For immediate release: Nov 3, 2014
CFT files complaint against ACCJC with the U.S. Department of Education
Today the California Federation of Teachers filed a new complaint with the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) regarding the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges' continuing "...violations of federal requirements,” indicating “it lacks the capacity, competence and knowledge to serve as a recognized reliable accreditor." The complaint alleges that "ACCJC’s procedures, policies and actions [...] adversely affect all California community colleges accredited by the ACCJC,… threatening the opportunities of hundreds of thousands of students to continue their education at California community colleges." The complaint may be found here.
The CFT filed an earlier complaint in April 2013, resulting in a ruling from the USDOE demanding the ACCJC come into compliance with fifteen violated accrediting standards. Since that time the ACCJC has faced lawsuits, a highly critical report from the state's Joint Legislative Audit Committee, and legislation attempting to make the opaque agency's decision-making more transparent. Closing arguments in the San Francisco City Attorney's suit against the ACCJC were heard last week; a ruling is expected in January.
Nonetheless, the ACCJC has continued to violate accrediting regulations. The specific regulations violated are detailed in the complaint.
CFT president Joshua Pecthalt said, "We believe that the San Francisco Superior Court will find the ACCJC committed unlawful and unfair acts against City College of San Francisco, and hope the judge will order a new accreditation review for the college under fair and lawful conditions. But our complaint demonstrates that what happened in San Francisco is just the most egregious of the Commission's actions, which show a pattern of willful disregard of law and accreditation norms. The U.S. Department of Education should put this incompetent and malicious agency out of business."
Tim Killikelly, president of AFT Local 2121, the faculty union at City College of San Francisco, said, "The enormous inconsistencies in the ACCJC's treatment of California's community colleges have now been brought to light. Tens of thousands of students in San Francisco left school, fearing that the college would lose its accreditation, all due to this irresponsible agency's reckless actions. It is our hope in filing this complaint that the U.S. Department of Education will prevent similar damage from being inflicted on any other college and its community in the future."
The CFT represents more than 25,000 faculty in thirty community colleges districts, and 120,000 educational employees at every level of the education system, from Head Start to UC. More information: cft.org.