CCSF’s New Mission Opens Path to Equity

Last week CCSF’s Board of Trustees approved a new mission statement that pledges to  “enhance student success and close equity achievement gaps” at the college. Adding words like “equity” and “achievement gaps” might not seem like a big change, but just three years ago there was a huge internal fight over whether achievement gaps existed at the college and what we would do about them.

A little history: in April 2009, the Board unanimously approved the Student Achievement Gap and Social Equity Resolution. That resolution asked the college to produce student success data disaggregated by ethnicity, gender, and other aspects of identity. In response, the CCSF Chancellor’s office produced the Student Equity Report – October 2009, establishing that achievement gaps existed at the college. Specifically:

At City College of San Francisco, students that identify as African American, Native American, Filipino, Latino, Pacific Islander, and South East Asian are 10-20% more likely to say their educational goal is completing a 2- or 4-year degree than their Asian and White counterparts. Yet, these same groups graduate and transfer at rates that are 19-21% lower, even six years after the students begin their career at CCSF.

As a result of these findings, members of the Board of Trustees initiated a series of student equity hearings in spring 2010 – an historic opportunity for students to speak out about their experiences at the college and the challenges they face. Based on that testimony, a series of reforms to curriculum, registration priority, student hiring for on-campus jobs, and more were initiated. The reforms have been very successful (see reports on that work by clicking here) and they are still expanding in scope to reach more students.

In this context, adding “equity” and “achievement gaps” to the college’s mission statement is both historic and part of a trend toward recognizing and addressing the issues. And, while some see the recent changes to the mission statement as shrinking who the college serves, by committing to closing achievement gaps the college will more effectively serve many that we have historically let in the door, but ultimately failed – literally and figuratively.

City College has made a difference in the lives of thousands of San Franciscans and others from the greater Bay Area, but thousands of others haven’t reached their goals. This new mission statement is a step toward ensuring the success of every student who enter its doors.

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