September/ October 2013 America’s Worst Community Colleges

The San Francisco Bay Area’s economy may be high tech, but its community colleges are the bottom of the barrel.

By Haley Sweetland Edwards

After all, if San Francisco City College fails, SoMa, that gritty-yet-swanky hub of innovation, will in all likelihood continue to grow richer. Rents will probably continue to skyrocket, and more and more Teslas will still need to be parallel parked. But the working-class people who’ve staked their aspirations on a credential or an associate’s degree, or on transferring to another institution to pursue an even higher rung of higher ed—the only real avenue to the middle class these days—will be trapped. If there’s a silver lining to City College failing, it’s that maybe it will draw more attention to the fact that many community colleges, not only in San Francisco, the Bay Area, or California, but in the country at large, are failing many of the working-class students who need them most.

Image credit: Steve Rhodes

Haley Sweetland Edwards is an editor of the Washington Monthly.


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