Every idea born in the Florida state legislature is of course beautiful and precious. But cruel soul that I am, this one ought to be fed to the Everglades pythons.
Florida lawmakers advanced a bill this week intended to upend the American college accreditation system.
The measure would allow Florida officials to accredit individual courses on their own -- including classes offered by unaccredited for-profit providers.
“We’re saying the monopoly of the accrediting system is not designed for the world of MOOCs or other individual courses,” said Republican State Senator Jeff Brandes, the bill’s sponsor.
This proposal is... audacious.
I guess it might be kind of hard to explain to anyone outside of higher ed just how awful this is--though fortunately we can move forward a bit in this article and find something that sums it up...
Brandes made clear his bill is intended to shake up the way things are done in higher ed. He said the current accrediting model, which looks at a whole institution, fails to look at the rigor of individual courses. He said this means a college might be good over all, but a course wouldn’t be.
Under his plan, the head of the state’s public school system and the chancellor of the university system would together certify which courses among those not offered by accredited institutions deserve to be “Florida-accredited.” (Currently, all public higher ed institutions in Florida are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.)
Auxter called that plan dangerous and prone to political influence.
“It takes away decision making on the curriculum from faculties, universities and colleges and it gives it to officials in Tallahassee,” Auxter said. “Then all lobbyists have to do is argue with two officials, who are both political appointees, that their vendor contract to produce a high-quality – so-called – online course should be adopted."
Though of course it would be very silly to think that a political appointee in Florida would ever turn out to be a comical laughingstock hack...
The vagueness of the language worries faculty unions and other state lawmakers, including a Republican senator who warned during the committee meeting Tuesday that Florida was inviting "scam artists."
If you think you're going to get more academic "rigor" as regards decisions about specific courses made by two totally unaccountable political appointees than you would from a multi-state accrediting body, well, you're probably dumb enough, or enough of an asshole, to have voted for Rick Scott, in which case, I hope you get eaten by a python.
Pictured: D. Dunn, Florida Republican State Senator Jeff Brandes (R) press secretary