Assemblymember Rob Bonta (Oakland) introduces Assembly Bill 1942, for Fair Accreditation of Community Colleges, at a packed press conference in Sacramento on February 19. Joining him are, from left in first row, Jim Mahler, Joshua Pechthalt, Shanell Williams, Bonta, Sarah Eisenberg, Alisa Messer, and CFT attorney Bob Bezemek. Click here for an AB 1942 fact sheet. Read more.
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 attention, time, 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.
Last year 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 has also filed suit, seeking an injunction to keep City College of San Francisco open, as has the City Attorney of San Francisco. An injunction was granted on January 2, 2014. Below are links to stories and documents that explain what CFT and its locals—and a growing number of elected officials and other organizations—are doing to change the ACCJC’s behavior, and what the Commission has been doing (or not doing) in response.
Third party comments, amendments, and lawsuit
CFT president Joshua Pechthalt (left) talks with media outside San Francisco Superior Court December 26. In the courtroom that day, Judge Curtis Karnow listened to arguments for a preliminary injunction to keep City College of San Francisco open. The judge issued the injunction on January 3. Read more. Fred Glass photo
December 13, 2013—CFT secretary-treasurer Jeff Freitas (right) and AFT 2121 president Alisa Messer (shaking hands with Congressman George Miller) met with Miller while in Washington D.C. to attend the hearing at which the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) was given a year to come into compliance with 15 standards it has violated. Messer and CFT president Joshua Pechthalt testified in the hearing, along with a number of City College of San Francisco faculty and students, that the ACCJC should no longer be allowed to oversee accreditation in California. Click here for Pechthalt’s testimony.
August 22, 2013, San Francisco—Today the City Attorney in San Francisco filed suit against the ACCJC, charging, among other things, that “the private agency unlawfully allowed its advocacy and political bias to prejudice its evaluation of college accreditation standards,” and termed the ACCJC “a wholly unaccountable private entity.” Read CFT statement.
August 13, 2013—Today the U.S. Department of Education sent notice to the ACCJC that three elements of the CFT's complaint needed to be addressed or the accrediting agency's reauthorization will be in jeopardy. The three elements included a conflict of interest by ACCJC president Barbara Beno in appointing her husband to the CCSF site visit team in 2012; failure to appoint accreditation review teams that were balanced between administrative and faculty appointments; and failure to distinguish clearly between "recommendations" and "deficiencies" that CCSF needed to address after its accreditation was reaffirmed in 2006. Click here to view the DOE's letter to Beno.