The explosive spread of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI) in American education can be traced in large part to the changes made to the Principles of Accreditation for Colleges and Universities and Schools during the Obama Administration. These changes have reoriented the mission of American colleges from individual learning to social change and indoctrination.
American colleges and schools are “accredited” by supposedly independent regional bodies that monitor and regulate standards of education. These entities once were apolitical, but this is no longer the case. Ideally, their memberships (appointed by state governors) should reflect the diversity of competing political views in our Democracy and, in doing so, prevents the education system from being controlled by any one ideological group. That check no longer exists.
Virginia Colleges are accredited by SACSCOC (the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges). Let’s look at some key language changes between the “SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation” from ante-Obama (2012) and post-Obama (2018) versions of the documents.
Setting aside the clear difference in intellectual rigor between the documents, the crucial changes focus on one central question: who controls academic content and standards in American colleges? (The bolding is mine)
Principles of Accreditation (2012):
3.2.9: The institution publishes policies regarding appointment, employment, and evaluation of all personnel.
3.4.1: The institution demonstrates that each educational program for which academic credit is awarded is approved by the faculty and the administration.
3.4.10: The institution places primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of the curriculum with its faculty.
3.4.11: For each major in a degree program, the institution assigns responsibility for program coordination, as well as for curriculum development and review, to those persons academically qualified in the field.
Principles of Accreditation (2018):
6.2.c: For each of its education programs, the institution … assigns appropriate responsibility for program coordination.
10.4: The institution (a) publishes and implements policies on the authority of faculty in academic and governance matters, (b) demonstrates that educational programs for which academic credit is awarded are approved consistent with institutional policy, and (c) places primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of the curriculum with its faculty.
In 2012, faculty and administration are equal; together they compose the “institution.” In 2018, they are not, administration is the institution. The equality between the parts has been deleted and faculty no longer “develop and review” curriculum.
These changes show the subtle, yet very real, subordination of control of academics to the “institution” and “policy.” Further, in the newer version, the institution also decides the “authority” of the faculty in academic matters. Since faculty of the VCCS also do not have tenure, and the “institution” determines “appropriate” program control, independent faculty control of academics has been steadily erased, until today it no longer exists in the Virginia Community College System. Faculty now merely implement the design required of them by the State which is driven by political forces. By this means, the once independent VCCS has been corrupted to political service.
Look at NOVA, my college, and the real effects of these changes. The Virginia Governor and State Legislature have determined that “its” policy is to teach DEI, and Faculty now must implement that policy. DEI is being inserted into every academic program requirement and description, it is being imposed upon course descriptions and content requirements, and it is forcibly altering individual pedagogy. Faculty responsibility has been reduced to determining the best way to implement it, but the decisions about what exactly constitutes appropriate content and skills have been taken over by the “institution.” Because the VCCS is one system, that institution is effectively, “the State.”
This outcome is made more obvious by the following additional change to the Principles:
Principles of Accreditation (2012):
3.2.4: The governing board is free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies and protects the institution from such influence.
Principles of Accreditation (2018):
4.2.f: The governing board … protects the institution from undue influence by external persons or bodies.
In 2012, the standard limits political influence on the board members. In 2018, the board is empowered to decide what constitutes “appropriate” influence. That reverses the flow of power completely.
And that is how we got to state control of education for political purposes.
What is to be done?
This same kangaroo mechanism of usurpation is being replicated across the country in the various regional accrediting bodies, and all coordinated and supported with various ideologically aligned Education NGO’s, professional associations, and the collusion of once independent structures of education leadership like SACSCOC. To begin to reclaim an independent education system that will serve all Virginian’s equally, and not merely indoctrinate and lie to them as is being done now, the next Governor should do a few things:
- Lead a return to a Virginia education system that is independent of the political system, regardless of the party in charge. Education should not be politicized.
- Understand, promulgate, and teach the real differences between a national-democratic design of education and a national-socialist one. Show Virginians how the original democratic design of Virginia education has been deliberately subverted by forces from outside of the state.
- Select a Secretary of Education who believes in democratic education and the Spiral Curriculum. Appoint knowledgeable independent and conservative educators and leaders to SACSCOC (and other education bodies). Re-establish a democratic competition of ideas that serves student learning rather than political or social outcomes.
- To re-establish the independence of the VCCS from political influence, give all senior VCCS faculty tenure immediately (as the original design of the system intended). If VCCS faculty were tenured, they would be protected in the exercise of professional duties, and many more faculty would come out openly against the usurpation of our institution and curriculum and teaching by political forces. My recent “Letter of Dissent” demonstrates the consequences to independent education when faculty are not protected from political interference. I do not have tenure, and my five-year contract is up, and I refuse to cooperate. Therefore, I am “insubordinate,” a charge sufficient to terminate my employment. Every faculty feels this fear, and the usurpers use that fear to get their way.
- Call for an investigation of SASCOC and other regional accrediting bodies and the changes made to the principles that destroy faculty independence from administrative coercion and political interference. Poke around: I believe a careful review of the changes to these documents will show that SACSCOC did not follow appropriate procedures in that revision process under the Obama administration, and that they can be tossed out. Virginia should lead a return to the 2012 Principles of Accreditation.