Federalization of Higher Education

Resolution Number
Assigned to
Accreditation Committee
Status Report

This is an ongoing concern and is included in the ASCCC three-year Strategic Plan 2015 - 2018.  

Whereas, The U.S. Department of Education appears set on shifting the oversight of American higher education from institutions of higher learning and regional accrediting agencies to the federal government;

Whereas, Efforts by the U.S. Department of Education to regulate higher education are evidenced by its stated goal of establishing a credit hour that requires measurable outcomes for every class hour;

Whereas, Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) President Judith Eaton stated recently that “The worth of higher education is determined less and less through the professional judgments made by the academic community” (Inside Education July 2010) and that the growing belief in Washington D.C. is that self-regulating peer review represents “a conflict of interest” because the exchange of fees for peer review compromises rigor (Inside Accreditation August 2010); and

Whereas, Institutions of higher learning (including students, faculty, administrators, trustees), taxpayers, and, indeed, the democratizing power of education would be irreparably harmed by a federal takeover of higher education and accreditation because it would result in increasingly restrictive regulations, less responsive curricula, bloated government bureaucracies, and unfunded comply-and-report mandates that divert time and resources away from the classroom;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges conduct research and explain to the field the U.S. Department of Education’s specific reasoning and desired outcomes concerning an increase in the federal oversight of higher education;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges share its findings throughout the California Community College System, as well as with the Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senates and Western Association of Schools and Colleges/Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges in an effort to facilitate a coordinated, unified discussion with and response from California’s higher education community and regional accrediting organizations that include

  1. Strategies for balancing requirements for accountability with independent decision making at the local level;
  2. Processes, including budgetary planning, to supplement the Academic Senate’s already considerable assistance to local senates regarding issues of accountability;
  3. Methods for articulating and defending those principles of academic freedom, effective pedagogy, and local decision making that must endure for the sake of our students, disciplines, profession, and, indeed, for the preservation of the independence of thought that is fundamental to American higher education; and

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges generate a timely response that will be of vital importance if California’s educators, as well as those across the nation, are to have a voice in influencing the U.S. Department of Education prior to the solidifying of federal accountability into a system of intransigent regulations.

MSC Disposition: Local Senates