By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org
Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has introduced the HERO act that, if enacted into law, will both improve higher educational outcomes and sharply reduce the influence of the Left on curricula and accreditation. It is not well known that accrediting organizations are highly politically charged that have dragged education to the left and undermined the First Amendment and freedom of inquiry on campuses nationwide. The accreditation agencies and the Department of Education have formed an unholy alliance and monopoly that reinforces only one side of the argument-that of the left. Professor John Ellis recently writing in the Wall Street Journal said:
“Colleges need to be accredited; state universities answer to governing boards. Accrediting agencies and governing boards are created through a political process. What if voters were to insist that those agencies demand answers to some elementary questions? For example: How can a department of political science that excludes half the spectrum of viable political ideas be competent to offer degrees in the field? How can a history curriculum be taught competently when only one extremist attitude to social and political questions is present in a department? How can a campus humanities faculty with the same limitation teach competently? How can these extraordinary deficiencies deserve either accreditation, or support by state and federal funds?
The campus radical monopoly on political ideas amounts to the shutting down of liberal higher education as we have known it. That, not the increasingly frequent violent flare-ups, is the real crisis.”
Congressman DeSantis’ HERO act is a solid solution. DeSantis writing to his constituents said:
“The opportunity that higher education provides should not be limited to the lecture halls of brick-and-ivy universities. The need to acquire advanced knowledge and skills beyond high school has never been greater, yet it has probably never been clearer that four-year universities are not the only way to acquire such skills. Reforming our higher education system to better benefit all students should be a priority, and this month I introduced the Higher Education Reform and Opportunity – or HERO – Act.
The HERO Act will allow individual states to develop their own systems of accrediting educational institutions, curricula, apprenticeships, programs, and individual courses. All accredited programs would be eligible to receive federal student loan money.
Too many of our students are being underserved by the iron triangle of accreditation bodies, universities, and the Department of Education, which prioritizes four year degrees over practical skills while putting an upward pressure on tuition. Giving states the ability to innovate will make it possible for students to use Title IV funds in pursuit of a wide-range of educational approaches at potentially a fraction of the cost.”
This legislation has real merit and deserves a vote.