These are excerpts from a strong-minded article about universities with virtually non-existent graduation rates.

I’ve covered scads of scandals at two of them: Chicago State and Texas Southern.

… Nearly everyone considers it scandalous when poor kids are shunted into lousy high schools with low graduation rates, and we have no problem naming and shaming those schools. Bad primary and secondary schools are frequently the subject of front-page newspaper investigations and the backdrop for speeches by reformist mayors and school district chiefs. But bad colleges are spared such scrutiny.

… [D]ismal institutions like Chicago State … prey on underserved communities, not just for years but for decades, without anyone really noticing.

… Low graduation rates will never cause a loss of accreditation.

… As for helping your students earn degrees, why bother? State appropriations systems and federal financial aid are based on enrollment: as long as students keep coming, the money keeps flowing. And since the total number of college students increased from 7.4 million in 1984 to 10.8 million in 2009, colleges have many students to waste. “It’s like trench warfare in World War I,” says Michael Kirst, a Stanford University education professor. “You blow the whistle, and they come out of the trenches, and they get mowed down, but there are always more troops coming over. It’s very easy to get new troops. If 85 percent of them don’t finish, there’s another 85 percent of them that can come in to take their place.”

… [We have] to broach a heretofore-forbidden topic in higher education: shutting the worst institutions down.

… No university, regardless of historical legacies or sunk cost, is worth the price being exacted from thousands of students who leave in despair.

And how, pray, will they be shut down? That is precisely the job of the accrediting agencies. In taking away accreditation, they make it impossible for the schools to operate. But they don’t remove accreditation even from Chicago State, which has a 13% graduation rate.

Shut down the accreditors. Start a new agency that’s not just as corrupt as the schools it ignores.

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2 Responses to “I say shut the accreditors down.”

  1. theprofessor Says:

    All you need to do is generate 4 bazillion pages with 16 gazillion unmeasurable outcomes and 100 megazillion pages of phony outcomes statistics, along with an introduction touting the institution’s president as an enlightened fuhrer for the ages, and you will be fine. The whole process has become fraudulent. During our last accreditation, the head of the visiting team openly stated that he was a long-time crony of Pres. Backslapper.

  2. University Diaries » “[D]ismal institutions like Chicago State … prey on underserved communities, not just for years but for decades, without anyone really noticing.” Says:

    […] corruption, and graduation rates barely above ten percent, had any more surprises in store for her (she’s chronicled its disgraceful ways for years on this blog), but now there’s this: Chicago State has a […]

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