Education

Quality Education Vs Accreditation

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Education:

“The act or process of educating or being educated; the knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process!”

Inquiries into furthering my educational aspirations were made to various colleges within my immediate environmental area. Several schools contacted required placement exams that I did not challenge, as I am adept and capable of dealing with college examinations. What got to me was the disparaging remarks from some college recruiters regarding their standards for education as opposed to another college. One of the schools that I’ve attended is a two-year degree school, while the other is a two-year degree school. They hold real estate in the same zip code and compete for students in the same local. They educated local students, out-of-state students, and students from other countries and nations.

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One school considered itself superior to the other because of its accreditation. The school that was described as inferior did not have middle-state accreditation. The school was described as below standard by the others. The so-called superior school is led and operated by a non-HBCU affiliation, while the other happened to be taught and used by an African American staff. The self-described outstanding school has made plans and designs and bid for the take-over of the African American school. However, the self-described superior school admits it does not and will not accept credentials from the inferior school. I have attended both institutions and received very good instruction from their teachers. While the lessons learned were invaluable, my education from personal academic research (self-taught) has enhanced my knowledge base. Money was not a factor in my research, study, and practicum. I would add that the knowledge and information derived from the HBCU School proved equally rewarding as the other, if not better!

I would say that I received more educational value at the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) than at the other collegiate institutions. Albeit, they both required money.

Students visiting college campuses are encouraged to become students at that particular school. The tour guides show all the amenities and accolades offered to enroll you enrolled…and gain your tuition money. But what about the quality of education provided by the particular schools? Most colleges will often quote their accreditation compared to other schools of choice. What does accreditation have to do with a good and valuable quality education? Money! And the ability to make money! Education does not and should not require money!

In 1899, Dr. Matthew Anderson, an outstanding community leader, and his wife, Caroline Still Anderson, founded Berean Manual and Industrial School. Dr. Anderson was pivotal in Philadelphia’s religious, business, and educational history. Dr. Anderson founded the Berean Presbyterian Church and the Berean Savings Fund Society.

Caroline Still is the daughter of the great William Still, a Philadelphia Abolitionist and member of the Underground Railroad.

Mr. William Still (a self-educated man) was born in Burlington County in 1821, one of seventeen children. His father escaped slavery from Maryland to New Jersey and later was followed by his wife and children. William Still left New Jersey for Philadelphia in 1844. Three years later, he was appointed the Pennsylvania Abolition Society secretary.

“When Brother William Still was 23, he left the family farm in New Jersey for Philadelphia to seek his fortune. He arrived, friendless, with only five dollars in his possession. Mr. Still taught himself to read and write. So well he did in three years, he gained and held the position of secretary in the Pennsylvania Abolition Society. Brother Still provided the all-white society with his views on how to aid fugitive slaves. After all, he had been one himself. He was such an asset to the group that he was elected chairman in 1851. Still held the position for the next ten years. He also became chairman of the Vigilance Committee in 1852. Still was the first black man to join the society and was able to provide first-hand experience of what it was like to be enslaved.”

“Mr. Still established a profitable coal business in Philadelphia. His house was used as one of the stations on the Underground Railroad. Brother Still interviewed escaped fugitives and kept careful records of each so their family and friends could locate them. According to his records, he still helped 649 enslaved people receive their freedom. The number is compounded with the number of enslaved people saved by Sister Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.”

“William Still, a self-educated man, began his campaign to end racial discrimination on Philadelphia streetcars. He wrote an account of this campaign in Struggle for the Civil Rights of the Coloured People of Philadelphia in the City Railway Cars (1867). He followed this with The Underground Railroad (1872) and Voting and Laboring (1874).”

“William Still, a self-educated man, established an orphanage for the children of African-American soldiers and sailors. Other charitable work included the fun of a Mission Sabbath School and working with the Young Men’s Christian Association. William Still died in Philadelphia on July 14, 1902.”

The Concise History of Berean Institute:

“In 1904, Berean, Institute of Philadelphia Pennsyl, Pennsylvania, qualified for state aid and received a grant of $10,000. Over the years, state aid has enabled the school to expand its services and diversify its programs of study. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania funds now provide a significant portion of the total operating budget. Berean Institute embarked on a program of expansion under the dynamic leadership of the late Dr. William H. Gray, Jr., who utilized the support of many influential citizens of Pennsylvania, including former Governor Milton J. Shapp. Dr. Gray served as Chairman of the Berean Board of Trustees. Under Dr. Gray’s leadership, Berean Manual and Industrial School began operating as Berean Institute. He also had Berean Institute’s current building constructed in 1973.”

“Mrs. Lucille P. Blondie served the school for forty-five years and became Berean Institute’s first President. Mrs. Blondin retired in June 1993. Dr. Norman K. Spencer was appointed the second President and Chief Executive Officer. Under Dr. Spencer’s leadership, contracted programs funded by the City and Commonwealth agencies and community outreach projects have been added. Hon. John Braxton, former Judge, Court of Common Pleas, heads a list of distinguished Board of Trustees members.”

“Berean Institute enrolled students in full and part-time programs. Most of the students are residents of the Commonwealth and live in Philadelphia. Other students have come from Central and South America, China, India, Puerto Rico, Tonga, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Tanzania, the Dominican Republic, England, Cambodia, Viet Nam, and states along the eastern seaboard of the United States.”

“Several students come to learn a marketable skill, and their Berean training fulfills their current educational aspirations. Many others regard the school as a stepping-stone to further education. Berean has many graduates who have earned four-year college degrees and others who have completed graduate studies at some of the area’s outstanding institutions of higher learning.”

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Education granted Berean Institute approval to award the Associate in Specialized Technology Degree on September 15, 1976, and the Associate in Specialized Business Degree on December 27, 1976.

Again, education is:

“The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life; the act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, as for a profession; a degree, level, or kind of schooling: a university education; the result produced by instruction, training, or study: to show one’s education; the science or art of teaching; pedagogics.”

A definition of education: ‘The act or process of educating or being educated; the knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process; a program of instruction of a specified kind or level: driver education; a college education; the field of study that is concerned with the pedagogy of teaching and learning; an instructive experience:

Dictionary.com Unabridged

Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009

So why does another school rate its accreditation over and above that of another? Money! Many colleges and universities rate their educational value based on the amount of money in their coffers and the amount of money they can amass! Another tool to increase superiority in the education business is to attain and maintain accreditation and as many acquisitions as possible.

Several opinions suggest education achieved through these venues is designed to prepare people/students for the job market instead of being prepared for life skills. These skills are required to carry one’s posterity and descendants into prosperous futures.

Is it fair to assess the stature of a collegiate institution above any other based on the amount of money needed to be spent or the amount of education achieved? Ivy League institutions turn out many students who are not prepared for the challenges of life…but many of them are rich and have spent thousands of dollars to attend those schools and graduate from them. On the other hand, many poor people lucky enough to qualify for grants, loans, scholarships, etc., are better prepared to face the challenges set before them (so it seems).

Many poor and working poor students seem to value collegiate-level education as if their lives depended upon it, so they tend to work harder to achieve the degree status. The document can be deemed worthless when the graduate cannot find the desired job for which they have studied. It is even worse when the graduated student finds that they are worse off than when they started college. They are now burdened with school loan debt and the debts they have had to meet before college. Working at McDonald’s and the like seems to be the only attainable job for many of them. The competition is fierce. Mostly, these students are grouped in with applicants who are not college-educated, and many do not have high school diplomas either! The knowledge attained is not considered or tested by many of these employers. They have to work with -kiosktype pictures on a cash-register computer. Is this not insulting to a student who has studied computer science, read and write computer programs and their languages, and other academics?

Why is it that many non-ivy League students find themselves out of work? Why do many of them find they are the first to lose their employment positions compared to their Ivy League colleagues? Why is it that many inner-city college-educated graduates find themselves less likely to be selected as team leaders than their counterpart Ivy-leaguers? Many employers advertise their openings with statements that don’t require a college-level education. They ask that candidates have a high school-level education. College-educated candidates apply to those openings and find themselves scrutinized out of the running, i.e., background checks, credit checks, criminal histories, schooling activities, etc. Why is it that college-educated candidates find that not only do they have to compete with ivy-leaguers, they have to compete with high school-educated folks as well? What is the sense in enduring hours, years, and other sacrifices to attain the coveted two and four-year college-level degree when you won’t qualify for the job anyway?

The notion of accreditation, money, and notable stature should not be the basis for choosing the collegiate education route. Education should be based on one’s ability to achieve, retain, and utilize education. The achievement of education begins in the home (as well as anyone who desires it). It starts with the child’s upbringing and the stressed importance placed by the parent and guardian. Should the child be highly scholastic in abilities that enable them to be described as intellectually talented and above average, that student deserves a free college education?
Meanwhile, the rest of us who are collegiate material may have to pay for our higher education. Mind you, my argument is based on the ability to access education without spending money…teachers need to earn a living, and schools need to pay the costs of operating and maintaining buildings and staff. So the money has to come from somewhere. However, the disparities above between different colleges should cease the practice of determining who’s a better institution of higher learning. Is it the responsibility of educated people to enlighten people who are not?

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While many may not be aware, education is achievable without attending so-called accredited and less accredited schools of higher learning…start with the libraries in your homes and the public facilities, newspapers, magazines, shared information, and articles. Why do others attain the education kept to a level of secrecy that one should have to pay for it?

Attaining and acquiring an education is the responsibility of the educational pursuer…the burden is placed solely on the student, not the educational pursued. I’m not advocating that one can become a doctor, architect, or lawyer simply by reading text…there is a difference between education and training.

 

Carol P. Middleton
Student. Alcohol ninja. Entrepreneur. Professional travel enthusiast. Zombie fan. Practiced in the art of donating rocking horses for the underprivileged. Crossed the country researching hula hoops in Deltona, FL. Won several awards for supervising the production of etch-a-sketches in Nigeria. Uniquely-equipped for investing in bathtub gin in the financial sector. Spent a year building g.i. joes worldwide. Earned praise for deploying childrens books in Africa.