Sunday, October 24, 2010

Accreditation is "Broken": NCAHF, CCAP and Some Personal Experience

here, I cite from a recent Consumer Health Digest issue by the National Council Against Health Fraud [NCAHF] which cites a recent Center for College Affordability and Productivity [CCAP] report [see 001., below]; then, I quote some from that report [see 002., below]; then, I attach it to naturopathy [see 003., below]:

"[CCAP] has published a detailed analysis of the role that accreditation has played in American higher education [... it] concludes 'our current system of higher education accreditation is broken [...] it does a poor job of conveying important information to those funding it, including the customers themselves (students) as well as major donors (governments, private philanthropists) [...] this study outlines a series of different  approaches to introducing a new system [...] new approaches to the accreditation process could give consumers more practical information on the strengths and weaknesses of institutions [...] and be ultimately governed by persons far removed from those being accredited' [...NCAHF says this] is relevant to consumer health because the current system permits schools to promote health care approaches that are not science-based."

Note: yeah, baby!  I'll take it one step further [see 003., below].

002. in that the position paper "The Inmates Running the Asylum? An Analysis of Higher Education Accreditation", Center for College Affordability and Productivity [2010-10] authors Gillen, Bennett and Vedder state their major recommendations:

"accreditation  [...] needs to be changed [...] first, any system of accreditation or certification must focus on quality control and improving matches of consumers and producers [...with] complete public disclosure not only of accreditation reports, but also of information about student outcomes [...] second, the current binary system where schools are either approved (accredited) or not-approved (not accredited) is unacceptable, and should be replaced by a system that provides vastly more indicators of quality in a far more nuanced fashion [...] third [...] most notably, accreditation today was largely created by institutions themselves to promote institutional self-interest, not the public interest [...or] broader public needs. Fourth [...] a replacement system would be far more outcomes-based than current accreditation [...] fifth [...] the role of a single regulatory authority, most notably the federal government, should be minimized [...p.047] a move in this direction is badly needed and grossly overdue [p.048]."

Note: though issues of quality are matters of extent, I must emphasize that my criticism of naturopathy is not a sliding gray-scale like slippery-slope.  When naturopathy states that it is scientific and nonsectarian, I know it to actually be categorically [as opposed to qualitatively], at its essential core [e.g. vitalism, supernaturalism, etc.] not science and actually science-ejected.  Yet, they persist and they cannot be held accountable, because, as I know all too well, the system is as hugely broken as naturopathy essentially is hugely nonscientific.

003. I'll restate NCAHF's take [my words, not theirs, from my immediate experience]:

'this is relevant to consumer health because the current system permits schools to promote health care approaches that are not science-based and falsely label them as science-based.'

Note: e.g., naturopathy schools.  And, it's no longer then a matter of quality, but of categorical commercial fraud.
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