News Releases

Statement from Los Rios College Federation of Teachers on Shooting at Sacramento City College

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Friday, September 4, 2015

Fred Glass, 510-579-3343, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or Cherri Senders, 818-884-8966 ext 1104; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

“We want to express our support for our colleagues at Sacramento City College following the tragic shooting of three students on campus that resulted in one fatality. We extend our sincere condolences to those students and their families. Both the Los Rios Faculty Union and Senate leadership agree that we need to remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure campus safety and will work collaboratively to discuss further steps in light of yesterday’s tragic occurrence.

“Our hearts go out to our colleagues at Sacramento City College in this trying time. Additionally, we would like to acknowledge the collaborative and quick-thinking efforts of the college President, Kathryn Jeffery, faculty and staff, and Los Rios Police. Their poise and diligence deserve commendation.”

Dean Murakami, President
Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, Local 2279

Brian Robinson, President
Los Rios District Academic Senate

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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.

Chancellor’s task force calls for new accreditor to oversee state’s community colleges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Friday, August 28, 2015

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

Rogue agency ACCJC handed a serious setback by report

Today the California Community College Chancellor’s office released its long-awaited task force report on accreditation and the practices of the Accrediting Commission for Community Junior Colleges (ACCJC). Validating the view of the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) that this rogue commission needs reform or replacement, the task force heavily criticized the way the commission does business, capped with a recommendation that California find a new accreditor.

“The ACCJC has lost its way,” said Joshua Pechthalt, CFT president. “We need a commission with the best interests of students, faculty and public higher education at the center of its work. The ACCJC has other priorities. It forces colleges to waste faculty and staff time and taxpayer money on bureaucratic minutia irrelevant to the classroom. It makes reckless and ill-informed decisions behind closed doors that harm the lives of thousands of Californians. And in the process, it is unconcerned if it is breaking the law. This report sharply underscores that accreditation is too important to be left in the hands of ACCJC.”

The report, compiled by a blue-ribbon panel of California community college experts, including college presidents, administrators, elected trustees, and faculty, found that:

• The ACCJC’s level of sanctions imposed on colleges was “inordinately high” compared with other regional accreditors
• The “California Community College system and its member institutions have lost confidence in the ACCJC”
• The colleges and the system need to transition to another accreditor.

Background
Two years ago, the CFT filed a complaint with the US Department of Education regarding ACCJC’s failure to comply with multiple accreditor standards. The department issued a letter detailing the ACCJC’s lack of compliance with fifteen accreditation standards required for continued recognition as an accreditor. This opened the door to increasing scrutiny of the agency:

• The San Francisco City Attorney filed a suit against ACCJC that resulted earlier this year in a state Superior Court ruling that the agency broke four laws in its ill-considered decision to shutter City College of San Francisco.

• A report issued by California’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee in June of last year harshly criticized the agency for its CCSF decision, for its absurd levels of secrecy, for its disproportionate rate of sanctions compared to other accrediting agencies, and uneven treatment of the colleges it oversees.

• Earlier this year, the State Community College Board of Governors opened the door to a new accreditor, removing language from Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations that had given the ACCJC sole authority over accreditation of the state’s community colleges.

• Legislators, too, have come to recognize the level of problems generated by the agency. A bill sponsored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-SF), AB 1397, to make the ACCJC more transparent and accountable is now on the state senate floor, the last hurdle before it moves to the governor for a signature.

“The members of the task force recognize that the ACCJC has ignored or dismissed similar reports in the past, and expect a similar reaction this time,” said Joanne Waddell, faculty union president at the Los Angeles Community College District, and a task force member. “The difference now is that more people are aware of the problematic nature of the agency, and the specific recommendation that the agency be replaced as accreditor in California underscores the urgency of the matter. We hope this report helps legislators and policymakers to take appropriate steps.”

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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.

San Francisco Archdiocesan teachers ratify new contract agreement with the Archdiocese of San Francisco

For immediate release: August 20, 2015

Contact: Gina Jaeger, 415-378-1201, or Lisa Dole, 415-299-2084

San Francisco, CA—Yesterday a majority of members of the San Francisco Archdiocesan Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2240, voted to ratify a new contract agreement between the faculty union and the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

The close vote, 90-80, reflected divisions among faculty and the broader community after the Archdiocese administration proposed new language that would have declared teachers to be “ministers,” language that, if implemented, would have placed the teachers outside the protections of the National Labor Relations Act.

Negotiations commenced last October 2014, and continued for an unusually long period. Discussions with the administration continued until July.

The tentative agreement includes a salary increase of seven and a half percent over three years, maintenance of health care, and new contract language safeguarding employee rights related to personal conduct. The language makes clear that questions regarding teacher conduct on and off the job are subject to the collective bargaining grievance procedure, and are not the sole province of administrative fiat. The language was vetted through California Federation of Teachers attorneys, ensuring compliance with protective labor laws.

“The negotiations have been an arduous process, testing the resolve of our executive board and membership,” said union president Gina Jaeger. “But union democracy provided a firm foundation for our discussions. I am very proud of our union for standing tall in support of dignity and fairness. Now it is time to heal after a tumultuous year.”

Jaeger added that now that the long negotiations have finished, teachers will able to return their focus to education, “in particular providing our students with a supportive and accepting community where they can thrive.”

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AFT Local 2240 represents faculty in four high schools under San Francisco Archdiocesan jurisdiction, including Archbishop Riordan, Sacred Heart Preparatory, both in San Francisco; Marin Catholic in Kentfield; and Junipero Serra in San Mateo. CFT represents 120,000 educational employees at every level of the education system. More info: www.cft.org.

Accrediting Commission Again Denies Due Process

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Thursday, August 6, 2015

Contact: Cherri Senders, 818-422-2787, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Commission Fails to Consider Evidence Presented by City College of San Francisco

Sacramento – Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) again failed to provide due process when it announced yesterday, Aug. 5, that it had summarily rejected City College of San Francisco’s request for reconsideration of ACCJC’s flawed 2013 sanction disacrrediting the college.

“This latest action by the ACCJC clearly demonstrates it is unqualified to serve as an accreditor of California's public community colleges,” said California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthalt.

California Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow ruled earlier this year that the ACCJC had violated both state law and federal regulations and needed to provide CCSF with the due process it was denied. The judge ordered the commission to reconsider its earlier misguided decision.

ACCJC’s action comes despite the evidence compiled by hundreds of City College employees and students responding to the trial judge’s finding that ACCJC had failed to give City College notice of 11 new "deficiencies" not found by the ACCJC-appointed team, which visited City College in Spring 2013. The team had recommended a lesser sanction.

“City College did its part and answered ACCJC's notice with extensive evidence and arguments. Yet, in its reply, the ACCJC does not make any effort to reconcile the response of the College to the initial explanation by the Commission,” said President Pechthalt.  In spite of this action by the ACCJC, City College remains open and accredited pending a decision in January of 2017 after further evaluation.

City College of San Francisco faculty union AFT 2121 President Tim Killikelly also criticized the ACCJC’s decision saying: “Yesterday’s predictably unfair decision again violates the college’s due process and highlights the need for serious accreditation reform in California. Something needs to be done about the ACCJC.”

A bill from Assembleymember Phil Ting (AB 1397) will impose new standards for accountability and transparency in accreditation. The bill passed the Assembly and is advancing in the State Senate with bipartisan support.

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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.

State Community College BOG Votes to Extend City College Special Trustee Appointment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Monday, July 20, 2015

Contact: Cherri Senders, 818-422-2787, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CFT continues to call for the return of school’s democratically-elected Board of Trustees, shift focus to accrediting commission

On Monday, the California Community Colleges Board of Governors voted to extend the appointment of a Special Trustee to oversee City College of San Francisco.

“The continued appointment of the Special Trustee to oversee City College of San Francisco flies in the face of a democratic process,” said CFT President Joshua Pechthalt. “The people of San Francisco elected the Board of Trustees to govern City College, and anything that takes that power away from the people and their elected representatives is an insult. We are extremely disappointed with the Community College Board of Governors’ decision to reappoint a Special Trustee for City College. The people of San Francisco should decide who governs the college, not an appointed body.”

The initial reasoning for a Special Trustee for City College came out of a 2013 diaccreditation decision from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Since then, a Superior Court judge has ruled that the ACCJC broke the law in that flawed process. There is no justification to continue with a Special Trustee for City College.

“The approval of the Special Trustee is completely unnecessary for City College of San Francisco,” said AFT 2121 President Tim Killikelly. “It's been over two years now and local control needs to be returned to the democratically elected board. The board of governors needs to shift its focus to the real problem at hand – the ACCJC – and find real solutions to the continuing accreditation nightmare for all the community colleges in California.”

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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.

Another Misguided Billionaire-Backed Lawsuit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Friday, July 17, 2015

Contact: Cherri Senders, 818-422-2787, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Teacher evaluation lawsuit Doe v Antioch is the latest in a series of special interest attacks on public education

CFT Statement:

The Doe v Antioch lawsuit filed yesterday is just another in a long line of cynical attacks on public education. This lawsuit, which addresses a tenant of teacher evaluation, attempts to dictate from the courtroom a top down reform agenda that has been discredited by research and the experience of educators across the country. The 13 districts named in this lawsuit have negotiated teacher evaluation systems that work for them. The facts of this case will be made clear in the coming months, but what’s immediately clear is that this is another desperate attempt by a Silicon Valley billionaire trying to destroy public education.

The California Stull Act has been around since the early 1970s. Our state’s K-12 public education system was considered the finest in the nation with the Stull Act in place, shaping how teachers were evaluated. So what has changed? In spite of the improved financial situation due to Prop 30, our schools and classes are still overcrowded, the enrichment classes that used to be a staple of education have been pushed out and the hyper fixation on testing drives a distorted education agenda. Finally, we have a so-called advocacy group that is funded by billionaires and a law firm that does the bidding of corporate America and the 1% pushing a destructive education agenda. Their deep pockets and arrogance threaten every child and educator working hard to make education meaningful in our state.

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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.