“ACCJC’s disaccreditation of CCSF is like going to the doctor for a broken limb and having heart excision as the remedy” said California Federation of Teachers (CFT) President Josh Pechthalt yesterday at a town hall on community college accreditation. Pechthalt was not the only impassioned voice at that town hall. He and hundreds of supporters of CCSF were joined by U.S. Representatives Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) and Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto). Rep. Speier noted that Dr. Barbara Beno, who heads up ACCJC, had been invited to participate in the forum but declined the invitation. “Her lack of responsiveness is emblematic of the problem” said Rep. Speier. The town hall is just one of the ways students, unions, community and legislators are coming together to save the City College of San Francisco (CCSF).
When we last discussed the CCSF the the CFT and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 2121 were working on two fronts: in the courts to prevent the closure of CCSF and continuing their dialogue with the community.
The lawsuit filed by CFT and AFT Local 2121 is now one of three lawsuits facing the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a lawsuit against the commission in August and now “[t]he Save CCSF Coalition, a group of students, faculty, staff and other City College supporters” will file another “seeking to nullify the ACCJC’s actions against the school because of alleged violations of federal and other regulations by the commission in its review of City College” reports the local ABC affiliate.
But the ACCJC is not planning to go quietly. Last week they attempted to have Herrera’s lawsuit remanded to federal court, which would significantly delay the proceedings. However, this tactic was decisively dismissed and the proceedings will remain in San Francisco Superior Court. The CFT and AFT commend this decision and hope the court comes to a speedy conclusion in all cases to end the uncertainty faced by CCSF.
A town hall was held yesterday at CCSF to continue the ongoing discussion between students, faculty, and lawmakers about the importance of City College and the issues in the current accreditation system. The full comments submitted by CFT can be read here the press release from the event is below (emphasis added).
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.
[Fred Glass, Nicole Hochsprung, updated: Chris Goff, 1:30 11/8/2013]