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OP-ED: Community College Accrediting Commission Has Reputation for Aggressive Behavior

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The Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), under the leadership Dr. Barbara Beno, has draw national attention for its extremely aggressive behavior in its evaluation of community colleges.

In July, the commission decided to withdraw accreditation of the City College of San Francisco, which would force the closure of the institution. The reasons for the ruling were not based on educational issues or financial malfeasance but primarily on the commission’s concerns about the college’s management and structure.

During the year ending June 2012, the commission issued 63 percent of sanctions issued by all accrediting commissions in the country.

Dr. Beno was at one time president of Berkeley City College (then Vista), part of the Peralta Community College District. In the East Bay. In 2006, sanctions against the Peralta District by ACCJC under her leadership were withdrawn after the district threatened to sue.

The ACCJC itself is now under scrutiny because the Department of Education, in response to a complaint filed by the California Federation of Teachers in April, has found fault with how the commission t arrived at its decision to sanction City College.

In a letter received Aug. 14 the Department of Education found that the commission’s evaluation of the college showed conflicts of interest, had insufficient faculty representation and had changed its criteria from “recommendations” to “requirements” between its 2012 and its 2013 termination decision.

The criticism of ACCJC from the federal Department of Education will not affect the decision to close the college, according to Paul Feist, vice chancellor for Communication at the Chancellor’s Office.

It “doesn’t change the sanctions under which the college is living,” said Feist in a telephone interview.

He said the decision to appoint Robert Agrella as super trustee, with “extraordinary” powers to implement change at the

Robert Argella, appointed super trustee

Robert Argella, appointed super trustee at CCSF

college, was necessary because of the timeframe imposed on the college for getting the changes done.

“The decision to appoint the special trustee came about because the college does not have the luxury of time to address deficiencies and meet the standards for accreditation,” he said.

The timeframe, however, was set by the ACCJC. When asked if it was not therefore a product of a flawed process, Feist said that the appointment of the super-trustee was a decision of the Chancellor’s Office, completely separate from the ACCJC decision.

Some time between the arrival of the letter from the Department of Education and Aug. 19, the ACCJC determined that all documents submitted to the commission, including the letter from the Department of Education, were confidential.

However, many copies of the letter have already been distributed.

Helena Worthen and Joe Berry can be reached at Worthenberry@yahoo.com.

 

 

Bay Area

WCCCSB Member Mister Phillips Announces Run for Richmond Mayor

Attorney and West Contra Costa County School Board member Mister Phillips is a fourth-generation Richmond resident and the son of two law enforcement officers, Tommie and Cynthia Phillips. Tommie was a lieutenant at the Richmond Police Department. Cynthia was a deputy at the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office.

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Mister Phillips, a West Contra Costa School Board member, ran unopposed in the last election. Photo by Buddy Terry.
Mister Phillips, a West Contra Costa School Board member, ran unopposed in the last election. Photo by Buddy Terry.

By Shantina Jackson-Romero

Attorney and West Contra Costa County School Board member Mister Phillips has filed initial papers to run for mayor of Richmond, CA, in November.

Phillips said that he is running, because he believes that “the city is heading in the wrong direction.” According to the Bay Area Council, “A record 64 percent of residents say the Bay Area is headed in the wrong direction, a 14-point jump over the previous year and the highest level of dissatisfaction since the poll began in 2014.”

Phillips envisions “a community with clean and safe streets, great schools, livable wages, affordable housing, and quality parks and recreation for all,” according to his website.

Phillips is a fourth-generation Richmond resident and the son of two law enforcement officers, Tommie and Cynthia Phillips. Tommie was a lieutenant at the Richmond Police Department. Cynthia was a deputy at the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office.

Phillips, age 44, is a two-term member of the West Contra Costa County School Board and a three-term member of the Democratic Party County Central Committee. A former Naval Reserve officer, Phillips has been an attorney for 19 years and been in business for 17 years. He has been married to Angela Phillips, since 2010. They have four children. For more information, visit www.misterphillips.com.

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Activism

‘Birding While Black’ Incident in N.Y.’s Central Park Brings Black Bird Wildlife Enthusiasts Out of Shadows

“For far too long, Black people in the United States have been shown that outdoor exploration activities are not for us,” Corina Newsome, who studies Seaside Sparrows, said in a video posted on Twitter. “Whether it be the way the media chooses to present who is the ‘outdoorsy’ type, or the racism Black people experience when we do explore the outdoors, as we saw recently in Central Park. Well, we’ve decided to change that narrative.”

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The organizers of Black Birders Week 2021. Photos from top, column 1: Georgia Silvera Seamans; Kellie Quiñones; Chris Cooper. 2: Ronnie Almonte; Deja Perkins; Ela-Sita Carpenter; Chelsea Connor. 3: Danielle Belleny; Tyler Jones; Yesenia Arroyo. 4: Earyn McGee; Akilah Lewis; Dara Wilson; Brianna Amingwa. 5: Sheridan Alford; Joseph Saunders. 6: Ayanna Browne; Rhamier Shaka Balagoon; Nicole Jackson
The organizers of Black Birders Week 2021. Photos from top, column 1: Georgia Silvera Seamans; Kellie Quiñones; Chris Cooper. 2: Ronnie Almonte; Deja Perkins; Ela-Sita Carpenter; Chelsea Connor. 3: Danielle Belleny; Tyler Jones; Yesenia Arroyo. 4: Earyn McGee; Akilah Lewis; Dara Wilson; Brianna Amingwa. 5: Sheridan Alford; Joseph Saunders. 6: Ayanna Browne; Rhamier Shaka Balagoon; Nicole Jackson

By Tamara Shiloh

Birdwatching is the observation of live birds in their natural habitat.

It’s a popular pastime and scientific sport developed almost entirely in the 20th century and made possible largely by the development of optical aids, particularly binoculars, which enabled people to see and study wild birds, without harming them, according to Britannica.

Many typically think of birding as a homogenous hobby, thus hearing the word “birdwatcher” rarely evokes images of Blacks enjoying the outdoors.

“For far too long, Black people in the United States have been shown that outdoor exploration activities are not for us,” Corina Newsome, who studies Seaside Sparrows, said in a video posted on Twitter. “Whether it be the way the media chooses to present who is the ‘outdoorsy’ type, or the racism Black people experience when we do explore the outdoors, as we saw recently in Central Park. Well, we’ve decided to change that narrative.”

In 2020, Newsome, along with a group of Black birders comprised of scientists, nature lovers, and friends came together to organize the first annual Black Birders Week, a social media celebration hosted by the Black AF In STEM Collective.

The birders group served as a springboard to shape a more diverse future for birding, conservation, and the natural sciences.

The third annual Black Birders Week ran from May 29-June 4 this year, according to https://www.blackafinstem.com, with the theme ‘Soaring to Greater Heights.”

Goals set for the Black Birders Week and the Twitter group are to:

  • Counter the narrative that outdoors is not the place for Black people;
  • Educate the birding and broader outdoor-loving community about the challenges Black birders specifically face; and
  • Encourage increased diversity in birding and conservation.

According to Newsome, Black birders encounter “overt hatred and racism in the field and are too often the only Black person, or person of color, in a group of bird or nature enthusiasts.”

Its formation came on the heels of the May 25, 2020, incident in New York City’s Central Park when Amy Cooper, later dubbed “Central Park Karen,” claimed she exhausted “all options” before she called 911 on Christian Cooper (no relation), a Black birdwatcher.

Christian Cooper has been an avid birdwatcher since age 10 and will soon host his own show, “Extraordinary Birder,” on National Geographic, according to NPR. He will take viewers into the “wild, wonderful and unpredictable world of birds.”

Cooper told the New York Times that he loves “spreading the gospel of birding. [I’m looking forward to encouraging people] to stop and watch and listen and really start appreciating the absolutely spectacular creatures that we have among us.”

Black Birders Week co-organizer Earyn McGee conducts research near the US-Mexico border. Her concern is encountering U.S. Border Patrol officers while searching for lizards.

“We all have this shared experience where we have to worry about going into the field,” McGee said. “Prejudice might drive police or private property owners to be suspicious of or antagonistic toward Black scientists doing field work in normal clothes, putting them in danger.”

To learn more about the study of birding, read John C. Robinson’s “Birding for Everyone: Encouraging People of Color to Become Birdwatchers.”

Image: https://www.birds.cornell.edu/landtrust/black-birders-week/

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Barbara Lee

IN MEMORIAM: Dr. Ruth Love, 90

Love’s interest in becoming a teacher began at an early age. She wanted to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, Andrew A. Williams, who was a runaway slave at age twelve, and a teacher who founded the first school for African Americans in Lawton, Oklahoma. 

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Dr. Ruth Burnet Love was born, on April 22, 1932, in Lawton, Okla., and passed away on June 2, 2022, in Oakland.
Dr. Ruth Burnet Love was born, on April 22, 1932, in Lawton, Okla., and passed away on June 2, 2022, in Oakland.

By Dr. Martha C. Taylor

Ruth Burnet Love was born, on April 22, 1932, in Lawton, Okla., and passed away on June 2, 2022, in Oakland. As I reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Ruth Love, her achievements, aptitude, and character, she cast a wide shadow that not only touched the lives of young people, she helped to shape them into achievers of excellency.

Dr. Love, the widely admired educator, lived a long life filled with quality for self and others. Love says life is a gift. “We all have an awesome responsibility not to waste time.”

She gave the highest and best we can give to life; the gift of self.

Dr. Love was the second of five children born to Alvin E. and Burnett C. Love, who migrated to Bakersfield, California during the 1940s. Love graduated from Bakersfield High School in 1950.

Love attended San Jose State University and received her Bachelor’s Degree in education in1954.In 1959 she received her Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling from San Francisco State University. In 1970, Love received her Ph.D. in Human Behavior and Psychology from the United States International University, San Diego.

Love’s interest in becoming a teacher began at an early age. She wanted to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, Andrew A. Williams, who was a runaway slave at age twelve, and a teacher who founded the first school for African Americans in Lawton, Oklahoma.

In 1960 Dr. Love began her career in education as an adult education teacher with the Oakland Unified School District. Love became an exchange teacher sent to England in 1961. She also was a professor of education at San Francisco State University. Love was a counselor and consultant for a Ford Foundation project. She became a Fulbright Exchange Educator; participating in educational experiences in Ghana and England.

Dr. Love was a fierce advocate for underprivileged children during her career with Oakland Unified Schools District. She was appointed to several different positions as a consultant to the Bureau of Pupil Personnel Services and as Director of the Bureau of Compensatory Education from 1963 to 1965.

Love also served on the United States President’s Mental Health Commission and Board of Directors for the National Urban League from December 1962 until 1970. In August 1971, Love was chosen as Director of The Right to Read program with the U.S. Office of Health and Education in Washington, D.C. Following the assassination of Dr. Marcus Foster, the first African American Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District, Dr. Love was appointed Superintendent from November 1975 until February 1981. Two of Love’s programs “Scholars and Artists” and “Face the Students” brought renowned achievers such as Alex Haley, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, as well as Coretta Scott King to motivate and inform students.

Dr. Allie Whitehurst, an academic scholar worked with Dr. Love. She said Dr. Love provided the resources for teachers to continue their professional development to improve their teaching skills.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee honored Dr. Love, on April 23, 2015, in the House of Representatives. Lee saluted Dr. Love for a lifetime of service, “I will always remember the love, kindness, and caregiving Dr. Love provided her mother in spite of her busy schedule. She was an inspiration to me as I had the honor to care for my late mother in her golden years.”

Dr. Love continued her journey in higher academics and was appointed the first African American to serve as Superintendent for the Chicago Public Schools District from March 1981 until March 1985. In 1984 Dr. Love received an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Atlanta University.

Love created and implemented the “Chicago Mastery Learning Program” during the 1981–82 school year. The program made it mandatory that all elementary school students’ reading and math courses be taught in more than one area, with students given an unlimited time to learn one area of the subject, and achieving eighty-five percent to be promoted to the next grade. Her proudest accomplishment was when the students reached the national norms on standardized tests.

In 1983, Love received the Horatio Alger Award and a Candace Award for Education from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. She was named as one of 100 of the best school managers in North America by Educator Magazine in 1984.

The memory of the just is blessed…their works do follow them. Dr. Love left a memory that cannot be erased.

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