Why not let the market decide?

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by thomaskolter, Jul 22, 2006.

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  1. thomaskolter

    thomaskolter New Member

    I was thinking about the entire accreditation concept and am by nature a Libertarian so what is wrong with letting the free market decide the issue? It seems to me the government has say in mandatory educational institutions those of the K-12 variety at least at the state level. But in the matter of HIGHER education why not let the schools compete it would seem to me the large brick and mortar established schools won't die out and professional bodies and businesses can investigate to allow or not allow degrees from institutions. Yet DIPLOMA MILL is an unfair term for some schools. Face it if a consumer looks into lets say CLAYTON UNIVERSITY (Hong Kong) and chooses to apply and do some mentored guided study for a Bachelors in Business then he should be able to place that as a credential for employment. Let the employer decide how valid it is.

    Clearly in some areas government oversight is required like medical schools and those professions that affect health and safety. But if I would get a BSc in lets say Business Management it should be none of the governments business WHERE I received that degree save if they are giving financial aid.

    Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2006
  2. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    I believe that when someone claims a degree there's a natural assumption on the part of most people that the degree is accredited. Therefore using a diploma mill degree is deceitful and dishonest.

    The seemingly contrived way that you put in the plug for Clayton University makes your post a possible violation of the TOS, at least in my mind.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2006
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I've always said that rather than take a coercive ODA-style approach, governments should simply determine what credentials they accept for use in hiring and promotion within their own organization, then release that list. Others would then be free to use it or not as they wished.

    At the same time, the non-aggression principle that is the basis of libertarianism doesn't just preclude initiation of force, but initiation of fraud as well. That's why I believe that milled degrees are wrong, as they falsely imply independent verification of the holder's expertise and level of formal education.

    -=Steve=-
     
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Hmm, in fairness it was hardly a ringing endorsement. It seemed more like he was just using it as an example of a bogus entity.

    -=Steve=-
     
  5. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    The market already does decide

    But business degrees are already largely unregulated, at least in the US. Can you list specific state or federal laws or regulations that prevent you from advertising a Clayton business degree as a credential for private-sector employment ? If not, then what is the problem ?

    In the US, Oregon is generally considered to be the toughest enforcer of degree laws. But even in Oregon, it is perfectly legal to put an unaccredited degree on your resume, as long as you disclose that it is unaccredited. If you explicitly disclose your unaccredited degree, and an employer still wants to hire you, then Oregon law doesn't care.

    So Oregon does not interfere at all with the free market for educated labor, except to require disclosure of degree accreditation status. And even this requirement does not necessarily conflict with libertarian principles, because everyone agrees that free markets work most efficiently when full information is available to buyers and sellers.

    In practice, it's obvious that the US market has already made a decision, and that it is heavily in favor of accredited schools. There are many unaccredited schools in the US, but in general even the lowest-ranked accredited schools have greater prestige. California, for example, allows unaccredited law schools, but it would be unthinkable for a top private law firm to recruit there.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2006
  6. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    The free market depends on consumers being able to make informed choices.

    Compete how?

    Degree mills and universities don't offer the same product. Degree mills simply package their very different product to superficially resemble the university product. The whole point is to be as misleading as possible.

    Suppose that an employer is either incompetent or corrupt, freely hires people with phony educations, and then resells their professional services to unsuspecting customers?

    Here's one.

    Perhaps a state could simply pass a law defining standard and substandard education, without necessarily criminalizing the latter, at least in the case of unregulated professions.

    That legal determination could be used in court in civil or criminal fraud and negligence cases. If it has been determined that an unaccredited 'university' does not meet statutory standards, then that fact could simply be introduced into evidence. The burden of proof in demonstrating credibility and professional competency would then shift to the defense.
     
  7. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    Consumer protection is the key.

    When someone states they hold a degree of a level A, B, C in
    subject so and so I assume they studied a program according to some standard.

    When we ire professionals we can test them but still we would prefer persons that studied standard or above standard curriculum.

    Why not let the marked decide if we need police? we we all hold shotguns at home and solve problems like in the Westerns :).

    So the current system of licensing - were state allows a school to teach and award academic degrees and the independent accreditation that makes sure there are standards are at the minimum.
    Wile not perfect the current system works.

    M
     
  8. thomaskolter

    thomaskolter New Member

    An Example

    I meant the Clayton actually as an example. I could have used any school. But my point here is where does the Federal government get the COnstitutional right to dictate education which has traditionally handled by the States. If an independant agency cares to do accreditation that's fine and a free market mechanism.

    And lets take widely recognized diploma mills out of the equation. Let suppose a degree by portfolio where the party has to have a certain amount of written published work and serious experience in an area like business and degrees by learning contract with reasonable requirements for the mentors. The areas most likely to be non-conventional.

    If you have a businessman of twenty years in business with a bachelors, is written well in his field or has done many major projects why not allow a Masters for a portfolio and treat it as equal to a traditional Masters. Or if someone with two people with advanced degrees guiding an education for lets say three years wouldn't that be equal to that of a career college. Where one gets a BS in Legal Studies as a paralegal would or a business degree as examples?

    My view is one should be able to seperate diploma mills from a legitimate alternative path to a degree with fair requirements. So if they would allow accreditation agencies not requiring approval by the Federal government but that had a respectable battery of requirements for a degree to count they should be allowed to have a fair footing. It should be easy enough to check such an agency if honest to see if a business or government agency cares to use that agency as a reference.

    And I don't believe in being deceptive I think one should be able to hold a degree one worked for and be proud of it regardless how the knowledge was learned.

    I'm not opposed to accreditation but I do thing calling a school a diploma mill if they use life experience portfolios for some or all of the requirements is just not right- it should be the requirements of how they assess the portfolio. And the degree. Same with contracted learning or another fair mechanism of learning for such a degree.
     
  9. foobar

    foobar Member

    Re: An Example

    The Federal government doesn't dictate education. They set standards for the programs which they will recognize for financial aid purposes or in setting the qulifications for employment with the Federal government.

    Employers routinely recognize experience and accomplishments as equivalent to a Masters in hiring, promotion and compensation.


    The Federal government does not restrict any of the things you said, except for providing financial aid and HR decisions for ITS employees.

    The Federal government does allow unrecognized accreditation agencies. Feel free to start one in your spare room.

    Excelsior, TESC and numerous RA and other schools with recognized accreditation grant credit upon their evaluation of documented and appropriate life experience. However, their criteria for granting credit involves much more than the student's check clearing. Just what are you trying to get at, anyway?
     
  10. KariS

    KariS New Member

    The logical extension is that any consumer protection is bad, just let the market set the rules.

    I guess that premise could be extended to other areas also.

    Why license doctors? If the are not competent and a patient dies, just don't go to them again.

    Who needs registration of engineers any way, if the building collapses and kills some one then don't hire her again.

    But how does one determine if a persons credentails are any good if there is no way to verify it except by trial and error.

    Accreditation does give a person a way to check that at least the basics have been covered.
     
  11. davidhume

    davidhume New Member

    I guess the answer to this is that in a Libertarian society there would be private organizations that would 'privately' accredite its members.

    A member would have to meet certain standards before being allowed to join the professional society. The public would then be able to choose between the members of the various private accrediting agencies as to which one they used for their professional services.

    One would be trusting in the credibility of that private accrediting agency rather than in government accreditation and regulations.
     
  12. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    In the US, the major educational accreditation organizations are private organizations. This includes the regional accreditors, national accreditors like DETC, and professional accreditors like the ABA or ABET.

    The federal government has no "seal of approval" for US schools. State governments may, especially for professional degrees in fields like law or engineering. But even in these cases, state approval is typically based on the decisions of the private accrediting agencies.
     
  13. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    lol, Here's my nomination for quote of the day!
     
  14. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    The simplest explanation is that with an accredited degree you are actually receiving an education. It is supposed to represent the fact that you have attained a certain level of knowledge. With a so-called degree from a mill, you receive nothing but a piece of paper without the accompanying wisdom...other than the knowledge that you spent your money on something that is worthless.
     
  15. thomaskolter

    thomaskolter New Member

    Again WHY accreditation...

    It used to be at least before 1960 schools taught and were indeed sometimes state authorized but there was no accreditation process. For thousands of years schools were run, taught students based largely on the merits of each institution or studying under a teacher. For example a school run by Plato or studyng at one of the Great Library of Alexandria or at a State College or at an apprenticeship in some fields like Law. I understand the government wanting to ok schools for their programs, jobs and other things if directly affected by the quality of education. Example for Veterans Education or grants of aid.

    My fundamental problem is this method leaves out any legitimate school that perhaps is different. Example a degree simply by learning contract with mentors guiding the study, a model I must point out with testing only- going back much further than 1960.

    My main point is simple it biases a program that may appear that breaks the mold and is not modern. Clayton University (in the first version of the school) taught strictly by learning contract and eve Dr. Bear thought well of it) would never get accredited. My view is accreditation is a tool and should be optional but not affect the legal use of a degree- I do agree with Iowa let them simple note it not accredited when used. And make sure there are web links to the completed program and how it was earned and what was studied etc. Employers can surely seperate the good programs from the bad ones- if nothing else the Department of Education can keep a list of accredited, unaccredited programs with merit and diploma mills. Or better yet some third party could do this for all schools globally.

    But the free market and the free use and exchange of ideas must be maintained and let the free market decide matters. It worked for thousands of years it can still work even with the internet. This site proves my point and sites like it.
     
  16. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Re: Again WHY accreditation...

    It used to be at least before 1960 schools taught and were indeed sometimes state authorized but there was no accreditation process.

    I didn't check the others, but Middle States Association dates back to 1887.

    For thousands of years schools were run, taught students based largely on the merits of each institution or studying under a teacher. For example a school run by Plato or studyng at one of the Great Library of Alexandria or at a State College or at an apprenticeship in some fields like Law.

    Institutions are still judged on their own merit, otherwise Dartmouth wouldn't be considered any better than Keene State, since they're both accredited by NEASC. Accreditation simply enables informed decisions about schools with which one is otherwise unfamiliar.

    I understand the government wanting to ok schools for their programs, jobs and other things if directly affected by the quality of education. Example for Veterans Education or grants of aid.

    The U.S. government doesn't accredit schools. The closest it gets is recognizing certain accredting bodies for applicability of federal financial aid. Even then, the list of acceptable accreditors is awfully broad.

    My fundamental problem is this method leaves out any legitimate school that perhaps is different. Example a degree simply by learning contract with mentors guiding the study, a model I must point out with testing only- going back much further than 1960.

    Since there are regionally accredited schools that support that type of program, you're complaining about a problem that doesn't exist. Regional accreditation covers everything from College of the Ozarks (every student works) to Thomas Edison (assessment) to St. John's College (great books curriculum). There's even TRACS and AARTS and the like for those institutions that realize they need third party evaluation of their quality without worrying about theological interference.

    My main point is simple it biases a program that may appear that breaks the mold and is not modern. Clayton University (in the first version of the school) taught strictly by learning contract and eve Dr. Bear thought well of it) would never get accredited.

    Why not? There's enough curricular diversity among accredited schools that the burden of proof is on those who say an innovative program can't get accredited by a legitimate body.

    My view is accreditation is a tool and should be optional but not affect the legal use of a degree

    I know I'm disagreeing with you a lot, so let me heartily agree with this!

    I do agree with Iowa let them simple note it not accredited when used. And make sure there are web links to the completed program and how it was earned and what was studied etc. Employers can surely seperate the good programs from the bad ones- if nothing else the Department of Education can keep a list of accredited, unaccredited programs with merit and diploma mills.

    You're happy with more regulation than I am, then. Personally, I think it should be the Office of Personnel Management who keeps such a list, and that it should be nothing more or less than the list of schools whose qualifications are acceptable for hiring and promotion for federal employment. OPM should release the list, and others can pay attention to it or not as they see fit. That way the people who like government lists are happy, and so are free marketeers.

    Or better yet some third party could do this for all schools globally.

    Foreign transcript evaluators do this well, UNESCO does it poorly.

    But the free market and the free use and exchange of ideas must be maintained and let the free market decide matters. It worked for thousands of years it can still work even with the internet. This site proves my point and sites like it.

    No one here is suggesting putting government in charge of accreditation. You're confusing that issue with the incredibly different issue of accreditation in general.

    -=Steve=-
     
  17. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    I like the state laws that say an unaccredited degree can't be used for state employment and can be used in the private industry as long as it is explicitly stated that the degree is unaccredited. When most people see a degree labeled unaccredited, they automatically assume diploma mill.

    This idea about lists of good unaccredited versus bad unaccredited is unrealistic wishful thinking. I don't think it could be done with any legal bite without duplicating an accreditation process. Unless it was as simple as the ODA process but I don't think that thomaskolter likes the ODA. It is also nonsense from the point of view that I don't believe that thomaskolter is a congressman I also guess that he doesn't have much sway with any lawmaker.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 28, 2006
  18. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

     
  19. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Re: Again WHY accreditation...

    I think you need to re-read your history of accreditation agencies.
     
  20. AuditGuy

    AuditGuy Member

    Great thought.

    For the market to truly decide, everyone would need to have good information (or the "perfect" information of investment theory). They would also need enough repetitions to make a statistically valid conclusion, and each organization would be reinventing the wheel.

    So the problem isn't with your idea, it's that there isn't an efficient market to truly let the market decide.
     

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