Phi Beta Cons

What Accreditation Really Does

Anne Neal has an excellent piece on Minding the Campus today, taking a look at recent actions by one accrediting association (Western) that have nothing to do with educational quality, but simply demonstrate its interest in meddling in school-governance matters.

I’ve posted a comment there, but will reiterate it here. The idea that college accreditation should be in the hands of regional monopolies makes no sense at all. It would be wonderful if one of the schools under fire by Western were to say, “We’ll go elsewhere, then.” I don’t think there is any legal reason why schools must observe the borders the regional accrediting associations have drawn. If a school were to break away from its regional accreditor and apply for accreditation with another, the losing accreditor would, I suspect, get mauled in court if it tried to block the move.
The idea of regional accrediting associations is antique and ought to go the way of the dinosaurs.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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