Announcing: Alliance of City College Unions (ACCU)

Cook County College Teachers Union, Local 1600, has joined with the other unions who represent employees at the City Colleges to form the Alliance of City College Unions (ACCU).

The new alliance calls for the administration to take immediate steps to preserve City Colleges as an open-enrollment comprehensive community college.

From a recent ACCU petition:

  • Halt the consolidation and relocation of the Child Development program to Truman College
  • Engage in full and open dialogue with faculty, staff, students and the community regarding program consolidation across the seven colleges
  • End the tuition plan that penalizes part-time students
  • Restore last-week student registration
  • Work with advisors to create an advising system that privileges meaningful advisor-student interaction
  • Declare a moratorium on job cuts for front line faculty and staff
  • Cut the bloated administration at district office that does not serve student needs
  • Negotiate in good faith with campus unions, particularly with adjuncts and security personnel who have gone nearly four years without a contract or a salary increase.

City Colleges Faculty Council – Complaint to Higher Learning Commission

Faculty Council of the City Colleges of Chicago, representing the seven independently-accredited City Colleges of Chicago (District 508), submits the following complaint to the Higher Learning Commission directed against District Office.

[Summary below. Read full complaint here.]

Summary of District Office’s violations of Higher Learning Commission policies and standards.

District Office has systematically taken control over all academic planning and decisions concerning the City Colleges of Chicago. This transfer of academic control from the seven colleges to District Office is not legitimate. An institutional change of this magnitude involving a transfer of “substantial academic and operational control” requires prior HLC approval, and none of the City Colleges has sought approval for such a transaction.

City Colleges’ faculty are fully committed to positive and thoughtful change to strengthen all our Colleges’ academic programs and thereby best fulfill our public obligation to City Colleges’ students and communities. We believe, however, that many of the changes enacted by District Office under the “Reinvention” initiative are not in the best interest of our students or our mission, and many District Office decisions are diverting the City Colleges from their primary responsibility to provide education and promote the public good.

As a direct result of this assumption of control, District Office is jeopardizing our colleges’ individual HLC accreditations by disregarding: 1) “assumed practices” considered “foundational” in that they are necessary (though not sufficient) conditions to any granting of HLC accreditation; and 2) expectations embodied in Accreditation Criteria One, Two, and Five.

CCC Puppet Show

From the October 2015 edition of The Herald, Harold Washington College’s student-run newspaper.  The article addresses Rep. Robert Martwick’s (D-Chicago) bill, HB 4312, calling for an elected Board of Trustees for CCC. The associated cartoon lampoons the current power structure at City Colleges.

The Herald Oct 2015 Call to Action_Elected CCC The Herald_CCC Puppets

Labor unions ‘necessary’ 

Through boom and bust, the American worker has been faced by two trends over the past few decades: the percentage of workers that are members of labor unions has decreased and the American middle class has slowly been hollowed out.

According to four researchers – Richard Freeman at the National Bureau of Economic Research, Eunice Han at Wellesley College, and David Madland and Brendan V. Duke at the Center for American Progress – the two trends are closely connected.

“The evidence in this paper shows that parents’ unionism has a significant relationship with their offspring’s well-being,” wrote the researches in a paper from the NBER.The correlation, the study said, could have serious implications in the way that the public thinks about unions.

Source: Labor unions aren’t just helpful – they might be ‘necessary’ | Business Insider India

Fuzzy Math

from the Chicago Sun-Times
City’s ‘fuzzy math’ doesn’t add up


George W. Bush famously accused opponent Al Gore, during one of their campaign 2000 debates, of using “fuzzy math” to burnish his “too-good-to-be-true” tax plan.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and some of his appointees may have been watching, but instead of seeing fuzzy math as a danger, it looks like they took it as a challenge.

Two of the biggest victories touted by Team Emanuel are increases in graduation rates at City Colleges of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools, but recent disclosures raise questions about those numbers.

Crain’s Chicago Business recently reported that City Colleges aggressively embraces the awarding of diplomas to former students who earned enough credits to get a sheepskin but transferred, dropped out or died before receiving one.

In the past two years, 1,413 retroactive diplomas were issued, compared with only 626 in the previous four years.

City Colleges claims retroactivity is being utilized across the country to give credit where credit is due, but considering that most of those credits were earned years ago, it seems disingenuous to count those diplomas in 2014 or 2015.

Bottom line: Of the 1,874 more degrees and certificates awarded by City Colleges in 2014 than in 2013, 653 were retroactive.

City Colleges points out that most, if not all, of the retroactive diplomas are excluded from graduation rate calculations, which are based on narrow federal guidelines.

So they confidently claim the overall graduation rate has doubled from 7 to 14 percent in recent years.

But the big jump is based on the awarding of degrees to only 777 graduates last year, less than one percent of the 119,000 students who take at least one course.

That’s worth bragging about?

Graduation rates at Chicago Public Schools are also suspect. ABGA/WBEZ investigation found thousands of students mislabeled as transfers when they should have been counted as dropouts. After the report, CPS officials revised the graduation rates down a few percentage points.

Schools CEO Forrest Claypool says the district made a statistical error, but it looks more like human error — pressure on principals to ensure their graduations rates look good.

Fuzzy math also applies to the budgets of CPS and City Colleges: Emanuel and his appointed leaders toss out big numbers that don’t hold up under close scrutiny.

CPS claims to have trimmed the administrative bureaucracy by nearly a billion dollars to prevent classroom cuts. But our budget analysis indicates non-classroom spending hasn’t gone down, and Claypool’s administrators have ignored our repeated requests to substantiate their savings claims.

As for City Colleges, the BGA reported last week that its bureaucracy has grown in the past five years, even as enrollment drops and tuition goes up.

City Colleges admits growth in the central office, but claims savings in “back office” functions “freed up $66 million for academic uses.”

But our analysis indicates spending in the colleges is only up by $10 million, or 4 percent, so the $66 million figure is a mystery.

Education’s not the only place where the Emanuel administration’s been accused of fudging the numbers.

Crime stats have also been challenged by, among others, Chicago Magazine.

The problem with fuzzy math is that real people are behind the numbers — people who deserve a city government that confronts reality head-on, not by cooking the books and declaring pyrrhic victories.

Andy Shaw is president and CEO of the Better Government Association.


Follow Andy Shaw on Twitter: @andyshawbga

Elected City Colleges School Board Now

OCTOBER 19, 2015

elected school board flyer image

Local 1600 is pleased to announce Representative Robert Martwick has introduced state legislation for an elected school board for the City Colleges of Chicago!

HB 4312 gives Chicagoans a say in how the City Colleges of Chicago operates! An elected school board at the City Colleges of Chicago would keep the “community” in our community colleges by giving Chicagoans a voice on behalf of students and their community.

Why an elected board?

The board makes decisions that impact the quality of the education we provide, the opportunities available to our students, and our jobs! The community deserves a voice in those critical decisions.

The board determines:

  • Tuition rates and fees
  • Which programs are located at each college
  • Who to hire to run our colleges
  • Educational priorities
  • Financial priorities

Why now?

  • City Colleges of Chicago is the ONLY community college district in Illinois that does not have an elected school board.
  • Chicagoans want democratically elected boards. An overwhelming 87% of voters supported an elected, representative school board for Chicago Public Schools during an advisory referendum that was on the ballots in most Chicago wards in February.

What can you do?

  • Call your house representative and ask them to support HB 4312
  • If your representative sounds supportive, ask them to sign on as a cosponsor of HB 4312
  • Wear your Keep “Community” in our Community Colleges button to show your support!
  • We encourage you to download the Keep “Community” in our Community Colleges image and make it your social media profile picture in support of the blitz

It starts now, by lending your voice to this campaign for a seat at the table!

FC4 Resolution on non-participation in the district’s Placement Solution Team, Oct. 2015

“The Faculty Council of the City Colleges of Chicago Supports the following statement which was unanimously approved by all seven colleges at the English Discipline Meeting on October 9, 2015 and therefore asks that faculty not apply for or join the district’s Placement Solution Team.”

“We oppose a District-run team to select a placement system that would be used at all colleges and campuses.  Because placement, as an assessment, is integral to the academic process and should be under the purview of faculty, we deny the legitimacy of a District-run committee and any decisions imposed.  We propose the organization of an FC4 committee, consisting only of English faculty from each college, to develop a humane placement system that welcomes students to the City Colleges of Chicago in a thoughtful, respectful, and academically and ethically responsible manner.  This system would support each college’s distinct needs and would be developed according to a timetable supportive of student success and learning.”