CFT Reaches Settlement With Accrediting Agency

Earlier this month the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) reached an agreement with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to settle its long-standing lawsuit against the agency and move toward fairer accreditation practices in California’s community colleges.

Originally filed in September 2013, following the ACCJC’s decision to terminate the accreditation of City College of San Francisco, the CFT’s lawsuit sought an injunction to keep the college open, and to stop the agency from violating its own rules and the rule of law.

The agreement lays out a number of important accreditation and policy changes, including:

  • Not interfering with community colleges’ collective bargaining process;
  • Adopting a policy to ensure at least three active duty faculty members are assigned to each college evaluation team;
  • Adopting a policy establishing clear criteria by which the ACCJC may extend for “good cause” the two year period for a college to comply with accreditation standards as to which it has been found deficient;
  • Determining a college’s financial stability, applying its indicators consistently from college to college, and refraining from directing colleges on what specific steps must be taken to achieve that stability;
  • Reaffirming accreditation for 7 years with a follow up report for colleges with minor compliance issues, instead of the recently-adopted eighteen month period of reaffirmation;
  • Strengthening conflict of interest safeguards for commissioners and evaluation team members; and
  • Having the commission’s executive committee recommend deleting accreditation standard III.A.6, requiring student learning outcomes (SLOs) to be used as a component of faculty evaluation.

The settlement also establishes a dispute resolution procedure that begins outside of court in the event that CFT believes the ACCJC is not living up to its commitments.


The California Federation of Teachers represents more than 25,000 faculty in California’s community college system, and 120,000 employees at all levels of education in the state.

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