ACICS in trouble again?

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by Kizmet, Aug 1, 2019.

  1. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  2. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    ACICS will survive this. Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration will make sure of it, no matter what the cost. They did it before, they'll do it again -- and again.
  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    You might be right but if that's the only thing keeping them alive then they ought to realize that Trump/Devos won't be around forever.
  4. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    ACICS is about as shady as TRACS. But TRACS has the political pull that comes from accrediting a whole bunch of evangelical schools.

    We're seeing ACICS schools fleeing to DEAC. I'm sure others are headed to the other lesser known accreditors. For the rest, probably just a matter of time.
  5. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Unless there's some plausible reason why they shouldn't, I hope they do.

    According to Politico, a publication that's no friend of educational entrepeneurship, this latest "review" is the result of a recent public complaint that alleges that documents that ACICS filed with the Dept of Education indicate that they are temporarily operating in the red, due to recent litigation expenses. So, the complaint ran, ACICS isn't in compliance with accreditor financial stability requirements.

    I think that we can all guess who made the complaint. (Hint: the teacher's unions who have been trying to shut down educational entrepeneurship throughout the Obama administration. Their beef seems to be that faculty at "for-profit" schools often aren't receiving all the tenure and perks that other professors get. I wouldn't be surprised that they are the ones who tipped off the media as well, in hopes of stirring shit.)

    It would be a bit much if the Department of Education forces an accreditor into the red by violating the law as a judge found that the Obama administration had done when they shut ACICS down the first time, then forced that accreditor out of business because it was temporarily operating in the red due to the legal costs associated with overturning the Dept of Education's prior illegal behavior.

    Hopefully Herman Bounds, the gentleman in charge of the Department of Education's Accreditation Group will take care of it himself. Bounds has an Ed.S. degree from Walden U. (for-profit) and a background in career-education in the Oklahoma City area.

    His coming from a "for-profit" educational background himself hopefully suggests that he might not be automatically predisposed to side knee-jerk-style with the teachers' unions' anti-educational-entrepeneurship holy-war.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  6. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    There was (as -ahem- I said there might be) a bump in applications to ACCET and ACCSC when ACICS looked like it was going under the first time. DEAC - not so much. Possibilities: DEAC is thought to be pickier, more expensive or a slower process. Then again, DEAC would be the National Accreditor of choice for professional doctorates.

    This latest development might keep the phones ringing at a healthy pace at ACCET and ACCSC but I don't think DEAC will need to do a mass hiring. It's like this: If Ford goes on strike and people need new cars, they might head over to the Chrysler or Chevy dealer - but Cadillac business will remain steady. (Oh, a few would-be Lincoln buyers might drop in - but most of them will wait it out.)
  7. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    It would think that ACCET and ACCSC would benefit simply because accreditation of campus-based schools would be within their remit but not within DEAC's.
  8. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    There are schools that have held DEAC and ACICS simultaneously - e.g. California Miramar U. It became DEAC accredited, then ACICS accreditation was added, long before eventually dropping DEAC. When the controversy swirled around ACICS the first time, it reapplied to DEAC. Now it's accredited solely by DEAC - I believe. The website says DEAC on the front page and ACICS in the Catalog. I'm assuming it's DEAC and the catalog needs an update..
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  9. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Shucks, after all that, I guess you're right, Steve. DEAC says programs must be at least 51% distance or correspondence for schools they accredit. So... a distance school can migrate to and from DEAC to other NA accreditors -or hold both simultaneously if they want.. A campus based school has to stick to those accreditors that handle them i.e. not DEAC.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  10. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I guess we have a difference of opinions as to what constitutes a bump in applications. California Miramar (is back, but still) and Wright Graduate may not be a huge wave. But considering how few schools actually apply to DEAC each year, their presence is still noteworthy, I think.

    A good number of ACICS schools have a B&M presence only and no, or few, distance learning components so DEAC wouldn't be a suitable accreditor. But the ones for whom the whole distance thing seems to work appear to be applying to DEAC. Just not a huge wave. But that course delivery thing is probably more an obstacle than, necessarily, DEAC being picky.
  11. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    ACICS bit off more than it could chew. It's mission was consumer protection--which it ultimately failed at. But it did so by expanding into areas in which it got overwhelmed--like degree-granting institutions. Instead of being a niche accreditor--like DEAC--it became a refuge for schools that couldn't get regional accreditation (like DEAC, largely).

    When California changed its laws around school authorization, it required unaccredited schools to be on an accreditation path. This pushed some schools towards DEAC, some towards ACICS, others into denial and combat, and still others towards closure. At the same time, WASC signaled that it would be willing to consider smaller schools--ones that it simply would not look at before. But in practice this turned out not to be true. Then ACICS collapsed, leaving many California-approved schools with no pathway to accreditation. (Particularly those who did not--or could not--fit DEAC's paradigm). Now ACICS may be making a comeback--for some really bad reasons.

    The halcyon days of a wonderfully nontraditional higher education scene in California have been over for quite awhile. Now the state is wiping out what's left. A few may survive by merging with accredited schools or eking out some form of acceptable accreditation, but most are doomed. Whether this is a good thing is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.
  12. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Personally, I think the real trouble for higher ed is yet to come.

    There are people drowning in student loan debt who were told that if they didn't go to college they would be doomed to work retail or food service for the rest of their lives. They would be forever relegated to a life of poverty and struggle and that's a terrible shame because they're smarter than that.

    Those people are having kids. And I cannot imagine that they will push their kids the same way people like my parents pushed. Though both of my parents have bachelors degrees (and my mother has a JD), neither of them had a traditional college experience. Both of them needed those degrees to excel at their chosen career paths. So when I came up, there was no option other than college. Why would I do anything else? Why would I struggle to do this part time like they did? Of course I would be going to college and that would be putting me at least ten years ahead of where my parents were at the same age.

    For years the idea of a truck driver with a college degree was somewhat novel. It was one of the things that made our very own road scholar so and quirky? Now it isn't uncommon at all. I've met electricians with masters degrees in completely unrelated fields. The guy who did some furniture work for us a while back has an English degree from an Ivy League school. I think the idea that bachelors degree = minimum education is starting to break down at least in some sectors. The landscape will change.

    Anecdotally, I can say that a number of job descriptions at my own company have been changed over the past three or so years to move required masters degrees to mere preferences. We've also had a few lower level supervisory positions rewritten to make the once required bachelors a strong preference instead. The associates degree is being seen in a renewed light.

    So who knows where all of this will lead?
    heirophant likes this.
  13. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Neuhaus: " The guy who did some furniture work for us a while back has an English degree from an Ivy League school."
    John: The man who ran the furniture shop that built my magnificent 6-foot rolltop desk has a Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford. His Nobel-laureate father never did understand why.
  14. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Those elite schools seem to crank out some fine furniture professionals...
  15. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I guess it's always good to have some skills to fall back on . . . you know, in case the table saw breaks down
  16. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    David Hapgood described the phenomenon of creeping credentialism--the demand for more and more credentials to do the same job--in his book, 1971! But I believe it really took off in the early 1980s with the creation of defined-contribution retirement "plans" that replaced pensions ("defined benefit"). This was exacerbated by the wholesale destruction of unions during that same time. (This all stemmed from the conservative effort--dating back to the 1950s--to destroy the middle class before it took over the country. But that's another story.)

    The impact was to make the employee more mobile. Lifelong employment (or something approximating it) would soon be dead, replaced by transportable retirement benefits. This increased mobility, in turn, meant companies were less willing to invest in employee development (vertical), focusing instead on growth (horizontal). In other words, they'd help you get prepared for the job at hand, but you were on your on regarding your career. This was because employees could take that development elsewhere. Thus, it fell to employees to develop themselves.

    Technology--distance learning, the internet, etc.--turbocharged an already humming phenomenon, making college degrees of almost any type or level available to almost anyone anywhere...for a steep price, of course.

    Because the US does NOT have a national qualifications framework, workers relied on what they COULD get: degrees. Non-collegiate sources of development were hit-and-miss and didn't have the cache of a college degree. This put downward pressure on entry-level qualifications requirements. More students pursuing degrees--mostly using borrowed money--meant a lot of money was (and still is) chasing higher education. In return, we saw an increase in higher education costs that far outstripped inflation. But this market was being juiced by borrowed money--and still is. The housing market experienced a similarly juiced market until it imploded in 2008. But the housing market imploded because people could opt out: they could choose to rent instead of buy. Workers have no such alternatives.

    We need a national qualifications framework. I won't spend time describing the concept in detail, but it would provide tangible, multi-level credentials people could purse--and employers would recognize--in specific career areas. It would include college and university degrees, sure, but it would also have alternate--and recognized--ways of earning these credentials. Earning the credentials would require a mix of learning, performance, and experience. Employers could rely on these to hire qualified employees and workers could count on them to act in their favor in the hiring process.

    This would come about with a partnership between industry, government, and tertiary education/training institutions. Which industries? Industries would, largely, determine that, but government could also create frameworks to focus on the future of the country (whereas businesses tend to take a shorter-term view). But tertiary institutions--the lamentable drivers of the current process--would be a partner and a deliverer of education and training, not the gatekeeper.

    Socialism? No, not really. It's more in the spirit of "Governing the Markets" by Robert Wade. It's the people using their government to serve the people--including the businesses that employ them.

    Or, we could just do nothing. How's that working?
  17. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    You mean they never heard of Lord Levicoff?"
  18. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I've long been intrigued by the national framework they have in Australia and New Zealand. All qualifications split up into levels. It's the only environment where "Bachelors degree or equivalent" can reasonably make sense. It also helps to easily decipher a "certificate." What is it? Graduate level? Undergraduate? Non-credit? There are certificates that require 30+ credits and others that can be done with 3-5 non-credit courses. Spreading those across a framework clarifies for all to see.

    Is that the sort of thing you're talking about here or is there another framework model out there that I'm missing?
  19. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Spot on. But not just Oz and the NZ. National qualifications frameworks exist in many countries. Some are considered weak (like ours) and others strong (like Australia's or Singapore's.)
    Neuhaus likes this.

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