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By Jeffrey W. Alstete (auth.)

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Example text

In the United States, primary and secondary education is of “special interest” to the federal government, but it is the legal responsibility of the state governments. The 50 state governments normally grant control of the education programs to the thousands of local boards of education. Postsecondary education is also authorized by many of the state governments, with recognition currently granted by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) primarily through the regional accrediting agencies.

A Brief History of College Accreditation ● 17 Regional accreditation in the United States through the predecessors of CHEA came into being as public recognition and monitoring needs arose (Bloland 2001). The effort to arrange regional accrediting actually originated from secondary school officials in the New England and North Central regions, and for postsecondary collegiate level institutions first in the Middle and Southern regions of the United States. The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS) was founded in 1887; the aforementioned North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools were two regional associations that were founded in 1895.

Doerr (1983) wrote that “if accreditation isn’t slowed as a phenomenon, institutions of higher education may well declare that process is our most important product” (p. 8). While some may argue that process, deliberation, and dialogue are what those employed in academe truly enjoy most in their profession, when faced with a choice to work on additional accreditation processes or additional discipline-related discussion and debate, the faculty and leaders would undoubtedly choose the second alternative.

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