“ACCJC Gone Wild”: CFT critiques the accreditors
Our District colleges are currently in the midst of investing a huge amount of time, energy and money in preparing for another accreditation by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), which accredits two-year colleges in California and Hawaii. Sanctions imposed on colleges by the ACCJC in recent years have far exceeded the total sanctions by all other accreditation bodies in the country combined.
Who actually runs the ACCJC? What is the basis for the huge number of sanctions they have been imposing? What laws govern the decisions taken by ACCJC and who oversees their actions? These are some of the many questions that were taken up in an eye-opening report, titled “ACCJC Gone Wild”, written by Martin Hittelman, former President of the California Federation of Teachers (CFT). The original version was published in August 2012, and numerous revised versions have been put out since that date, with the most recent revision released June 3, 2013 . The report extensively analyzes many issues concerning how the ACCJC operates and it is highly recommended reading for anyone involved in or interested in the accreditation process. Download "ACCJC Gone Wild” here.
On April 30, 2013, the CFT filed a 298-page complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, which oversees the Commission, calling for the reversal of the ACCJC's severe 2012 sanction on City College of San Francisco (CCSF). CFT accused the Commission of violating state and federal laws and of engaging in conflicts of interest including the fact that the husband of Barbara Beno, the commission's president, was part of a team evaluating CCSF in March 2012. The Commission responded to the CFT complaint with a report issued on May 30 which essentially denied any merit to the CFT's charges (although it did not respond in any depth to the union's complaint that the commission has violated federal and state laws in its dealings with CCSF.) CFT president Joshua Pechthalt released a press statement commenting on the Commission's response that: "The dismissal of our complaint as 'without merit' by ACCJC is further proof that the agency overseeing community college accreditation lacks transparency and any capacity for self-critical analysis. We are extremely troubled by the way ACCJC has steered the accreditation process away from those values."
For more background on the ACCJC's actions and faculty critiques, see the May 1 article, Faculty vs. Accreditor, published by Inside HigerEd.