In response to the complaint filed by CFT and others, the Department of Education has concluded that the ACCJC has violated Federal regulations in four main areas:
1) Lack of adequate faculty representation on the Visiting Teams for City College of San Francisco and the lack of clarity regarding the composition of visiting teams in ACCJC policy;
2) Failure to comply to conflict of interest requirements. They found that the presence of Barbara Beno’s husband on the CCSF visiting team had “the appearance of” a conflict of interest which violates national standards;
3) Lack of clarity of how ACCJC recommendations are differentiated between “to meet the standard” and “to increase institutional effectiveness” and how an institution, an evaluation team, the Commission, or the public is to know the difference;
4) Inconsistency in the ACCJC’s use of the term “recommendation.” ACCJC is not clear when they use that term to mean that a college has a deficiency in meeting a standard or if the college meets the standard but could use additional effort in that area.
The letter concludes by stating that since the ACCJC is up for renewal by the Department of Education at the end of this year, the Secretary of Education will be conducting a full review which may include other deficiencies that staff has not noted in this preliminary report.
This is a great victory not only for CFT and its allies, but for all Community Colleges within the purview of the ACCJC as we move forward in our quest to reform the accreditation process so that its focus returns to ensuring quality instruction takes place in the classroom. The CFT will continue to work with AFT 2121 and the entire City College of San Francisco community to ensure that accreditation is restored to the college and we will vigorously work to bring real reform to the accrediting commission.
The full letter from the Department of Education is attached.