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All About Accreditation 

Accreditation Executive Summary

“…the (U.S. Department of Education) makes no distinction between accreditation bodies, giving all equal standing.” (From Wikipedia)

1. Accreditation and authority to operate are widely misunderstood by members of the public. This confusion is exacerbated by functionaries of the traditional system who misrepresent the facts in order to retain their control, power and access to public money. Most of all, state government officials and people who oppose freedom of education are opposed to nontraditional alternatives to the existing system.

2. Accreditation in the United States is NOT a function of either the state or federal governments.

3. Authority to operate is a function of state governments, not the federal government.

4. The states vary widely in the extent to which they either do or don’t regulate private institutions of higher education.

5. Some states DO NOT REGULATE private institutions of higher education at all.

6. The federal government is constitutionally prohibited from regulating private higher education in the states.

7. The public can easily protect itself with relatively simple inquiries into the credentials of an educational institution and its graduates. The public does not need “big brother” to think for it.

Some Details from Wikipedia

“Education accreditation is a type of quality assurance process under which services and operations of an educational institution or program are evaluated by an external body to determine if applicable standards are met. Should standards be met, accredited status is granted by the agency. In the United States…the quality assurance process is independent of government and performed by private membership associations.

When discussing accreditation in the United States, it is important that the concept of accreditation not be confused with authority to operate. The authority to operate an educational entity in the U.S. is granted by each of the states individually. The U.S. is a federal republic, and the federal government possesses only specific limited powers, with all others reserved to the states (pursuant to the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.)

“Therefore, the authority of the U.S. Department of Education does not extend to authorizing schools to operate, to enroll students, or to award degrees. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) is not responsible for accreditation of institutions, NOR is the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a non-governmental organization. Both recognize reputable accrediting agencies for institutions of higher education and provide guidelines as well as resources and relevant data.

In the United States, education accreditation has long been established as a peer review process coordinated by accreditation commissions and the members.

“…the U.S. Department of Education officially states, it does not accredit schools. Instead, accreditation commissions are formed, funded, and operated by their members to create an academic community that is self-regulating.

“…The federal government makes no distinction between accreditation bodies, giving all equal standing. There is no similar federal government list of recognized accreditation agencies for primary and secondary schools. There is wide variation among the individual states in the requirements applied to non-public primary and secondary schools.”

From the Office of Postsecondary Education 

US Department of Education:

“Accreditation in the United States.”

(Start quote) “The United States has NO federal ministry of education or other centralized authority exercising single national control over postsecondary education institutions in this country. The states assume varying degrees of control over education, but, in general, institutions of higher education are permitted to operate with considerable independence and autonomy. As a consequence, American education institutions can vary widely in the character and quality of their programs. Accreditation DOES NOT provide automatic acceptance by an institution of credit earned at another institution, NOR does it give assurance of acceptance by graduates by employers. Acceptance of students or graduates is always the prerogative of the receiving institutions or employer. For these reasons, besides ascertaining the accredited status of a school or program, students should take additional measures to determine, prior to enrollment, whether or not their educational goals will be met through attendance at a particular institution.” (End quote)

Academic Fallacies

“Since a college’s or universities academic prestige (unfortunately) depends primarily on its professor’s research and publications, students will not … get a better education at the more prestigious institutions with the higher paid faculty…”

“One of the biggest fallacies about academic institutions is that attendance at big-name colleges and universities is virtually essential for reaching the top later in life.”

“The four institutions with the highest percentage of their undergraduates going on to receive PhDs are all small colleges, with less than 2,000 undergraduates.

… Some have fewer than 1,000 students…”

“Of the chief executive officers of the 50 largest American corporations surveyed in 2006, only four had Ivy League degrees and just over half graduated from state colleges, city colleges, or a community college.”

“Some, including Michael Dell and Bill Gates did not graduate at all!”*

* Economic Facts and Fallacies by Dr. Thomas Sowell

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