Dejon Lewis was 11 years old when child protective services arrived to take him and his twin sister away from their mother, whom he says is a drug addict. But instead of giving themselves over to the state, the two children made a run for it. Lewis says they stayed with a family friend for a while, but eventually they turned themselves in, and that’s when he entered the foster care system. Since then, Lewis has bounced around a lot.
“It’s hard to live when you’re just living with strangers and strangers and strangers, and no relatives. But I know down the road that that wouldn’t last forever, so I had to figure out how to be more independent,” he says.
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“Open, Accredited, and Ready for You!” That’s what it says on the big electronic billboard at the entrance to City College’s main Ocean Avenue Campus. Despite ongoing troubles over the last year and a half, the school is still fully operational and remains fully accredited. Students crowd the walkways in between classes, and the atmosphere feels like any other busy college campus.
For decades, California’s public university system has been a model for the world, and its prestige has helped to create much of the state’s prosperity. More recently the system has been stumbling – a victim of constant budget cutting, chronic overcrowding, and administrative gridlock.
In recent years, all levels of California’s public education system have been suffering from continuing budget cuts. City College of San Francisco, California’s largest community college has not been immune to these troubles. But right now it's facing an even bigger challenge, as the school fights to maintain its accreditation. KALW Education reporter Jen Chien spoke with Ben Trefny about the situation.