In a delicious turnabout, the federal Department of Education has threatened to yank the accreditation of the ACCJC, the agency that is trying to shut down City College.
The move came in response to complaints by the California Federation of Teachers that the ACCJC is out of control and has failed to follow federal guidelines for site visits, conflicts of interests and other areas.
In an Aug. 13 letter, Kay W. Gilcher, who heads the accreditation group at the DOE, states that the ACCJC "does not meet the requirements" of several parts of the federal code, particularly involving site-visit teams and conflicts. In essence, the department is upholding the CFT complaint.
In fact, the DOE has issued its own "show cause" order, giving the ACCJC 12 months to correct its problems and threatening to shut down or replace the agency if major changes aren't made.
"Unfortunately, this doesn't say anything specifically about City College," trustee Rafael Mandelman told me. "But it does say that the ACCJC doesn't behave right."
It's a rare and stinging rebuke for an agency that has been secretive, unaccountable, and seems hell-bent on transforming the mission of community colleges. And now that the shoe is on the other foot, perhaps the ACCJC will be a bit more willing to give City College another chance.
UPDATE: You can read the entire letter here.