PRESS RELEASE: FACCC Sponsored AB 404 (Chiu) Introduced to Facilitate Improved State-Federal Communication on Postsecondary Accreditation

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) is pleased to announce the introduction of its sponsored measure, Assembly Bill 404, by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco).

AB 404 will require the California Community College system to solicit feedback from community college stakeholders on the performance of the regional agency that accredits California Community Colleges. The information will be transmitted to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), the entity responsible for advising the U.S. Secretary of Education on postsecondary accreditation. Under the proposal, college officials could provide their input to the Chancellor’s office anonymously, without fear of retaliation.

AB 404 compliments a recommendation in last year’s California State Auditor’s report on accreditation (2013-123),To ensure that community colleges and the public are fully informed regarding the accreditation process, the Chancellor’s office should assist community colleges in communicating their concerns to the commission regarding its transparency and in developing proposals for improving the commission’s transparency policies and practices.”

FACCC President Dean Murakami noted that “Accreditation is a vital tool to measure, assess, and enhance academic programs and the institutional health of our colleges. If done correctly, accreditation should be a collaborative process resulting in institutional improvement. AB 404 will provide our colleges, faculty, students and classified staff a voice that allows for direct and open comment on the performance of an accrediting agency without fear of retribution.” Murakami continued, “To ensure the public is fully informed on the accreditation process, the Chancellor’s office should assist community colleges in communicating their concerns to the federal government. This will translate in improved transparency of accreditation policies and practices.”

FACCC Executive Director Jonathan Lightman remarked “California’s community colleges comprise the largest system of higher education in the country. AB 404 is a common sense measure that will allow our system to have a direct line of communication with the federal government on the integrity of our accrediting process.”

PRESS RELEASE: Faculty Association Responds to Governor’s 2015-16 Budget Proposal

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Responding to today’s release of Governor Brown’s 2015-16 budget proposal, leaders of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) expressed appreciation for the increased attention to college funding, as well as hope that over the coming months legislative leaders will help improve the proposal to address longstanding needs in the community colleges.

Executive Director Jonathan Lightman lauded the Governor for the increased spending of state dollars in the community colleges and praised his efforts for not raising student fees.

“Following years of painful budget cuts, Governor Brown is prioritizing community college funding as one of the state’s most vital investments.”

Lightman also complimented the Governor on recognizing the need to increase the ratio of full- to part-time faculty and ensure access to professional development. He noted that these are both very important to the faculty and will help improve the quality of teaching and learning at the colleges.

Lightman added that this is the first step in a long process, anticipating significant conversations on how the proposal can be improved.

“FACCC looks forward to working with the Governor, Legislature and other community college system partners on assuring that the faculty voice is heard in the budget process and faculty priorities are addressed.”

PRESS RELEASE: Faculty Association Responds to State of the State

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) President Dean Murakami issued the following statement regarding Gov. Jerry Brown’s comments on higher education during the 2015 State of the State address:

“FACCC applauds Gov. Jerry Brown for taking a stand against putting the financial burden of higher education on students. Yes, ‘California is blessed with a rich and diverse system,’ but it can only remain this way when students have an affordable, accessible, quality public higher education through the California Community Colleges, the California State University, and the University of California.”

FACCC looks forward to working with the Governor and the new Legislature in the coming years to strengthen public higher education.

Murakami is a professor of psychology at American River College, where he has been teaching for 24 years.

PRESS RELEASE: Faculty Association Responds to State of the Union

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) Executive Director Jonathan Lightman issued the following statement regarding President Barack Obama’s proposal for free community college during the 2015 State of the Union address:

“FACCC applauds the President for his progressive proposal for community colleges to help students ‘graduate ready for the new economy, without a load of debt.’ This long overdue proposal is at the heart of our advocacy, fighting for an affordable, accessible, quality public higher education through the California Community Colleges.”

FACCC looks forward to reviewing the details of the President’s plan for community colleges, and will continue working to strengthen public higher education in California.

PRESS RELEASE: Faculty Association Releases Statement on California Election Results

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) released the following statement from Executive Director Jonathan Lightman on Tuesday’s elections.

“The disappointing turnout is a reminder to us all to engage in year-round voter and civics education. This can’t simply start during campaign season. FACCC will be redoubling its efforts in the next two years to make voter education a priority for the California Community Colleges.”

“FACCC also congratulates the many community college champions that were elected on Tuesday, including FACCC member Evan Low (D-Campbell),” continued Lightman. “In a majority of the races, Californians gave a vote of confidence to those fighting for affordable, accessible, quality higher education. FACCC looks forward to working with the new Legislature in strengthening our state’s community college system.”

PRESS RELEASE: Faculty Association Responds to Bureau of State Audits Report on Accreditation

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) issued the following statement in response to today’s release of the Bureau of State Audits report on accreditation.

“The Bureau of State Audits report confirmed what thousands of faculty and others in the community college system have long known about the manner in which ACCJC has implemented the accreditation process,” said FACCC Executive Director Jonathan Lightman. “What should be relatively straightforward has become a convoluted entanglement of lawsuits and legislation, all because of an apparent lack of due process, transparency, and consistency.”

“It is now incumbent on the Legislature, the Chancellor’s Office, and the Community College Board of Governors to develop the appropriate legislation and regulations to assure a credible and fair accreditation process for the California Community Colleges. FACCC also calls upon Congress and the U.S. Department of Education to carefully examine this report as it has national implication for higher education policy.”

PRESS RELEASE: Faculty Association Congratulates Appointments of Community College Champions to Committee and Leadership Posts

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) Executive Director Jonathan Lightman issued the following statement regarding the announcement of committee chair and leadership appointments in the California Assembly:

“We congratulate Assemblymember (former FACCC member) Jose Medina (D-Riverside) on becoming chair of the Higher Education Committee, Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D- San Diego) on becoming chair of the Budget Committee, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) on becoming chair of Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance, and Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) on becoming chair of the Appropriations Committee.”

“FACCC is confident these legislators will all be outstanding champions for affordable, accessible, and quality higher education in the California Community Colleges. As a former FACCC member and trustee, Jose Medina comes from a strong background in community college instruction and governance. He is especially well positioned to guide the conversation forward on community college access and success.”

“FACCC also congratulates Assemblymember (and FACCC member) Evan Low (D-Campbell) and Assemblymember (and former Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees President) Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) on their respective appointments as Assistant Majority Whip and Majority Whip. In these appointments, Speaker Atkins has chosen two highly intelligent and dedicated public servants with tremendous backgrounds in community colleges for her leadership team.”

FACCC looks forward to working with the new Legislature in strengthening public higher education through the California Community Colleges.

PRESS RELEASE: Faculty Association Lauds Governor Signing Legislation on Sick Leave

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Faculty Association of California Community Colleges lauds Governor Jerry Brown’s signing of FACCC-sponsored AB 2295 (Ridley-Thomas).

The new law will increase the amount of time community college faculty have to transfer their unused sick leave between districts from one to three years, or within any greater period during which the faculty member’s reemployment rights are protected under a local bargaining agreement in effect in the first district.

“Many of our part-time faculty teach classes at several college campuses over the course of their career and, in some cases, will not know within the narrow one-year window if they will be returning to teach at a specific college,” said FACCC President Dean Murakami. “Allowing a three-year period to transfer sick leave from one district to another brings relief from an onerous requirement, especially for our part-time faculty.”

PRESS RELEASE: Faculty Association Outraged Over Accrediting Commission’s Intransigence

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) is outraged by the unwavering decision by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to deny an extension to City College of San Francisco (CCSF) to correct the issues threatening the institution’s accreditation.

Although the U.S. Department of Education explicitly declared that ACCJC has authority to extend the deadline for CCSF, the ACCJC maintains that approach is impermissible under federal law. In a letter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Commission noted that “ACCJC has determined that it cannot legally maintain CCSF’s accreditation while giving it another opportunity to comply with accreditation standards. New evaluation of the college while maintaining its accreditation…is not permissible under federal law.”

“The ACCJC’s position is completely unacceptable and downright irrational. There is no longer any semblance of operating in the public good,” noted FACCC Executive Director Jonathan Lightman. “They are deliberately misstating federal law, with a consequence of harming tens of thousands of students, faculty, and staff.”

“CCSF has done an incredible job in curing its deficiencies. Ignoring all of the progress is beyond insulting; it is downright destructive.” Lightman concluded, “Thankfully, there will be a full scale judicial review within the context of a trial before final action is taken. All of us anticipate the courts will have a better understanding of the law than the ACCJC.”

PRESS RELEASE: Faculty Association Lauds Signing of Faculty Leave Bill

The Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) applauds Governor Jerry Brown signing AB 675 (Fong).

The FACCC-sponsored legislation ensures California community college faculty who need additional time while on parental leave during their tenure review process will not automatically forfeit a year of their review if the percentage of service completed meets local academic requirements.

“As educators, we know the importance bonding between infant and parent has on the psychological and social success of the child,” said FACCC President Dean Murakami. “The passage of AB 675 provides these faculty members and new parents with the necessary time for bonding.”

“Community college faculty members who celebrate the birth of a child during their tenure review process will no longer be faced with choosing between their careers or bonding with their child.”