What’s up with ACCJC?

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, which oversees accreditation of community colleges in California, has been troubled by allegations for years that its methods are arbitrary and punitive. Faculty have charged that the ACCJC, instead of helping to improve the delivery of education, diverts massive amounts of attention, time, taxpayer dollars and resources away from the classroom to “compliance,” much of which has little, if anything, to do with education. The Commission’s work is also, they say, responsible for deteriorating relations between faculty and administrators fearful of ACCJC sanctions, which occur at a startlingly higher rate here than in regions overseen by other accreditation agencies.

Perhaps the most egregious example of the inconsistent and disparate ways ACCJC treats colleges is a comparison between City College of San Francisco and Heald College. The agency broke the law in its overzealous attempt to close an excellent school (CCSF), while looking the other way as a lawbreaking school (Heald, operated by Corinthian) preyed on thousands of students. Both instances ended with similar catastrophic results: thousands of poor and working class students were denied an education.

In 2013 the CFT challenged the Commission in a formal process known as “third party comment,” in which interested parties can file a complaint with the commission and with the U.S. Department of Education. CFT also filed suit, seeking an injunction to keep City College of San Francisco open, as did the City Attorney of San Francisco.  An injunction was granted on January 2, 2014.  The trial ended with a February, 2015 Superior Court decision affirming that ACCJC broke four laws in denying CCSF due process rights during accreditation review. The judge ordered ACCJC to offer CCSF another opportunity to respond to its review, this time with transparency. And now, reform legislation is moving through the state legislature, and a state Chancellor's task force report is recommending that California find a new accreditor.

Below are links to stories and documents that explain what CFT and its locals—and a growing number of other organizations, elected officials and interested observers like the State Auditor and the Community College Board of Governors—are doing to change the ACCJC’s behavior, and what the Commission has been doing (or not doing) in response.


Press releases 


Third party comments, amendments, and lawsuit

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A publication of the Community College Council, Perspective contains essential news about issues in the community colleges. 
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