News Releases

UTLA Votes to Invest in Union, Public Education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Contact:  Fred Glass, 510-579-3343, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Statement from CFT President Joshua Pechthalt

Members Overwhelmingly Support Dues Increase

“On Wednesday, our sisters and brothers in United Teachers Los Angeles voted overwhelmingly to support their union and to lead the fight to preserve and improve public education in the second largest school district in the country. Over 14,000 of UTLA’s members participated in the vote, with 82 percent in favor of a dues increase. We applaud UTLA’s members and leaders for taking this courageous action.

“This vote underscores the commitment of UTLA members to strengthening their union’s ability to fight for a quality public education for all children and to fend off the relentless effort by billionaires to impose their vision of education on the people of Los Angeles and in California.

“This historic vote comes just as petitions are being circulated to place an initiative on the June ballot that would extend Proposition 30 by asking California’s wealthiest 2% to continue to pay a bit more in personal income tax. UTLA’s vote is one further indication that rank and file teachers are willing to pay more in union dues to support the struggle for quality public education.

“The CFT looks forward to working together with UTLA to extend Prop 30 and to create the kind of quality public education in our state that is a model for the rest of the country.”

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The California Federation of Teachers represents more than 100,000 education employees in public and private schools, from Head Start through the University of California. It is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO.

Californians Testify at D.C. Hearing to Replace Accreditor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Contact:  Fred Glass, 510-579-3343, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Students, faculty and elected officials say, “ACCJC has to go!”

Washington, D.C. — Thirty community college faculty and students today were joined by elected officials and the President of the California Federation of Teachers in a Washington D.C. hearing to testify about the urgent need to remove the current accreditor (Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, or ACCJC) for the state’s community colleges and replace it with one capable of fair and competent accreditation practices.

Appearing before the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), which oversees regional accreditors like the ACCJC, CFT President Joshua Pechthalt said, “We believe in a strong and fair accreditation body that protects and improves the quality of education for California’s two million students. Unfortunately, our accreditor, the lawbreaking ACCJC, does none of these things. We’d like NACIQI to be part of the process of helping us find an accreditor that works on behalf of students and quality education.”

The members of the delegation from California laid out the many reasons why virtually every stakeholder in California now believes this rogue accreditor must be replaced. Following the hearing, NACIQI will recommend action to the US Secretary of Education.

In prepared remarks delivered by Vice-Chancellor Paul Feist, California Community College Chancellor Brice Harris told the NACIQI, “There is widespread consensus among our colleges that the ACCJC is no longer a reliable authority regarding the quality of education or training provided by the colleges it accredits.”

The ACCJC has been on a year-to-year reauthorization for the past two years. While recognizing that there are significant problems with the agency, Department of Education staff has nonetheless recommended another one-year reauthorization pending correction of the violations. The California group traveled to Washington to argue against reauthorization.

Tim Killikelly, CCSF Political Science instructor and president of AFT Local 2121 said, “The ACCJC has to go – it should not be an accreditor any more. The commissioners are not credible. They have acted outrageously and abused their authority.”

CCSF English instructor Alisa Messer told NACIQI members, “I urge you to move beyond the staff report's thoughtful but inadequate recommendation that ACCJC be granted further time. The ACCJC's dismissive attitude to member institutions, students, and even to the Department of Education—its flaunting of rules and regulations, its numerous underground and opaque standards—all suggest that NACIQI should not be hopeful that the ACCJC can or will reform itself.”

Win-Mon Kyi, a first generation Burmese-American student and president of the CCSF Asian Student Union said, “My parents took English classes and basic skills courses at City College before me. They own a restaurant in San Francisco in which I work while going to school. The cuts to diversity studies departments put my dreams in jeopardy. Keeping the ACCJC for any moment longer will further destabilize thousands more students' lives.”

To contact members of the delegation who spoke at the hearing, call 510-579-3343.

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The CFT represents over 25,000 faculty in thirty community college districts, and 120,000 educational employees at every level of the education system, from Head Start to UC. More info: www.cft.org.

Key Steps Taken to Remove Unreliable ACCJC -- California’s Community College Accreditor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Monday, November 16, 2015

Robert Fulton, 858-342-4532
Cherri Senders, 818-422-2787 

State Board directs Chancellor to implement plan for a new model

Walnut, CA – The Community College Board of Governors unanimously passed a resolution declaring that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) “no longer meets the current and anticipated needs of California community colleges.”

“Today’s vote makes clear that the ACCJC is an impediment to student success and needs to be replaced,” said Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers. “The organization and its leadership lack credibility and are causing serious harm to our community colleges, faculty and the more than two million students they serve. They need to go now.”

The State Board of Governors directed Chancellor Brice Harris to come up with “a recommendation for action to establish a new model for an accrediting agency,” including a plan and timeline.

Monday’s action was in response to the Chancellor’s Accreditation Task Force Report, issued in August, which cites a multitude of failures by the ACCJC and recommends that California replace it with a new agency.

“The report is very clear: We need an accrediting agency that is transparent, responsive, consistent and free from conflicts of interest,” said Joanne Waddell, President of the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, AFT 1521, who served on the task force.

In addition to the CFT, the Chancellor’s task force report has received widespread support from around the state, including the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, the California Community Colleges School Employees Association and the Community College Association.

“The ACCJC has lost all perspective in its role in accreditation and has become a detriment to the success of our students,” said Dean Murakami, President of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers. “That this commission lacks credibility in the eyes of its peers and the public is an understatement. Organizations far and wide have voiced their displeasure with this rogue accrediting body.”

Next month the CFT will travel to Washington, DC to make its case for removing the ACCJC before the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) and the Department of Education which is in charge of authorizing accreditors.

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The CFT represents over 25,000 faculty in thirty community college districts, and 120,000 educational employees at every level of the education system, from Head Start to UC. More info: www.cft.org.

Faculty leaders voice support for task force recommendation of a new accreditor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Friday, October 30, 2015

Fred Glass, 510-579-3343, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Commentary provided during ACCJC’s Bakersfield “listening session”

Faculty leaders from nearby colleges descended on Bakersfield College to provide comments at the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior College’s “listening session” earlier today. Faculty were represented on the Community College Chancellor’s Task Force on Accreditation. The Task Force’s report, released August 28, recommended replacing the ACCJC with a new accreditor.

Despite the event in Bakersfield being described as a “listening session,” ACCJC President Barbara Beno did not participate, and Commission Chair Steve Kinsella was only available by phone.

“Beno was a no-show and Kinsella could only bother to call in,” said Tim Killikelly, president of the faculty union at City College of San Francisco. “This is listening?”

“The ACCJC just doesn’t get it,” Killikelly continued. “The Task Force says that we must find a new accreditor, not just ask them to act more reasonable and stop abusing their authority. That ship has sailed.”

In addition to Killikelly, other faculty leaders in attendance included Lacy Barnes, President of State Center Federation of Teachers; and Paul Tidwell of College of the Sequoias.

“The California Community Colleges deserve an accreditor committed to genuine peer evaluation, transparency in decision-making and respect for faculty and faculty rights,” Tidwell said. “Time and again the ACCJC has shown arrogant disregard for these attributes in favor of back-room deals, autocratic leadership and arbitrary sanctions. Politically motivated campus restructuring around arcane standards has had a catastrophic impact on finances, enrollment and morale statewide. Faculty and students in the largest system of higher education in the U.S. need to be freed from the fear and intimidation spread by the ACCJC. For these, and myriad other reasons, it is time for a new accreditor."

Last month the California Community College Board of Governors (BOG) directed State Community Chancellor Brice Harris to send his Accreditation Task Force's Report to the United States Department of Education. The report cited a multitude of failures by the current California community college accreditor.

“The ACCJC does not seem to understand the gravity of its situation,” said Barnes, also a CFT Senior Vice President. “The Task Force Report clearly demonstrates ‘no confidence’ in that body. The time for the commissioners to ‘listen’ has long passed; it is time for them to make their exit.”

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The CFT represents over 25,000 faculty in thirty community college districts, and 120,000 educational employees at every level of the education system, from Head Start to UC. More info: www.cft.org.

Court dismisses “Bain v. CTA”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fred Glass, 510-579-3343, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For CTA: Jonathan Goldman,415-509-1654, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Unions’ right to determine membership withstands corporate legal assault

Los Angeles—U.S. District Court judge Stephen V. Wilson today announced the dismissal of “April Bain et al v. California Teachers Association et al,” the latest example of corporate interests reinterpreting the First Amendment to silence the collective voice of the Nation’s working men and women and undermine the democratic process within unions. 

In the suit’s convoluted argument, filed earlier this year, four union members alleged they were compelled to relinquish first amendment rights because they couldn’t vote in union matters without paying dues. In his ruling Judge Wilson sided with the defendants’ argument to dismiss, which stated that if plaintiffs prevailed, the unions’ first amendment right to freedom of association through self-governance would be abrogated.

The California Teachers Association and California Federation of Teachers are pleased that the Court has reaffirmed the unions’ right to advocate effectively on behalf of students, members and public education.

“The Bain lawsuit rests on sensational and entirely incorrect claims,” said California Teachers Association President Eric Heins. “The truth in this case is, no California teacher is required to join a union and every educator is entirely free to decline membership. Members of CTA also have the option of not having any of their dues money spent for political candidates. It’s as simple as checking a box on their membership form.”

“We welcome the quick and early decision by Judge Wilson,” said Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers. “What the Bain plaintiffs were asking for would have represented a significant and unprecedented violation of teachers’ First Amendment rights to democratically associate in a labor union. It’s no surprise that every court that previously considered such claims has roundly rejected them.”

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The 325,000-member CTA is affiliated with the 3.2 million-member National Education

Association. The California Federation of Teachers is the statewide affiliate of the American
Federation of Teachers, and represents faculty and school employees in public and private
schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education.

Community College Board of Governors to send message to US Department of Education: "California needs a new accreditor"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fred Glass, 510-579-3343, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cherri Senders, 818-884-8966 ext 1104; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Yesterday the California Community College Board of Governors (BOG) directed State Community Chancellor Brice Harris to send his Accreditation Task Force's Report, issued two weeks ago, to the United States Department of Education (DOE). The Report, citing a multitude of failures by the current California community college accreditor, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, recommends that California replace the ACCJC with a new agency.

The members of the Board of Governors were clearly impressed by the unanimity and forceful nature of the blue ribbon Task Force's recommendations. The Task Force included faculty, administration, college presidents, and elected local college board of trustees members. The Report's findings were summarized at the BOG meeting by several task force participants, and reinforced by a dozen faculty representatives from around the state during public comments.

"This is terrific news for California's two million community college students," said CFT Secretary Treasurer Jeff Freitas, who spoke to the Board. The statewide organization, along with the City College of San Francisco faculty union, had submitted a complaint to the DOE in 2013 that resulted in a finding that ACCJC was in violation of a number of accreditation standards. "It is past time this lawbreaking agency was shown the door." [Click here to see CFT President Joshua Pechthalt's op ed in yesterday's Sacramento Bee on this topic]

The 2013 DOE finding was followed in rapid succession by a successful suit by the City Attorney of San Francisco against ACCJC, a Joint Legislative Audit Committee report with scathing criticism of the accreditor, and a move by the Board of Governors earlier this year to strip the ACCJC of sole accreditor status in California.

The ACCJC is currently under review by the higher education body within the DOE in charge of authorizing accreditors, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI).

Several of the speakers at the BOG had urged the body to submit the Task Force Report to NACIQI by Friday, September 25, the deadline for NACIQI to receive comments on the ACCJC's fitness to continue as community college accreditor in California. The board resolution, which passed unanimously, instructed Chancellor Harris to do that.

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The CFT represents over 25,000 faculty in thirty community college districts, and 120,000 educational employees at every level of the education system, from Head Start to UC. More info: www.cft.org.

Media contact

If you are a reporter or have a media inquiry, please call This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Communications Specialist at 510-523-5238.