FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, November 7, 2013
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Educators Testify to Protect California's Community Colleges

Congressmembers and Legislators Host Town Hall to Investigate Rogue Accreditation Agency

San Francisco – Congresswomen Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo/Redwood City) and Anna Eshoo (D-Santa Clara), State Senator Jim Beall, and Assembly member Tom Ammiano held a town hall at City College of San Francisco to receive information on the topic, “Is the Accrediting Process for California’s Community Colleges Fair and Accountable?” Three hundred faculty, students, administrators, staff and other members of the community attended to listen and participate.

Joshua Pechthalt, President of the California Federation of Teachers, was joined by other top community college and education experts in San Francisco to testify about the severe and urgent crisis caused by the unfair and illegal attempts by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to close City College of San Francisco, as well as the rogue agency’s biased and harmful actions against community colleges throughout the state.

“We need a commitment to openness, transparency and accountability that will lead to an inclusive and collaborative, not punitive, accreditation process,” Pechthalt said during his testimony.

The hearing focused on the destructive impact of the ACCJC on California colleges, faculty and students. The speakers also proposed solutions to handling the troubled agency, which in recent years has dramatically increased sanctions, out of all proportion with other accrediting regions, costing, as some speakers pointed out, literally millions of wasted taxpayer dollars to address supposed violations of accrediting standards that have nothing to do with providing quality education. Last July, the ASCCJC moved to close City College of San Francisco by revoking its accreditation, potentially leaving 85,000 students without access to higher education.

Senator Beall and Assemblymember Ammiano both mentioned their intent to propose legislation to address the problems created by the Commission.

“None of us here today or in the thousands of classrooms in this state are opposed to evaluation or corrective criticism.  We all want to give our students the best education possible,” said David Yancey, President, San Jose/Evergreen Faculty Association, AFT Local 6157, during his testimony. “But the reckless and vindictive nature of the ACCJC’s processes makes that harder and limits our ability to deliver quality education to our students.”

“Over the past 16 months, the faculty at City College has turned itself upside down to address the ACCJC’s demands,” said Alisa Messer, President, SF Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 2121. “Much has been achieved, yet we are still facing the risk of a completely unnecessary closure. To destroy one of the country’s finest educational institutions in the name of promoting educational standards is obscene.”

Also speaking were San Mateo Chancellor Ron Galatolo, student trustee Shanell Williams, CCSF board of trustees member Rafael Mandelman, and others.

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