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California community colleges accrediting panel provides strong oversight

To the editor: The proposal to replace the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) as the accreditor for California community colleges is apparently driven by the intent to punish ACCJC for not capitulating to pressure to undo its action on City College of San Francisco (CCSF). This proposal improperly politicizes the accreditation process, which is supposed to ensure the independence of accrediting agencies to protect students and taxpayers by rigorously ensuring quality standards. ("Give the community college accrediting panel room to improve," editorial, Nov. 18)

No one has disputed the correctness of ACCJC's findings that CCSF failed to meet accreditation standards. The issue of the merit of ACCJC's actions — which should be central to any evaluation of ACCJC — has not been addressed by the board of governors or the chancellor's office of the California community college system.

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Replacement of ACCJC would be short-sighted and send a clear signal that California wants watered-down enforcement at a time when there is a national consensus that accreditors need to be more rigorous in enforcing standards and protecting students and taxpayers.

Steve Kinsella, Morgan Hill, Calif.

Barbara A. Beno, Hercules, Calif.

Kinsella, the president of Gavilan College in Gilroy, chairs the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Beno is the commission's president.

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