We Won the Support of the CCSF Board of Trustees, but Cantonese Classes Have Not Been Saved … Yet

· CCSF

On January 13th, more than 40 members of our community showed up for public comments on CCSF Board of Trustee Alan Wong’s Resolution: "Supporting the Establishment of Higher Education Cantonese Programs". Community members at the board meeting, including social service workers, local San Francisco residents, and current CCSF Cantonese students, shared compelling testimony urging the Board to pass the resolution. (Click here for a full video of the public testimonies.)

The Board voted unanimously in favor of the resolution–an outcome we worked hard for. Our efforts were covered by 48 Hills, AsAmNews, KTSF, NextShark, and SF Examiner. While this is cause for joy, we want to clarify some misperceptions in news media coverage about the real-world impact of the Board’s decision. While the Board of Trustees has voiced their support for the resolution, the resolution itself does not fully secure a future for Cantonese at CCSF.

The CCSF Board of Trustees does not have the authority to make the necessary administrative changes that would secure the Cantonese program at CCSF, so the fight to Save Cantonese at CCSF is not over.

The resolution does, however, demonstrate broad public support for our vision: a strong and sustainable Cantonese language program at CCSF. Cantonese classes are currently not eligible for state funding, so they are persistently vulnerable to budget cuts, as we saw last year. The Board of Trustees, with the passage of this resolution, shares our goal of prioritizing Cantonese classes and making them eligible for funding. This unanimous decision puts pressure on administrators to follow through with meaningful action so that the resolution is not mere lip service.

We want a thriving Cantonese program at CCSF that never again needs our rescue. This requires:

  1. Inclusion of Cantonese classes in a 16-unit, funding-eligible certificate program;
  2. Cantonese classes that are UC transferable;
  3. Four or more course offerings per semester ranging from beginner to advanced; and
  4. One or more full-time equivalent Cantonese language instructors who are compensated with salary, benefits, and protections.

We are so proud of the progress that has been made so far, but we cannot let our momentum fade. Currently, there is only one Cantonese class this current semester of Spring 2022, despite over 100% enrollment in Cantonese classes in Fall 2021. There is only one Cantonese instructor at CCSF, and the position is just part-time. There is still a lot of work to do. We need to be vigilant and ensure that the administration follows the direction of the Board. This will be a long, multi-step, and complicated process. We invite you to join our efforts and fully realize the promise of this resolution. Join Team Cantonese and be part of our movement!

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