Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Since When Did "Education" Need To Be "Authorized"

AJC: New Birth student aid to cost N.C. university system

DURHAM, N.C. - The state auditor’s office is investigating an unauthorized campus that North Carolina Central University operated in an Atlanta suburb before it was closed this summer.

State Auditor Les Merritt told The News & Observer of Raleigh his office was asked by the University of North Carolina system to investigate.

The University of North Carolina system and North Carolina Central University has been working to resolve problems created by the unauthorized campus.

The campus was at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., whose pastor is Eddie Long, an NCCU trustee.

UNC system President Erskine Bowles said last week he thinks the university will have to repay federal financial aid money that NCCU received from the Education Department and gave students in the New Birth program.

This is a very interesting situation. The New Birth Missionary Baptist Church decided to open up a college campus upon its own church campus in Georgia. From my understanding they drew upon the resources of the North Carolina Central University in Raleigh. At the end of the day the goal was to provide more students with access to college level courses.

The complex interdependence between Academics, Accreditation/Authorization and Money. I for one am a stickler for accreditation as a means of insuring the integrity of the educational product. Without academic standards we have little assurance that an "A" from one schools is equal to that of the same grade in another.

In a bigger picture scope, however, I am a big advocate for distance learning and for the need to retire the current post-secondary educational system as we have it today. The use of technology and communications to expand the access to instructional material is needed now more than ever. I have no idea about the resource exchange between NCCU and New Birth. If they primarily made use of instructional resources and experts from NCCU and simply used the church facilities as the gathering place for students - then I believe that there is a need to redefine the evaluation criteria for such facilities.

This current situation is an example of where government regulation has a suppressive and a monopolistic effects upon the market.

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