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The only thing we can be sure of right now is that everything is uncertain

By Sara Bloomberg
The Guardsman

Romney keeps shooting himself in the foot, which leads me to believe and hope that Obama will get elected to another term in November—despite the failings of the Democrats, the thought of a Republican in the White House scares me.

But the election isn’t over yet and a victory for Obama, even in a Blue state such as ours, shouldn’t be taken for granted. Remember 1992? Clinton was a long shot and he won. Not to mention Gore v. Bush in 2000. Yes, that was Florida but what’s stopping election fraud from happening in any other state?

Hanging chads and malfunctioning electronic voting machines have impeded electoral integrity since at least 2000.Now new voter ID laws have been springing up across the nation. How many people could become disenfranchised because they are no longer “in the system”?

A Wisconsin judge overturned on Sept. 14 Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-union legislation, just as it looked like the Chicago Teacher’s Union strike was nearing an end.

But as this publication went to press, the Chicago teachers have declared the strike back on.

The struggle to preserve public education isn’t over.

Preserve isn’t even the right word. Resuscitate is more accurate because it’s on the brink of asphyxiating—in California at the very least.

City College is proof.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges slammed the school in July for administrative and fiscal mismanagement without so much as a warning. Six years ago, the commission gave the school two thumbs up.

In an op/ed published by the SF Chronicle on Sept. 14, former Deputy Under Secretary of Education Robert Shireman blamed what he considers to be City College’s impending doom on the system of shared governance used at community colleges statewide.

He blithely predicts the school’s closure next semester—a call that is wildly off target.

Even if the commission revokes the school’s accreditation this spring, classes will continue through the semester uninterrupted, all credits earned will remain accredited and an appeal of the decision will most definitely take place.

During the appeals process, the school would remain open and accredited. Now, the real problem here is that the fear of potential closure would very likely scare students away from enrolling. It happened to Compton in 2006.

Less students enrolled means less financial reimbursements from the state, which complicates an already precarious fiscal situation.

And that’s really the bottom line.

City College wouldn’t be fighting for its life right now if the state fully funded public education.

Yes, administrators drained the school’s financial reserves nearly to the point of bankruptcy but they chose to do that to save classes and jobs—for students, instructors and workers!

What’s the point of having a “reserve” if you can’t use it?

Private schools like Stanford have endowments that regenerate themselves. Public schools don’t. The only way they stay funded is through the state and federal governments.

In a controversial vote on Sept. 11, City College’s Board of Trustees approved inviting a special trustee to the college to help guide them through the accreditation process.

Special trustees are called into community colleges only during periods of fiscal insolvency.

The quality of instruction at City College isn’t in question. While there are certainly other problems that need to be addressed, at the end of the day it’s all about the Benjamins.

I’m certain that City College won’t close—not this spring, nor anytime soon.

But what remains uncertain is whether Prop 30 and Prop A will pass in November—the school needs the revenue from both to prevent even more cuts.

There will be scars from this battle that will last for years, possibly decades, but City College will heal and eventually public education will be viewed, once again, as an essential part of a thriving economy, as well as a human right.

As a side note, Occupy celebrates its one year anniversary this week.

The tangible effects of the movement might be difficult to see right now—it may very well take years to achieve the equity and social justice that underlies the movement’s seemingly fragmented demands—but sustainable change begins at a grassroots level.

As our national consciousness evolves around issues of poverty and wealth, maybe the future will become more certain.

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