steals-militarys-new-interest-in.html). (http://www.dailycensored.com/obamas-2020-plan-for-higher-education-the-lumina-foundation-and-the-new-21st-century-social-darwin-movement/).
More than this, Lumina Bob knows that teachers are not needed anymore as Massive Open Online Classes and adjunct faculty can do the Wal-Mart work required for the new mis-education of students.
Where are the unions and why protests are not enough
Faculty members at CCSF were furious and held a protest last week in front of the administration building at 50 Phelan Ave, San Francisco.
“The only word that comes to mind is outrageous,” said Alisa Messer, president of the American 2121, representing college faculty. “There is nothing just, fair or reasonable about a nearly 20 percent raise for our top salary earners when faculty have suffered huge financial losses
In fact, the coup d’état that was planned and executed against CCSF last summer allowed the other bought and paid for agency, the state Board of Governors for community colleges to oust seven elected members of the Board of Trustees and replace them with Lumina ‘Bob’ Agrella, who was told to make unilateral decisions that might hasten the college’s ability to comply with accrediting standards — standards hatched by Lumina.
Yes, that’s right: unilateral decisions. No place for democracy in the new higher education agenda put forth by reactionaries like Gates, Lumina and the rest of the so-called philanthropists who simply smash and grab what they want with little interest in the people their rhetoric is designed to serve. They are truly the enemy of the people and the public commons.
Critics of California’s accreditation process have not forgotten what has happened to them and they will not forget. But protests are not enough. Mobilized direct action like that which occurred in Chile must be the path taken.
Yet one of those critics, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, said shortly after the protest last week that he’ll introduce a bill that would restrict the ability of state officials to strip elected officials of power.
Ammiano said the Board of Governors had relied on a vague state law, Education Code 70901, to oust the trustees that simply gives the state the ability to “provide assistance when districts encounter severe management difficulties” (http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Troubled-CCSF-backs-off-big-administrator-raises-5173287.php).
The whole situation at CCSF and in higher education itself is ghastly and all the cards are on the table now. The vicious assault on the campus, its workers, faculty and students is clear and transparent.
What is not clear is why union members allow this to happen. Why are they not pushing back in strength, like say in Chile or in Ecuador where presidential races (Chile) hang on the issue of stopping the privatization of education? (http://www.dailycensored.com/learning-fight-tyranny-neo-liberal-education-chile-ecuador/). Why are they not aligning themselves in solidarity with private unions? Why is there an overpaid union executive and a low paid dues paying membership? What happened to the progressive days of unions going on strike or door to door to plead their case to the public and fight for the public commons? Why are unions now little more than hollow shells of their past, writing letters and throwing protests when they should be in the streets? And why are union pensions being invested in for-profit college and university stocks, thereby further undermining the public commons and the unions themselves? (http://www.dailycensored.com/corinthian-college-criminal-enterprise-teacher-pension-funds-buying-stoc/).
In short, why are they not fighting the system of economics called ‘capitalism’ for it is this system that allows for the public subsidies that are forked over to the capitalists in their quest for socialism for the rich!
Occupy Bob weighs in with some thoughts on this. Bob was a committed fighter to save CCSF. He knows firsthand what is happening and we are proud to offer his thoughts.
From Occupy Bob:
There are many corporate coups happening with more frequency throughout our country, throughout our world. What has happened at CCSF is just one of them. And this last slap in the face to our Commons, the thieves tried to give themselves a 19% plus pay raise, but fortunately were publicly shamed into crawling back into their snake pits.
And as Steve Brown pointed out, they tried to blame it on an error by the “serfs”, that would be us. Sixty percent of the teachers failed to show up to even vote on an issue of their own salaries because they’ve given up caring. This is how the 1% succeeds. Steven’s right. They will be back. They will clothe it in silk, with teflon ribbons, and deliver it for approval on the last day and the last hour before a long holiday. But they will get their raises…unless as Mia points out, the message gets shouted out throughout this city.
I suggest we begin enlightening the comatose faculty that don’t possess the balls and ovaries to walk into a room and pull a lever while throughout this world there are people dying in the streets to possess the freedoms we are known for having, but are increasingly, incrementally losing as the corporate coups win out.
If the union didn’t have the backing in numbers of its own members to push back against the corporate forces that bludgeoned them, raped them, and then tried to rub their faces in their own excrement, then they at least got a not so subtle picture of what to expect in the future. And so better start awakening the anemic academics among themselves because the only thing that is going to work next time is a STRIKE. And the union will have no excuse as to what hit them and why…nor who they had to reach out to for strength in numbers rather than think a couple of union leaders could play successful politics with the Mafia scarfaces all the way back to the Department of Education in Washington where the corporate coup originated, right back to the doorstep of the president with the always affable Pepsodent, Howdy Doody smile.
__Bob of Occupy
The following is being added as it just came in from the front lines. What excuses can there be now for not mobilizing and taking direct action? Time to expropriate the expropriators!
http://www.saveccsf.org/ for more information as to how you can get involved to stop the Wall Street goons and corporate raiders from destroying CCSF.