Board Of Education Takes Up Private School Licensing

The state Board of Education approved more detailed rules Tuesday for revoking licenses for private schools, including universities that offer distance education and maintain a presence in Wyoming.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Trent Blankenship praised the changes but reiterated the departments position that the state should require accreditation from a third party, rather than attempting the regulation itself.

It makes a lot of sense for the state to have a third party thats recognized for their expertise at being able to judge the quality of these sorts of degrees, he said.

A legislative task force is working on a new private-school licensing law. Blankenship said he expects legislation requiring accreditation to be introduced next year.

Accreditation would come from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which also accredits Wyomings public colleges and K-12 schools, or from the Distance Education and Training Council. Both are recognized by the federal government through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

These, I think, are intermediary measures, Blankenship said of proposed new procedures for pulling private-school licenses.

At least one private school welcomed the changes.

Were very concerned about the potential for illegitimate or degree mill-type schools being licensed in the state of Wyoming, said Jerry Haenisch, chancellor of Preston University.

He compared Wyomings existing private school licensing rules to a gate without a latch because the law doesnt require a certain number of credits before a degree can be awarded.

The gate swings open because the fundamental issue of degree mills is not addressed, he said.

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