A story in Saturday’s Statesman by Ralph Haurwitz chronicles the governor’s continuing interest in his proposed higher ed reforms, based on 700 pages worth of e-mails the newspaper obtained through a freedom of information request. Perhaps the most significant revelation in the story, however, is that Perry is no longer pressing for one of the reforms — a proposal that the state set up its own accreditation system, or join with other states in doing so — rather than use the long-established Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Perry hasn’t pressed for implementation of all seven recommendations, [spokesman Mark] Miner said. One recommendation the governor opposes, he said, is development of a new accreditation system. “The current process is working,” Miner said. Thank goodness. To venture into unknown territory by relying on nonstandard accreditation measures was a serious threat to the stature of the colleges and universities in this state. I am relieved that Governor Perry accepts that SACS is a credible and reliable organization that can continue to serve the needs of the state’s institutions of higher learning. Now, if he will just acknowledge that research is central to the mission of Tier One universities, we can all breathe a lot easier.
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