According to InsideHighered, online, from April 6, 2013:
“The Lumina Foundation is putting $2.3 million behind a growing effort to reduce the regulatory burden on institutions that offer online courses to students across state lines, according to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education” (http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2013/08/06/lumina-backs-voluntary-state-network-distance-ed-regs).
Four regional commissions, including WICHE, and a number of other higher education officials want distance ed programs to be regulated by the state where they are based instead of by every state where they operate in. This is all being touted as overcoming nasty state regulations that are non-aligned but it is really the concentration of regulations within the federal government.
The state agreement being touted would do away with cross-state regulations and substitute the Lumina greased “no borders policy”, a sort of national commerce clause for regulating, or rather assuring, on-line learning and online earning.
According to PR WEB, online:
“Most individual state regulations governing higher education institutions were created years ago to address in-state residential-based campuses. There can be considerable variation in the design and application of these regulations among the states and many jurisdictions are just now catching up with the growth of online and distance learning programs that can have a multi-state presence” (http://www.prweb.com/releases/LuminaFoundation/PresidentsForum/prweb9824120.htm).
Standardizing regulations across state lines fits well into the Lumina Foundation’s efforts to standardized student learning outcomes and thus the dispensation of cyber courses (http://www.luminafoundation.org/state_work/state_policy_agenda/).
As I wrote about this back in April of this year:
“Last year the The Excelior College received a $150,000 Grant from Lumina Foundation to Extend Work on Presidents’ Forum-Council of State Governments Regulatory Initiative. Immediately Excelsior College, hailing from Albany, New York, met for their 9th annual meeting of the Presidents’ Forum on October 3, 2012 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC. There they were served food by the new Majority Latino population they are hustling out of schools while they featured a presentation and panel discussion on the draft “SARA” (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement).
On behalf of the Presidents’ Forum, and its partner the Council of State Governments (CSG), Excelsior College also accepted a grant which will be used to continue work through 2013 on the Forum/CSG project to create the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) intended to align individual state regulatory requirements and increase reciprocal program approval among states. This will allow the same, standard curriculum that is being planned and exists for student learning outcomes that Lumina speaks so fondly abut to be implemented along state lines with no individual state governance. It is like a massive NAFTA planned for education.
As the criminal for-profit colleges found, pesky regulatory agencies are a threat to privatization and illegal business practices for they serve to police colleges state by state” (http://www.dailycensored.com/standardizing-regulations-across-state-lines-fits-well-into-the-lumina-foundations-efforts-to-standardized-student-learning-outcomes-and-thus-the-dispensation-of-cyber-courses/).
Even though reports are that so-called State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, or SARA, would create a national series of reciprocity agreements, it is far more insidious.
Under SARA states would be responsible for regulating distance ed institutions based in their own state laws. Then, other states would rely on that home state’s laws. SARA would require states across the country to change their laws to accommodate the new regulatory framework, meaning the new federalization and concentration of state regulatory power within the federal government. This will all be reassuring to Wall Street who trades online stocks like they were baseball playing cards. Wall Street wants regularity not ‘regulation’ to assure profits and if this means centralizing all control within the Fed, then democracy be damned. Under neo-liberalism the government is simply the enabling tool for Wall Street and the one percent.
Not only is this proposed change not being reported correctly by the corporate media, Michael K. Thomas, NEBHE’s president and CEO, said in a statement:
“This agreement provides a timely and voluntary means by which state authorizers and postsecondary institutions nationwide can collaborate to address key challenges, including the ongoing profusion of online learning, the misalignment of state policy requirements, and the need to expand online access and program quality” (http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2013/08/06/lumina-backs-voluntary-state-network-distance-ed-regs). Nice spin and one that obviously works with the corporate press. Voluntary? Doubtful for the New Race to the Top for higher education under the Obama 20/20 plan for post secondary ed will dole out money based on how the ‘state’ (better said ‘territories’) comply with federal demands that are of course, written by Gates, Lumina and the rest of the phony think tanks and advocacy philanthropists.
Don’t be fooled. The real issue is the standardization of student learning outcomes and the corporate cyber business plan within the federal government matrix. For with its passage, all states under SARA will have to buy-into the new federal rules. This will make life, and the sordid business plan of Massive Open Online Classes (MOOCs) easier to implement for one size fits all is just what the cyber capitalists want.
Centralizing regulation in the hands of a national system, allowing these purveyors of privatization to cross state lines with no fear of state regulations is the goal.