CCSF teachers recruit students from BART/Muni stations

City College instructors work Powell Street station seeking new students.
Joe Fitzgerald

Walking through the Powell BART and Muni station, commuters are used to hearing the cries of a melange of musicians, crazies, and those with something to sell. Today and tomorrow though, commuters will hear something entirely different, as teachers cry “Enroll at City College! Enroll now!” through transit stations across San Francisco.

Teachers and faculty from the equally bedeviled and beloved school, City College of San Francisco, are out in force with flyers and laptops trying to shore up an enrollment deficit of 3,000 students. Today they’re at the Powell, Montgomery, and Embarcadero stations, handing out flyers and enrolling potential students on their laptops. Tomorrow, they’ll be at Civic Center, Mission, and Balboa street Muni and Bart stations doing the same.

The lack of student enrollment would deprive the school of $6.5 million dollars in state funding, which the school has responded to by cutting faculty and administrative salaries by 8.8 percent, and electing not to rehire, essentially letting go, 30-40 part time teachers, 18 part time counselors, and 30 clerical staff.

It's no wonder these teachers are out on foot, enrolling as many folks as they can -- and they say they’ve met with some success.

“I’ve been surprised how receptive people have been,” said Lizzie Brock, a basic skills English teacher at the college. Brock was on her feet handing out flyers for four hours, despite being about six months pregnant with her second child. “It’s a labor of love,” she said.

Though Brock only recently became a tenured teacher at the college, having taught there full-time for six years, she can’t afford to live in San Francisco on her salary from CCSF. She lives in Pacifica, commuting to the city to teach her classes.

Thomas Blair, a foreign language department head at CCSF who also teaches French, organized the two days of outreach. An older gentleman with snowy, neatly combed hair, and a kindly manner, he’s the last person you’d expect to sound the trumpets and gather 90 or so teachers to hit the pavement.

His passion for the college lies in these simple facts: he’s taught there for more than 30 years, and as a department head, he has a responsibility to all of the foreign language teachers at the college, and the thousands of students who open themselves to learning how to communicate with the world.

“I brought the table on the K with me all the way from Ocean Avenue,” Blair said. He thinks he has a pretty good chance of signing up new students from commuters, because those in the 30-55-year-old crowd are often the ones taking new languages at City College, he said. “The office workers are a very good segment for us now,” he said.

Guillermo Romero, a blueprint reading instructor at CCSF, was also there handing out flyers. Streams of people flew past Romero, but he was undeterred. Romero is confident that his classes will meet enrollment, simply because of his philosophy in teaching his class, he said.

Disfrutando euseñando, disfrutando aprendieindo,” Romero said. If you enjoy teaching, they’ll enjoy learning -- and hopefully be back for more.


in your vaunted crime statistics. And behavior like yours is common.

We are all criminals.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 11, 2013 @ 10:40 am

not hire hard-working immigrants just because you think they might be illegals. Especially if you make that judgment based on their appearance.

In fact, it is a crime - racial discrimination.

Posted by anon on Jan. 11, 2013 @ 10:56 am

responsibility for your comments and are you are also speaking for someone else? You weren't hiring a contractor with employees, you were hiring the employees directly so you are responsible for checking immigration status, carrying workers comp insurance, paying FICA and payroll taxes, etc.

If I were to hire a contractor, I would make sure he complied with all legal requirements (bonding, insurance, licensing, etc.) You either got lucky no one got hurt and/or were confident the laws wouldn't apply to you because you were exploiting your employees' vulnerabilites. A modern day wage slaver.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 11, 2013 @ 8:44 am

are you saying that you first check his immigration status? Are you serious? Or only if he looks hispanic or has a foreign accent? That's insulting and discriminatory.

So if I hire a plumber that looks "obviously American" then it's all good? But a day laborer on Army Street should be scrutized for health and immigration issues?

Again, self-employed contractors are responsible for their own paperwork, insurance and of course for paying their own SSI and tax. That is not the problem of the casual hirer of them - only of the permenant employer of them.

That is why so many businesses hire temporary labor - to avoid the bureaucracy.

Posted by anon on Jan. 11, 2013 @ 8:55 am

to fix problems in our apartment. But yes, if I were to hire a plumber (say from the yellow pages), I would inquire that she was in full compliance with the required labor laws and protections.

Second, if you hire temporary workers from an employment agency or the day laborer hiring hall on Cesar Chavez, those organizations should be following the appropriate labor laws.

However, you are hiring workers off the street. Those workers have no permanent employer. You are their employer, however temporary it may be, and you must follow the appropriate labor and tax laws.

Next, you are contemptible in your weak attempt to turn this issue around by accusing me of some sort of racism.

I support the efforts of day laborers to try to make a living here as economic refugees in an hostile land. You have many more options and choices than they do, yet you choose the most illegal and exploitative one. What does that say about your character?

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 11, 2013 @ 9:10 am

Would it be better to leave them on the street earning nothing? The fact they compete with each other to be hired when I pull up in my truck should tell you that they want my business and appreciate my custom.

And, again, the employment regulations only apply to an employer. when you call out a plumber to fix your toilet, you are not entering into an employment contract with them. They are self-employed, and so the taxes and requirements are self-provided.

Oh, and here's a clue. If you ask someone whether they are breaking the law, they will always say "NO", regardless of whether they are or not.

Posted by anon on Jan. 11, 2013 @ 10:48 am

you want, but to portray yourself as some sort of humanitarian is laughable.

By the way, your first two paragraphs contradict each other. You admit to hiring people off the street, then you inaccurately portray your employees as licensed contractors homeowners might hire to fix plumbing problems.

Stick to undertipping food service workers. You are better at that than you are at discussing issues here.

Posted by Eddie on Jan. 11, 2013 @ 10:58 am

CCSF is the only wheel chair accessible community college that offers the classes I need to keep my teaching credential current. Many other students are in a similar situation. I'm glad that they are trying to keep it open, as it benefits so many people who would otherwise not get an education at all. It is also the only school that offers second chance programs for students who would otherwise be out of work and on welfare. And everyone who is complaining about the college now would be complaining about that. Oh and it is the only Community college with a compact with my tribe.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2013 @ 10:50 am