1. Accreditation Regulations

There should be a government-determined nationwide standard for accrediting educational institutions of all types. The purpose of this accreditation is to insure that all such accredited schools are adequately teaching their subject matter at levels which are considered functionally efficient by this government agency. Schools falling below functionally efficient levels will have one year to return to a level of minimum functional efficiency. If they fail to come up to passing levels of functional efficiency by this time, they will lose their accreditation until they show that they can educate their students to functionally efficient levels in the subjects taught.

The minimum functional efficiency level required for the federal accreditation of an educational institution should be defined as a point in which at least 75% of its students score an average of at least 75% in all test materials and critical assignments issued. Testing materials, past and present, critical assignments (such as papers, reports, etc.) as well as any relevant grading criteria must be submitted for review to this federal accreditation agency upon its request so that a sense of the comprehensiveness and adequacy of testing and grading could be gained by the federal agency.

Individual states would be able to develop higher, more stringent standards for educational institutions to meet in order to receive state accreditation, however, states may not force any educational institution to meet the state standards in any way including through the use of fines, revocation of licenses, arrests or other such means. States may, of course, withhold state funds to any educational institution within the state that does not meet the state’s accreditation standards or for any other reason the state may choose.

Any educational institution which lacks accreditation from any government entity, even if it has never been accredited or has no intention of seeking accreditation in the future, cannot be required to close down or even modify its activities in any way. All educational institutions can educate as they see fit. Accreditation is only a means by which the public can be reasonably assured that an individual who has been educated in an accredited institution has achieved a functional understanding of the topics covered in those courses that the school says the student has successfully completed. Students attending unaccredited institutions may take standardized tests for their grade level (for a fee) from accredited institutions, and if passed, such students could be designated as accredited.

All educational facilities who seek to gain or maintain accreditation would be required to pay an annual fee to this government agency responsible for accreditations. This fee will be a small percentage (perhaps .1%) of the total revenue generated by the educational facility each year. This fee could be paid retroactively, meaning that payment for accreditation bestowed for one academic year would not be due until the educational facility has determined its total revenues for that same academic year.

The non-accredited status of any school must be disclosed (throughout the period of non-compliance) on all official documents relating to application, school registration, course registration, billing and receipts, even if the school does not intend to become accredited or reaccredited.

Every educational institution (accredited or not) must be listed in a public database along with all accreditations that are currently applicable for each one.  Each institution’s current address and department telephone numbers must also be included in this public database.

All accredited schools should be required to provide, either free or for a fee, written information (could be on a website) answering common questions.  Included in this information should be things like staff numbers and titles, school programs and summaries, a brief school history and statistics about enrollment, scores and other relevant matters.  Enough information should be made available so that a person would be able to make an informed decision.

2 Responses to “1. Accreditation Regulations”

  • Taylor B: February 12, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    The idea of a national accreditation standard is good in theory for making sure that all schools reach a certain benchmark of success. However, your proposal is problematic for many reasons; I will mention a few. Firstly, it is disturbing that the federal government would be able to decide what–and how–all schools are accredited. You say that schools can teach whatever they want, but if they are not accredited, then parents will feel led to not send their children there. This would be a way for the federal government to oppose, and effectively restrict, attendance at schools that do not teach what the federal govt. wants them to teach.

    Why do you say that there is a fee for accreditation? Why would schools PAY to perform well? It seems like they should get rewarded, not penalized, for performing well. Perhaps THEY should get .1% of their revenue from the government.

  • Policy Proposals Moderator: February 14, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    I see your point about endowing one agency of the federal government to be charged with the task of accrediting educational institutions and the potential of using such power to unduly influence the behavior of certain educational institutions.

    However, I believe that the larger problem is that the current hodgepodge of accrediting institutions make it unnecessarily difficult to compare the quality of any educational institution in the nation to any other educational institution in the nation. I think it is beneficial to have one standard by which one can measure any institution. Tangentially, this may also help standardize the course names and subject matter across the nation so that transferring credits would be a much more straightforward process than it is now.

    To address the problems of corruption that you mentioned: creating transparency and designing the proper checks and balances would probably be the best solution we can manage. Opening up the accreditation criteria, process and details to outside, spontaneous, public review, would be a powerful constrain against corruption.

    The proposed fee charged to accredited institution was designed to cover the costs associated with running these accreditation tests and assessments. I believe that, within reason, government programs should generally try to be self sufficient in their funding. Also, being accredited does not mean that a school performs well. It only means that a school has reached a certain minimal quality of education, according to the accreditation criteria.

Leave a Reply