He copiado el interesante artículo que rescato desde el blog de Brunner, acerca de la última disputa en USA entre las Universidades y el Congreso en torno a las competencias que debe tener el Departamento de Educación en la definición de los estándares de calidad.
Recordemos que el proceso de acreditación fue creada por las universidades norteamericanas como un sistema de autorregulación voluntaria siendo el primer país en el mundo en adoptar estas medidas, posteriormente el gobierno crearía agencias de acreditación con estándares para evaluar a las distintas agencias privadas, algunos Estados también cuentan con agencias propias de acreditación, en fin, hay una gran variedad en el país norteamericano. Entre ellas se encuentran ABET (para Ingenierías) y la APA (psicología)
Colleges Emerge the Clear Winner in the Battle Over Accreditation
By PAUL BASKEN
If the accreditation battles of the past year had been a boxing match, the referees probably would declare American colleges the winner by a technical knockout.
The latest example is the victory the colleges have secured in a fight with accreditors themselves over proposed legislative language. The outcome appears to have removed the institutions’ last major obstacle to asserting their right to define academic success.
The skirmish began last summer, when a provision colleges favor was included in the U.S. Senate’s bill to renew the Higher Education Act. The language would make it clear the Education Department cannot use federal accreditation to create requirements for evaluating colleges.
Accrediting agencies fought back. They persuaded members of the House of Representatives to remove that language from their version of the bill, by arguing that the Senate proposal would give the colleges too much power.
Now, after weeks of intensive negotiations, the colleges and the accreditors have reached a settlement. The result? They agreed to take the general approach of the Senate bill, giving colleges the authority to set the terms of their own academic evaluations.
The compromise language does give the accreditors the right to suggest some measures, like faculty qualifications or student test results, by which the colleges will be judged. But, according to participants in the talks, the new language also makes clear that in the case of disagreements, the colleges would retain final authority.
Both houses of Congress, of course, still have to formally adopt that language as they craft a final version of the Higher Education Act renewal. But Congress already made clear last year that it stands firmly alongside the colleges on accreditation matters. Lawmakers forced Education Secretary Margaret Spellings to retreat from writing new regulations intended to cement her department’s authority over accreditation. Members of both the House and the Senate also included language in each chamber’s versions of the Higher Education Act that would end the department’s authority over the agency responsible for reviewing accreditor performance.
Neither college officials nor accrediting-agency representatives want to talk on the record about their negotiations over the bill’s language and their agreement to let colleges define their own measures of academic success.
But Charles Miller, chairman of the Bush administration’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education, sees the result as a clear loss for the campaign to improve the quality of American colleges, as the peace agreement is likely to end any remaining hope that Congress might give the Education Department the right to dictate standards.
Accreditation was created by colleges as a system of voluntary self-improvement. The federal government later adopted the process by establishing its own accrediting standards and then allowing students to receive federal aid only if they attend a college that is endorsed by an approved accreditor.
Mr. Miller’s commission recommended in September 2006 that the government use that federally required accreditation to set even tougher standards for colleges. The change is necessary, the panel concluded, because too many colleges are providing a low quality of education and don’t give students and taxpayers an objective method of evaluating academic performance.
Colleges might eventually face real pressure to change when states realize they are permitting a form of accreditation that is dominated by six regional agencies, which leaves the colleges largely unaccountable for how they spend state money, he said.
"The governors are going to wake up one day," Mr. Miller said, "and say, ‘What are these people in Atlanta and Chicago and those places doing telling me what my institution should do? We own them.’"
Mr. Miller’s hopes for an awakening by states are rising as his allies in the federal government appear to be backing off. For the past several years, the Education Department has asserted its right under existing federal law to set college-performance standards in a variety of areas, including student achievement, curriculum, facilities, and financial security. As the debate over that has worn on, however, Ms. Spellings has made increasingly clear her willingness to let colleges set the terms.
All colleges should be allowed to "describe their own unique missions" and be judged against that, the secretary said in December at the National Press Club in Washington.
"That is," she said, "totally within the jurisdiction of each institution."