Californians Testify at D.C. Hearing to Replace Accreditor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Students, faculty and elected officials say, “ACCJC has to go!”
Washington, D.C. — Thirty community college faculty and students today were joined by elected officials and the President of the California Federation of Teachers in a Washington D.C. hearing to testify about the urgent need to remove the current accreditor (Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, or ACCJC) for the state’s community colleges and replace it with one capable of fair and competent accreditation practices.
Appearing before the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), which oversees regional accreditors like the ACCJC, CFT President Joshua Pechthalt said, “We believe in a strong and fair accreditation body that protects and improves the quality of education for California’s two million students. Unfortunately, our accreditor, the lawbreaking ACCJC, does none of these things. We’d like NACIQI to be part of the process of helping us find an accreditor that works on behalf of students and quality education.”
The members of the delegation from California laid out the many reasons why virtually every stakeholder in California now believes this rogue accreditor must be replaced. Following the hearing, NACIQI will recommend action to the US Secretary of Education.
In prepared remarks delivered by Vice-Chancellor Paul Feist, California Community College Chancellor Brice Harris told the NACIQI, “There is widespread consensus among our colleges that the ACCJC is no longer a reliable authority regarding the quality of education or training provided by the colleges it accredits.”
The ACCJC has been on a year-to-year reauthorization for the past two years. While recognizing that there are significant problems with the agency, Department of Education staff has nonetheless recommended another one-year reauthorization pending correction of the violations. The California group traveled to Washington to argue against reauthorization.
Tim Killikelly, CCSF Political Science instructor and president of AFT Local 2121 said, “The ACCJC has to go – it should not be an accreditor any more. The commissioners are not credible. They have acted outrageously and abused their authority.”
CCSF English instructor Alisa Messer told NACIQI members, “I urge you to move beyond the staff report’s thoughtful but inadequate recommendation that ACCJC be granted further time. The ACCJC’s dismissive attitude to member institutions, students, and even to the Department of Education—its flaunting of rules and regulations, its numerous underground and opaque standards—all suggest that NACIQI should not be hopeful that the ACCJC can or will reform itself.”
Win-Mon Kyi, a first generation Burmese-American student and president of the CCSF Asian Student Union said, “My parents took English classes and basic skills courses at City College before me. They own a restaurant in San Francisco in which I work while going to school. The cuts to diversity studies departments put my dreams in jeopardy. Keeping the ACCJC for any moment longer will further destabilize thousands more students’ lives.”
To contact members of the delegation who spoke at the hearing, call 510-579-3343.
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.