Accjc gone wild



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ACCJC GONE WILD


By Martin Hittelman

December 15, 2014


Martin Hittelman is a retired community college faculty member. He is a Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Los Angeles Valley College and President Emeritus of the California Federation of Teachers. He is a former member of the California Community College State Academic Senate Executive Committee, former President of the CFT Community College Council, and a former Vice President of the California Federation of Labor.

Updated versions of ACCJC Gone Wild and other documents can be found at www.accreditationwatch.com.


Martin Hittelman can be reached at martyhitt@gmail.com
Note: In many sections of this paper, items have been bolded in order to add emphasis.
illustration: lalo alcaraz

Table of Contents


ACCJC GONE WILD 1

Table of Contents 2

Introduction 2

What is ACCC and How Has It Gone Wrong? 2

ACCJC Violations Confirmed by U.S. Department of Education 2

Student Learning Outcomes 4

Widely Accepted Criteria 5

High Rate of Sanctions 6

Major Reasons for ACCJC Sanctions 7

Secrecy in ACCJC Operations 8

ACCJC and Advocates 9

Methods Used in Gone Wild 10

Chapter 1: Higher Education Accreditation 11

ACCJC and WASC 12

Violations of the Code of Federal Regulations 12

WASC 13


Quality Assurance, Continuous Improvement, or Compliance 14

Application Process for Accreditation Agencies to Receive Reaccreditation 15

Staff Analysis of an Accrediting Agency's Application 16

Hearing Before the Advisory Committee 16

“National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) 17

Chapter 2: The ACCJC in Action 20

New Appeal Process Controlled by the ACCJC 21

College Ability to Plan, Prepare Reports, Review 22

Sanctions Criteria 23

ACCJC’s Extreme Number of Sanctions 24

U.S. Department of Education Pressure 25

Sanctions at January 2012 meeting 25

June 8-10, 2011 Sanctions 26

January 10-12, 2012 Sanctions 26

June 6-8, 2012 Sanctions 27

January 9-11, 2013 Sanctions 28

Actions on California Community Colleges 29

2011-2014 29

Sanctions 2003-2008 31

January 2009 – January 2012 32

Top Perceived Deficiencies Causing Sanctions 32

June 5-7, 2013 Actions 33

Accreditation Agency Sanctions 2013 35

January 2014 Common Deficiencies 36

ACCJC Actions of January 8-10, 2014 36

ACCJC SANCTIONS OF JANUARY 2014 – A NEW DIRECTION? 37

ASCCJC Actions of June 2014 38

Trends in Deficiencies Leading to Sanction January 2009 to January 2014 40

Chapter 3 Problems With ACCJC 42

Out of Touch With California Educational Environment 43

Public Disclosure and Retaliation 43

History of Complaints Against ACCJC 44

Hittelman Letter of November 21, 2001 on Standards 44

October 13, 2008 Hittelman Letter to ACCJC 45

December 2008 ACCJC Reply Filled with Errors 47

CCA/CTA Correspondence March 2009 49

CTA Letter March 2009 50

California Community Colleges Task Force Oct. 2009 51

Recommendations to ACCJC from Task Force 51

ACCJC Response to Concerns of Chancellor Scott and the Task Force Jan. 2012 52

The RP Group Findings of February 2011 54

CFT letter of January 8, 2013 Concerning Failure to Obey Timelines 56

Hittelman Complaint/Comment of April 30, 2013 57

ACCJC Response of May 31, 2013 58

June 26, 2013 Hittelman Response 59

Attacks on Board of Trustee Members 59

Los Angeles Southwest College 61

Ventura College 61

Chapter 4 Complaints/Lawsuits Filed and Reponses 62

Hittelman THIRD PARTY COMMENT FORM 63

June 28, 2013 Response from ACCJC 64

July 25, 2013 ACCJC Reply to Hittelman Complaint and Hittelman analysis 64

October 1, 2013 Hittelman Request for Information 66

City College of San Francisco - PLACED ON SHOW CAUSE (2012), ACCREDITATION REMOVED (2013) 67

Resolution of the Academic Senate of the California Community Colleges. 72

CFT Complaint Filed on April 30, 2013 72

ACCJC Response to CFT Complaint 73

May 30, 2013 Accrediting Commission Perfunctory Response to CFT Complaint/Comment 74

Letter to Chronicle of Higher Education by Commissioner Frank Gornick 76

CFT Statement on CCSF Loss of Accreditation 78

Statewide Community College Chancellor Brice Harris July 3, 2013 Statement on Appointment of Special Trustee 79

Parallel to Compton College 80

July 8, 2013 CFT Remarks to the Board of Governors 81

Statewide and CCSF Student Success Scorecards 2014 83

CFT Complaint to Department of Education July 26, 2013 85

ACCJC Information to the Field - July 2013 – An Unlikely Story 86

Accreditation Group finds ACCJC out of compliance – August 13, 2013 91

ACCJC Press Release of August 13, 2013 93

Letter from AFT Local 2121 to Scott-Skillman and Agrella 94

August 16, 2013 Letter from Beno to Agrella on Confidentiality of Review Process 96

August 19, 2013 Agrella Letter to the College Community 99

Save CCSF Coalition Complaint of August 19, 2013. 100

CFT letter to Brice Harris August 19, 2013 101

CFT CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT OF SEPTEMBER 24, 2013 103

Save CCSF Rally - November 7, 2013 106

California Joint Legislative Audit Committee – Action on August 21, 2013 108

Call for State Audit 108

Backgound for Call 110

2013-123 AUDIT SCOPE AND OBJECTIVES - Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges - Community College Costs and Nonstate-Approved Policies 112

San Francisco City Attorney files Law Suit August 22, 2013 112

ACCJC Press Release of August 23, 2013 on SF Attorney Suit 114

Trustee of Coast Community College District Support of Complaint August 20, 2013 114

Letter from State Superintendent of Public Instruction to ACCJC, September 17, 2013 115

ACCJC Press Release on Superintendent Tom Torlakson's Letter 117

September 5, 2013 Letter from Academic Senate to Department of Education 118

September 10, 2013 Complaint by the League of United Latin American Citizens 118

Complaint of September 25, 2013 by the San Mateo County Community College District 120

October 7, 2013 Letter from San Mateo Chancellor Galatolo 121

October 8, 2013 Letter from Beno to Dr. Bonnie Dowd Requesting Help 123

Oct. 24, 2013 Chancellor’s with Opposing Views 124

ACCJC Commissioner Kinsella Writes 124

San Mateo Chancellor Galatolo Replies 124

Save CCSF Coalition Files November 4, 2013 Lawsuit 126

Academic Senate for California Community Colleges Addresses ACCJC Issues 129

Visiting Team Reports and Privacy 133

Commission Composition 134

CFT and S.F. City Attorney File for Preliminary Injunction – Nov. 24, 2013 138

CFT Memorandum of Points 139

S.F. Injunction Information 141

Harris letter to Herrera of January 2, 2014 141

Superior Court Judge Karnow Issues Preliminary Injunction January 2, 2014 143

ACCJC January 13, 2014 Misleading Press Release 144

Department of Education Staff Report on ACCJC – November 2013 149

§602.13 Acceptance of the agency by others. 151

§602.18 Ensuring consistency in decision-making 154

January 28, 2014 Letter to Beno from Department of Education 157

Sections Violated by ACCJC as noted in letter and [remarks by Dept. of Education staff] 159

Chapter 5 ACCJC in 2014 163

January 2014 Meeting of the ACCJC 164

Lack of Transparency - CFT Letter of January 9, 2014 167

Report on ACCJC Meeting of January 10, 2013 168

Some of the Changes 169

New Policy On Complaints Against ACCJC 169

Policy on Commission Actions on Institutions 170

Policy on the Right and Responsibilities of the Commission and Member Institutions 170

Policy on Access to Commission Meetings 171

Review of CCSF Removal of Accreditation Decision 171

Letter from Saginor to Agrella 172

March 3, 2014 Save CCSF Answers ACCJC Claims to Dismiss Case 173

March 2014 Letter from Congressmembers to Secretary of Education Duncan 175

January 2014 ACCJC Meeting - Has Anything Really Changed? 176

Cabrillo College - Reaffirm Accreditation 178

ACCJC Threatens San Jose/Evergreen Community College District 178

San Mateo Community College – Reaffirm Accreditation 179

Victor Valley College - Remove Probation, Reaffirm Accreditation 182

Solano College – Remove Warning and Reaffirm Accreditation 183

Woodland Community College - Continue on Warning 184

College of the Sequoias – SHOW CAUSE to WARNING 185

Cuyamaca College - Reaffirm Accreditation 186

Grossmont College - Reaffirm Accreditation 188

Cuesta College - Removed from Warning, Reaffirmed Accreditation 189

Honolulu Community College – Removed from Warning, Accreditation Reaffirmed 189

El Camino College - Removed from Warning 189

January 2014 Revised Standards 189

Hittelman Statement to the ACCJC on Standards Revision 193

Feb. 7, 2014 ACCJC Threatens San Jose/Evergreen Community College District Over SLOs 193

On April 12, 2014, the California Community College Academic Senate approved the following resolution: 195

April 14, 2014 Letter from CCSF Chancellor Tyler to the College Community 198

Errors seen in commissioners' opinion piece on CCSF funding 198

April 18, 2014 Chief Executive Officers to ACCJC 199

Legislative Bills as of May 11, 2014 200

May 20, 2014 letter from BOG to ACCJC - the Smoking Gun? 203

May 27, 2014 Rejection of Reconsideration of CCSF Sanction 205

May 30, 2014 Resolution by California State Legislature 208

2014 Visiting Teams Light on Faculty Representation 208

June 11, 2014 - ACCJC Announces Proposed Language on Terminating Accreditation 218

CCSF Appeal Hearing Decision June 12, 2014 219

The Decision 221

Preliminary Considerations 221

Basic Contentions 222

Bias of the Panel 223

Declaration of Brice Harris In Support of Herrera Law Suit June 10, 2014 225

July 21, 2014 ACCJC Decision on Remand 227

Letter from ACCJC Accepting Restoration Status 229

June 2014 Sanctions – Inconsistent Results 231

June 2014 ACCJC Sanctions 232

Los Angeles Valley College - Continue Warning 232

Los Angeles Mission College - Remove Warning and Reaffirm Accreditation 233

Barstow Community College - Remove Warning and Reaffirm Accreditation 235

Ohlone College - Reaffirm Accreditation 235

Hartnell College - Remove Probation, Issue Warning 237

Moreno Valley College - Reaffirm Accreditation 239

Orange Coast College - Remove Warning and Reaffirm Accreditation 241

Coastline Community College - Remove Warning and Reaffirm Accreditation 242

Evergreen Valley College - Probation 242

San Jose City College - Probation 242

Cerritos College - Warning 243

West Valley College - Warning 245

Victor Valley College - Probation 246

Golden West College - Continue on Warning 248

Palo Verde College - Probation 249

Los Angeles Southwest College - Remove Warning and Reaffirm Accreditation 251

Lassen Community College - Reaffirm Accreditation 252

Norco College - Reaffirm Accreditation 253

June 26, 2014 California Bureau of State Audits (BSA) Report 254

New Commissioners - July 1, 2014 256

Gloria Romero 256

July 16, 2014 Judge Rejects ACCJC’s Attempt to Slow Down Legal Case 256

July 28, 2014 CCSF Leadership Applies for Restoration Status 257

Letter from ACCJC Accepting Restoration Status 259

Bonta Legislation Approved 261

October 10, 2014: Judge again rejects ACCJC attempt to stop trial 261

Proposed Change to Board of Governors' Regulation on Accreditation 261

October 14, 2014: CCSF Submits Accreditation Self Evaluation Report 262

Community College Consultation recommends removal of ACCJC in Board of Governors Regulations 263

October 22, 2014 CEOs to Beno and Herrera 264

The People v. ACCJC Goes to Trial October 27-31, 2014 265

Oct. 31, 2014 ACCJC: WHAT’S EDUCATION GOT TO DO WITH IT?! By Alvin Ja 271

IN WHOSE INTERESTS: PUBLIC, OR ACCREDITING COMMUNITY? 272

QUALITY OF EDUCATION NOT RELEVANT TO ACCREDITATION STANDARDS 272

UNFAIRNESS OF COMMISSIONER SELECTION/ELECTION 273

THE CONCEPT OF TEST VALIDITY 273

ABUSE OF THE PUBLIC TRUST 273

FEDERAL REGULATIONS: KEYS TO THE KINGDOM WITH A LICENSE TO KILL 274

OPPRESSIVE, UNSCRUPULOUS, AND ABOVE-THE- LAW 274

MEMBER INSITITUTIONS, CCC CHANCELLOR’S OFFICE & BOARD OF GOVERNORS 274

EDUCATION COMMUNITY 275

November 15, 2014 Plenary Session of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges 275

“Student Learning Outcomes and Faculty Evaluations (Approved Nov. 15, 2014) 275

“Accreditation Evaluation Teams and Commission Actions (Approved November 15, 2014) 276

“Faculty Participation on ACCJC External Review Committees (Approved November 14, 2014) 277

“Freedom to Choose (Referred to ASCCC Executive Committee for Consideration) 277

November 17, 2014 Board of Governors Meeting 278

Removal of ACCJC mention in BOG Regulations 278

Selected Testimony Before Board of Governors on Removing ACCJC from Regulations 279

Return of CCSF Trustees to Power 282

Selected Summary Testimony Before the California Community College Board of Governors 283

November 17, 2014 People’s Motion to Amend Complaint 292

November 21, 2014 Memo from Beno to Chief Executive Officers with respect to Team members 293

December 2, 2014 People’s Case Summary 294

A. The ACCJC Engaged In Unlawful Acts And Should Be Found Liable Under The Unlawful" Prong Of The UCL 295

B. The ACCJC Engaged In Unfair Acts And Should Be Found Liable Under The "Unfair" Prong Of The UCL. 295

C. The ACCJC's Accreditation Activities Are Business Practices Within The Meaning Of Section 17200. 296

D. The ACCJC's Attempts To Shield Itself From. Judicial Review And Immunize Its Conduct From Liability Continue To Fail. 296

II. THE COURT CAN AND SHOULD VACATE THE ACCJC'S TAINTED DECISIONS 296

a. City College is Highly Successful At Educating Students 296

b. The ACCJC Exaggerates The Issues At City College. 296

3. The Relief Sought Is Not Mooted By The Restoration Policy. 297

December 2, 2014 ACCJC’s Case Summary 297

2. The ACCJC did not violate the UCL in the Composition of the ACCJC's Evaluation. Team or Show Cause Team. 298

a) Peter Crabtree's presence on the Evaluation Team was not "unlawful" as a violation of either 34 C.F.R. section 602.15(a)(6) or the ACCJC's own policies. 298

d) There is no evidence that the number of academics on either the Evaluation Team or Show Cause Team was "unfair." 298

b) Dr. Beno's conduct as the reader of the Show Cause Report was not unfair to CCSF 298

a) The ACCJC's use of the term "recommendation" was not unlawful or unfair. 298

b) CCSF was afforded every opportunity required by the DOE regulations and ACCJC policies to review and comment on the deficiencies relied upon by the Commission. 298

B. The Remedy Sought by the City Attorney Is Unmanageable and improper. 298

DECEMBER 10, 2014 Oral Arguments in The People vs. ACCJC 299

December 18, 2014 Summary of CFT Complaint Against ACCJC 300

Out of Compliance 301

Inconsistent Decision Making 302

Inconsistent Fiscal Standards 303

Continue to Violate Conflict of Interest Requirements 304

Hearing Panel Bias 304

Appeals Process Violated 307

Chapter 6 Sanctions on Colleges – A Picture of Inconsistent Decisions Before 2014 307

Compton College - DENIAL OF ACCREDITATION (2005) 308

College of the Sequoias – PLACED ON SHOW CAUSE (2013) 311

Diablo Valley College – PLACED ON SHOW CAUSE (2009), REMOVE SHOW CAUSE AND PLACED ON PROBATION (2010), REAFFIRMED ACCREDITATION (2011) 313

Cuesta College – PLACED ON SHOW CAUSE (2012), PLACED ON WARNING (2013) 316

College of the Redwoods - SHOW CAUSE (2012), REMOVE SHOW CAUSE IMPOSE PROBATION 317

Solano Community College – PLACED ON WARNING (2012), PLACED ON PROBATION (2013) 320

Bakersfield College – REAFFIRM ACCREDITATION (2013) 322

Merced College – REMOVE WARNING AND REAFFIRM ACCREDITATION (2013) 323

West Hills College District - ACCREDITATION REAFFIRMED (2011) 323

Los Angeles Mission College – WARNING (2013) 327

Los Angeles Pierce College – ACCREDITATION REAFFIRMED (2013) 330

San Diego Mesa College – ACCREDITATION REAFFIRMED (2011) 331

Fullerton College – REMOVE WARNING AND MOVE TO ACCREDITATION (2012) 331

College of Marin – ACCREDITATION REAFFIRMED (2013) 332

Shasta College – PLACED ON PROBATION (2012) 333

Los Angeles Southwest College – PLACED ON PROBATION (2012), REMOVED FROM PROBATION AND PLACED ON WATCH (2013) 334

Los Angeles Valley College – PLACED ON WARNING (2013) 336

Copper Mountain College – ACCREDITATION REAFFIRMED (2013) 338

Woodland Community College – PLACED ON WARNING (2013) 338

Yuba College – PLACED ON WARNING (2013) 341

Barstow Community College – CONTINUED ON WARNING (2013) 343

Victor Valley College – PLACED ON PROBATION (2012) 344

Gavilan College – ACCREDITATION REAFFIRMED (2013) 345

Ventura County Community Colleges PLACED ON PROBATION (2012), ACCREDITATION REAFFIRMED (2013) 346

Peralta Community College District Colleges – PLACED ON WARNING (2012), WARNING REMOVED AND REAFFIRMED ACCREDITION (2013) 347

Coast Community College District – PLACED ON WARNING (2013) 347

Imperial Valley College – PLACED ON WARNING (2013) 349

College of Marin – REMOVED FROM WARNING (2013) 350

Fresno City College – REMOVED FROM WARNING (2013) 350

Antelope Valley College – Midterm Report (2013) 350

El Camino College – PLACED ON WARNING (2013) 352

Hartnell College – PLACED ON PROBATION (2013) 353

West Los Angeles College – PLACED ON WARNING (2012) , ACCREDITATION REAFFIRMED (2013) 357

Los Angeles Harbor College – REMOVE PROBATION AND REAFFIRM ACCREDITATION (2013) 360

Modesto Junior College – PLACED ON PROBATION (2012) 360

The Lumina Foundation and the ACCJC 361

Conclusion 364

ACCJC Appeals Procedure Manual 368

34 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) – Relevant Sections 373

Index 380





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