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  1. #1
    John Bear is offline Senior Member
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    Post South Dakota Senate votes on new law

    I am grateful to Dr. Michael Cox of Rushmore University for today's information that the South Dakota Senate Education committee voted
    7-0 to pass the tough new school licensing bill, despite extensive lobbying by Rushmore and others.

    The full Senate will presumably be voting soon, and this could well spell the end of South Dakota as a location of convenience for schools without recognized accreditation.

    Now's a good time to own a mailbox rental store in Wyoming or Montana.

    John Bear
    Author/co-author: 15 editions of Bears Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning (10 Speed Press/Random House)
    Degree Mills: the billion-dollar industry that has sold more than a million fake diplomas (Prometheus Books)
    Finding Money for College, and 20+ other books on consumerism, cooking, computers, and bestsellers.
    B.A., M.J., University of California Berkeley; Ph.D. Michigan State University

  2. #2
    bgossett is offline Registered User
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    Post

    Originally posted by John Bear:
    ... Now's a good time to own a mailbox rental store in Wyoming or Montana.
    Or to be a registered agent in the Caribbean.



    ------------------
    Bill Gossett
    Bill Gossett

  3. #3
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    Bravo!!!


  4. #4
    Bill Huffman is offline Registered User
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    Post

    Hopefully it will pass and be signed by the governor then another weak link in the chain against degree mills will be strengthened. A small but important victory. Good news is a lot more fun than bad news so here's a special thanks for the good news.

  5. #5
    speedoflight is offline Registered User
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    Seems to me that what is truly needed is a MUCH STRONGER U.S. Dept of Education . Degree mills and the varieties of accreditation bodies that have proliferated are a result of a weak U.S. Dept of Education . There are very few developed countries in the world where the official government body is not a strong enough enforcer of the standards of education . In most countries, schools cannot exist without a nod from their ministries of education . Thereby as long as you attend school, doesn't matter private or public or whether in a small town or big city, your education is recognized by all. I think there is something very wrong with what is happening when the standards of education are not set by a government body but by private accreditation bodies.

  6. #6
    Frangop is offline Registered User
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    Post

    What will now happen to Rushmore University ??

    CFr

  7. #7
    BillDayson is offline Registered User
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    Post

    Originally posted by speedoflight:
    Seems to me that what is truly needed is a MUCH STRONGER U.S. Dept of Education . Degree mills and the varieties of accreditation bodies that have proliferated are a result of a weak U.S. Dept of Education .
    If you want to eliminate all the fuss and bother, just pay attention to those colleges and universities that are regionally accredited. Ignore all the other American schools. Problem solved.


    I think there is something very wrong with what is happening when the standards of education are not set by a government body but by private accreditation bodies.
    I strongly disagree.

    Why in the world would quality assurance by a "government body" be any more credible than by a "private accreditation body"? Bureaucrats don't have any special expertise in higher education .

    The regional accreditors are associations whose members are the regionally accredited colleges and universities themselves. Those schools band together to provide continuing peer review for each other and for new applicants.

    That means that education standards are being set by the higher education community itself, not by a single politically appointed goverment office. Suppose that your school is an applicant for accreditation in California. What is more credible, being examined by an organization that includes members like Stanford and Cal Tech, or being examined by Bill Clinton's or GW Bush's political appointees?

    I agree that the lax states should immediately strengthen their higher education licensing laws. Degree mills should not be permitted to exist in the United States. But accomplishing that by turning over micromanagement of higher education to the federal government would be paying too high a price.



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  9. #8
    David Boyd is offline Registered User
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    Post

    This bill has passed in the Senate and sent to the House Committee on Education . It cleared the House Committee on February 22nd and sent to the House.

    I'll say one postive thing about South Dakota, once they identify a problem, they don't waste time. In most states, this type of legislation would take months if not years.


  10. #9
    Rich Douglas is offline Registered User
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    Originally posted by speedoflight:
    Seems to me that what is truly needed is a MUCH STRONGER U.S. Dept of Education . Degree mills and the varieties of accreditation bodies that have proliferated are a result of a weak U.S. Dept of Education .

    (snipped)
    Actually, the source for this is weak and inconsitent state governments. There is no guarantee the federal government would do a better job. It might set the bar so low as to create South Dakota conditions everywhere. I doubt states that have strict standards would go for that.

    There may be constitutional issues afoot as well. The power to regulate universities isn't specified in the constitution, and, therefore, is reserved for the states.

    I doubt there is the will in government to strengthen the USDOE. In fact, states-rights activists hate it. Reagan pledged to kill it. Bush styled himself the "education president," then ignored it. And if it requires a constitutional amendment, fahgitaboutit.

    While the degree mill problem is very real and rather large, it won't go away by federal governmental intervention. In the days of the Internet, it is quite easy to set up and operate a degree mill "offshore."

    Rich Douglas
    Robert Vesco Institute and Cigar Factory

  11. #10
    Bill Huffman is offline Registered User
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    Originally posted by BillDayson:
    Why in the world would quality assurance by a "government body" be any more credible than by a "private accreditation body"? Bureaucrats don't have any special expertise in higher education .
    I agree that RA appears to work well. They keep their standards high and when a school slips they seem to take action to get it cleaned up or they loose accreditation. It works better than I imagine it would work if it was run by the government.

    However, the problem is that anyone can basically start up a "school" with very little cost or oversight in many states. I consider this a separate issue from RA. With our system of government, we can try to solve the problem at the state level or the federal level. I think the states have been stepping up to the plate over the last few years and reducing the problem. Some have taken little baby steps like Hawaii and some have taken giant leaps like it looks like South Dakota might attempt. At this point it appears to me it might be best for the Feds to stay out of it except maybe to encourage some of the weak link states to clean it up.

  12. #11
    Rich Douglas is offline Registered User
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    Originally posted by Bill Huffman:
    (snipped)

    At this point it appears to me it might be best for the Feds to stay out of it except maybe to encourage some of the weak link states to clean it up.
    Or the USDOE, in conjunction with the regional and national accreditors, could develop guidelines for the states. Then they could "muscle" the states into compliance , or at least try to shame them into doing so.

    One of the big challenges here is having the expertise (and the availability of that expertise) to carve out good, usable, flexible standards and processes that serve the public. Notice that most of the states with little or no active oversight over the years have been less-populated. (With the notable exception of California, which was a haven for "less-than-wonderful" schools up until a few years ago. But it wasn't for a lack of trying; they just couldn't get the balance between strictness, flexibility, and fostering innovation.) Missouri (17), Hawaii (30), Iowa (42), South Dakota (46), Wyoming (50), Montana (44), and Louisiana (22). (Population rankings, 2000 Census) Note that the two highest-ranking from this list, Missouri and Louisiana, have gotten tougher. But the less-populated states may not have the resources to get it done. And in the past, they haven't had to.

    And keep in mind, they may not care. Just because Montana becomes a haven for these schools doesn't mean it's a problem to South Dakotans. Think about your friends, families, and colleagues who are not all that up on this stuff. Do they know--or care--about these schools and where they operate? Do Montanans? How many Montanans will these schools affect? Probably not many. I'm not defending this, I'm just trying to understand why these states don't take action. And I think it's the lack of resources to effect and enforce these laws--along with the minimal impact all of this has on their native populations.

    The federal government tried about a decade ago to identify agencies in each state tasked with determining what was and wasn't an institution of higher education . While designed to put the states in the position of ensuring minimal academic quality for financial aid purposes, it also had the potential to allow the USDOE to set standards. But the effort fell apart and (I believe) is no more.

    When the federal government wanted the drinking age raised to 21 in all states, it didn't pass a federal law doing this. Instead, it withheld federal transportation funding from states who didn't comply. It used the muscle it had instead of trying to expand its powers into new areas. This could have been the model for higher education as well. The feds were going to funnel financial aid to the schools the states approved, but that didn't happen. But if the feds set up approval standards and processes, approving agencies in each state, and then held the states to it, it could. But it won't.

    Rich Douglas

  13. #12
    Rich Douglas is offline Registered User
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    Originally posted by Rich Douglas:
    (snipped)

    And keep in mind, they may not care. Just because Montana becomes a haven for these schools doesn't mean it's a problem to South Dakotans.

    Rich Douglas
    Of course, I meant "...oesn't mean it's a problem to Montanans."

    Rich Douglas, married to Paula of Libby, MT

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