Accreditors Move to Yank Accreditation From City College of San Francisco

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The California Federation of Teachers Vows to Resist and Continue Fight for Quality Public Education for All of San Francisco’s Students

SAN FRANCISCO, CA- AFT local 2121 and the California Federation of Teachers vehemently oppose the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) unprecedented decision to deny accreditation to City College of San Francisco (CCSF).

Reacting to today’s announcement by ACCJC, AFT 2121 President Alisa Messer said: “Apparently the thousands of hours of dedicated work to address the recommendations and the tremendous sacrifices made by the San Francisco community on behalf of City College’s success are not enough. We should never have been on ’show cause’ in the first place.

“This is a decision that is absolutely without justification. It says more about the ACCJC than it says about City College. This is something we should fight,” says Rafael Mandelman, who recently joined the City College’s Board of Trustees.

City College’s quality of instruction was never called into question when the ACCJC placed the College on the most extreme ‘show cause’ sanction in July of 2012, the first accreditation sanction in the college’s 75-plus-year history.

“ACCJC’s handiwork has not improved educational quality at CCSF,” said Messer, an English Instructor at the College. “We want a stronger, better college. In many instances they moved us in the wrong direction, and ACCJC should be held accountable for the impact of its actions.”

CFT president Josh Pechthalt notes that, “Across the state, we have been hearing about the arbitrary and high-handed actions of the ACCJC. Its credibility is deeply compromised by its lack of transparency, conflicts of interest, and inconsistent application of standards. This decision is further confirmation of the need for the Commission to be opened up to a rigorous and thorough review of their approach to the accrediting process by our elected leaders and the government bodies responsible for overseeing the Commission.”

“City College has turned itself upside down for the last year to address the ACCJC’s unreasonable demands, none of which were aimed at improving education,” says Jim Mahler, president of the CFT Community College Council. “Nonetheless, the Commission has decided to pull the college’s accreditation, which means further hardship for CCSF students, faculty, and staff.”

“This action by the ACCJC shows that the accreditation system has lost its way,” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. “Massive, for-profit institutions that have irreparably harmed so many students have been given credibility by this system, while the City College of San Francisco, which has served so many, is on the verge of being unnecessarily decimated and devastated. We would think the ACCJC would seek to work with — not destroy — this valuable community institution so that it can continue to help tens of thousands of students pursue their dreams.”

Earlier in April, AFT 2121 and CFT filed a complaint against the ACCJC with the accreditors and the US Department of Education calling for a thorough investigation. The 298-page complaint raises questions about ACCJC’s impartiality and its compliance with its own policies as well as state and federal law, alleging that during its evaluation of CCSF, ACCJC violated 10 federal regulations, a federal statute and committed procedural errors and due process violations. It argues that the accrediting agency lacks transparency and violates or inconsistently applies its own standards, calling into question the ACCJC’s treatment of all California community colleges. The CFT and AFT 2121 have also advanced specific reforms to address ACCJC’s violations of law and policy.

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