News Releases

Accreditors Move to Yank Accreditation From City College of San Francisco

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 916-457-5546; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 510-579-3343;
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (415) 810-1052; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (415) 370-5279

 

Accreditors Move to Yank Accreditation From City College of San Francisco

The California Federation of Teachers Vows to Resist and Continue Fight for Quality Public Education for All of San Francisco’s Students

SAN FRANCISCO, CA- AFT local 2121 and the California Federation of Teachers vehemently oppose the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) unprecedented decision to deny accreditation to City College of San Francisco (CCSF).

Reacting to today’s announcement by ACCJC, AFT 2121 President Alisa Messer said: “Apparently the thousands of hours of dedicated work to address the recommendations and the tremendous sacrifices made by the San Francisco community on behalf of City College's success are not enough. We should never have been on 'show cause' in the first place.

“This is a decision that is absolutely without justification. It says more about the ACCJC than it says about City College. This is something we should fight,” says Rafael Mandelman, who recently joined the City College’s Board of Trustees.

City College's quality of instruction was never called into question when the ACCJC placed the College on the most extreme ‘show cause’ sanction in July of 2012, the first accreditation sanction in the college’s 75-plus-year history.

“ACCJC's handiwork has not improved educational quality at CCSF,” said Messer, an English Instructor at the College. “We want a stronger, better college. In many instances they moved us in the wrong direction, and ACCJC should be held accountable for the impact of its actions.”

CFT president Josh Pechthalt notes that, “Across the state, we have been hearing about the arbitrary and high-handed actions of the ACCJC. Its credibility is deeply compromised by its lack of transparency, conflicts of interest, and inconsistent application of standards. This decision is further confirmation of the need for the Commission to be opened up to a rigorous and thorough review of their approach to the accrediting process by our elected leaders and the government bodies responsible for overseeing the Commission.”

“City College has turned itself upside down for the last year to address the ACCJC’s unreasonable demands, none of which were aimed at improving education,” says Jim Mahler, president of the CFT Community College Council. “Nonetheless, the Commission has decided to pull the college’s accreditation, which means further hardship for CCSF students, faculty, and staff.”

“This action by the ACCJC shows that the accreditation system has lost its way,” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. “Massive, for-profit institutions that have irreparably harmed so many students have been given credibility by this system, while the City College of San Francisco, which has served so many, is on the verge of being unnecessarily decimated and devastated. We would think the ACCJC would seek to work with — not destroy — this valuable community institution so that it can continue to help tens of thousands of students pursue their dreams.”

Earlier in April, AFT 2121 and CFT filed a complaint against the ACCJC with the accreditors and the US Department of Education calling for a thorough investigation. The 298-page complaint raises questions about ACCJC’s impartiality and its compliance with its own policies as well as state and federal law, alleging that during its evaluation of CCSF, ACCJC violated 10 federal regulations, a federal statute and committed procedural errors and due process violations. It argues that the accrediting agency lacks transparency and violates or inconsistently applies its own standards, calling into question the ACCJC’s treatment of all California community colleges. The CFT and AFT 2121 have also advanced specific reforms to address ACCJC’s violations of law and policy.

For more information, please click here.

Supreme Court decisions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 916-457-5546; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 510-579-3343This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

Supreme Court decisions

The California Federation of Teachers today issued the following statement regarding two important decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court:

On the Voting Rights Act: In striking the section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act subjecting states and local governments with a track record of voting exclusion to preclearance, the Supreme Court majority is sending an unfortunate message to young people of color: if you live in the wrong place, don't expect, when you are voting age, to be able to vote, and don't expect the government, if you face problems, to help you vote.

In stating that "Our country has changed," it appears the majority on the Court has no awareness that voting discrimination may have changed its shape, but lives on. While saying that it is Congress's job to determine how to address contemporary racist practices during elections, the Court majority is well aware that the current Congress is not capable of doing that.

In the sharply dissenting words of Justice Ginsburg, “Just as buildings in California have a greater need to be earthquake proofed, places where there is greater racial polarization in voting have a greater need for prophylactic measures to prevent purposeful race discrimination.”

Declaring that 1965 is too long ago to worry about today, the Supreme Court majority misses the point. It has eliminated protections that enabled colorblind voting in the name of our society having magically achieved colorblindness.

It is true that their decision is not about race per se. It means that the conservative majority, without saying so directly, understands that voters of color generally vote Democratic. Only in this way is it a colorblind decision.

On Proposition 8: In ruling that those who brought the suit to reinstate Prop 8 had no standing to do so, the Supreme Court majority sidesteps the central issues once more, but in a way that allows the right choice to be made, and enables the refusal of Governor Brown and Attorney General Harris to defend Prop 8 to be vindicated.

The decision means same-sex marriages in California are legal once again. We are pleased that this reaffirms the right for all people to marry whomever they want to; this reflects the broad shift in consciousness on the issue in the country. Our members celebrate with the rest of California that all loving couples now possess the same rights.

The additional decision of the Court to strike down the section in the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) excluding same sex couples from the definition of marriage, while narrower, underscores the message of the Prop 8 decision: the federal government recognizes marriage equality for all.

In the dramatic decisions made this week by the Supreme Court, some have stripped protection of equal rights and some granted equal rights. We applaud the gains and will fight hard to regain those rights lost.

The following statement was released by CFT President Joshua Pechthalt regarding the State budget agreement:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, June 14, 2013
Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 916-457-5546; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 510-579-3343This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

The following statement was released by CFT President Joshua Pechthalt regarding the State budget agreement:

This year’s budget begins to restore years of funding cuts to public education and services. It wouldn’t have happened without Proposition 30. While other states are still struggling, or even moving in the wrong direction with tax cuts and program cuts, California is showing the way forward with fair, progressive taxes to fund our schools and services. While we have a long way to go before we have the full resources that give access to the best education possible for all our students, from early childhood through the great public universities, this budget is a good start.

The governor’s Local Control Funding formula will help school districts and students who need the most help. It is a reform that has been a long time coming, and we are confident that as it is implemented we will be able to work out any problems for the benefit of the students.

While the increase in funding to community colleges allows more students to return to the system, counseling and other student services have been slashed to the bone. In the CSU and UC, a tuition freeze this year obviously helps, but years of increases have left students and their families with unsustainable levels of debt.

While celebrating a modest return to budget sanity, we can’t forget that Prop 30 only brings us about half way to full restoration of funding. We look forward to working with the governor and legislature in the coming year to find fair revenue solutions to fund California’s future.

In memoriam: Raoul Teilhet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 510-579-3343This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

In memoriam: Raoul Teilhet

It is with deep sorrow that the California Federation of Teachers announces the passing of former CFT president Raoul Teilhet.

Raoul Teilhet, a Pasadena high school history teacher who believed collective bargaining offered the path to dignity and respect for public school employees before laws existed allowing it, and served as president of the California Federation of Teachers in successful pursuit of that goal, died of complications from Parkinson’s Disease on June 5 in Los Angeles. He was 79.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. said, “Raoul Teilhet was a creative leader. I had the pleasure of spending many long evenings with him solving education problems and discussing how we could make California and its schools better for everyone. I’ll miss him.”

When Teilhet began teaching in the late 1950s, he said he “didn’t have the least intention of organizing a union, or becoming a member of one.” He would later joke that he “thought that AFT was the other end of a boat.” But when an American Federation of Teachers organizer called a meeting in 1960 in a nearby town, Teilhet was one of a handful of teachers who signed the charter founding the Pasadena Federation of Teachers, and he agreed to serve as its first treasurer. Within a few years he was elected local president, then a member of the statewide CFT Executive Council, and CFT president in 1967. Teilhet spoke out loudly and early against the Vietnam War when few labor leaders were willing to do so. Likewise, when State Senator John Briggs placed a measure on the state ballot that would have banned gay teachers from California classrooms, Teilhet debated him across the state and helped turn the tide against the Briggs Initiative. Under his leadership the CFT grew from 6,000 members to nearly 40,000 by the time he stepped down in 1985. And his forceful advocacy was one of the main reasons why the California state legislature passed, and Governor Jerry Brown signed, the Educational Employment Relations Act in 1975, legalizing collective bargaining in California public education.

Teilhet is survived by his wife, Carol Rosenzweig Teilhet.

CFT Presses Forward with Complaint Against Accrediting Agency

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, May 31, 2013
Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 916-457-5546; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 510-579-3343This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

CFT Presses Forward with Complaint Against Accrediting Agency

Says Commission’s Response Lacks Substance

The CFT is not surprised by the brief and dismissive reply issued yesterday in response to our third party comment to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

“The accreditation process is extremely important in ensuring effectiveness and trust for public education at all levels. The dismissal of our complaint as ‘without merit’ by ACCJC is further proof that the agency overseeing community college accreditation lacks transparency and any capacity for self-critical analysis,” said Joshua Pechthalt, CFT president. “We are extremely troubled by the way ACCJC has steered the accreditation process away from those values.”

The CFT will continue to push to return the agency responsible for accrediting community colleges in California to transparency and accountability to the public.

The ACCJC’s six-page response ducks most of the complaint's substance. In response to the complaint’s documentation of violation of federal regulations, the ACCJC simply says, it “is not a court of law,” and ignores the substantive issues raised.

Ultimately, the ACCJC is unwilling to hear any criticism, as it places more than one in five community colleges on sanction, diverting precious resources from the job of educating students to “compliance” with its demands.

“The students of California’s community colleges and the taxpayers who support them deserve far better,” said CFT President Pechthalt, one of the signatories to the complaint. “We will do what we can to make sure that the accreditation process for California community colleges helps and doesn’t harm public education.”

The CFT requests the facts from Community College Accreditors (ACCJC)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, May 20, 2013 
Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 916-457-5546; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 510-579-3343This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

The CFT requests the facts from Community College Accreditors (ACCJC)

Calls for Release of Information in City College of San Francisco Case
The California Federation of Teachers has followed up its recent “complaint” with the Accreditation Commission for Junior and Community Colleges (ACCJC) with a request for additional information. In a legal letter to the Commission, the CFT, through attorney Robert J. Bezemek, is requesting materials that may prove relevant to its complaint, in printed and electronic form, stipulating that these materials must continue to be preserved.

“Given the seemingly arbitrary way the commission has acted of late – misapplying its own rules and procedures while violating federal and state law -- we want to do everything we can to make sure the public has access to all the relevant information so that an informed opinion can be reached,” said Jeff Freitas, Secretary Treasurer of the CFT.

In the April 30 filing, the California Federation of Teachers and its San Francisco affiliate, AFT Local 2121, protested the ACCJC’s placement of City College San Francisco on a “show cause” sanction in 2012. The document demonstrates that given the agency’s malpractice no sanction, let alone “show cause,” should have been imposed on CCSF. It also notifies the ACCJC and the US Department of Education (DoE) that in the view of CFT, the accrediting agency is in violation of federal and state law as well as its own policies, and has overstepped its authority in a number of ways. The agency is currently undergoing its own review by the DoE, and the CFT is presenting the complaint as information useful to that process.

To view the information request, third party comment, and other articles related to this unfolding story, go to cft.org/accjc.

Media contact

If you are a reporter or have a media inquiry, please call CFT Communications Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at 510-579-3343.