Accredit the Student Instead of the Institution
by James Bartlett – rev c
It is subtly tempting for Christian institutions to follow the world with respect to the accreditation of both high school and college educational programs. The bottom line is that the liberal elite have brainwashed, or persuaded Christians that accreditation under the authority or recognition of the United States Department of Education (DOE) ensures that a student will get the best possible education. It has been demonstrated repeatedly that accreditation does not ensure quality in learning. Instead, accreditation secularizes, homogenizes and minimizes the depth and breadth of education while it increases costs and subtly moves masses of people toward global socialism. The spirit of accreditation, or academic respectability, has led to the loss of many formerly Christian institutions over time. Christian institutions succumb to the lure of accreditation even when they participate in Christian accreditation organizations which are recognized by the DOE for the sake of marketing and money.
The Scriptures place the responsibility for the education of youth under the authority of the family and church, not the civil government. The children of Israel did not take over the promised-land and then submit their educational programs to accreditation by Philistine approved organizations, as contemporary Christians have done.
The word “accredit” means “to give credit, authority or reputation.” To accredit a student, is to receive him in his public character, and give him credit and rank according to his knowledge, ability and character. Paul was “accredited” by God (not civil government) to be an Apostle and recognized as an Apostle by Christians and unbelievers based on his gifting with respective knowledge, ability, and character.
So how does a Christian educational organization market its genuinely superior product in a culture which has been taught to ask, “Are you accredited?” and where individuals only have time for one sound bite reply?
The answer is to design a simple accreditation system which accredits each student under the authority of the parents. Then the sound bite reply to “Are you accredited?” is “Yes, each student is accredited by a review board.”
Each review board is comprised of the student’s parent(s), pastor(s), and professional mentor(s) or teacher(s). The review board essentially combines the value of a graduate school committee, accreditation team and church leadership under the authority of the parents who are in turn under God’s authority (I Corinthians 11:3). To appropriately accredit each student, with the least time and effort, the review board operates by having each review board member complete a portion of the student accreditation table. This table, in addition to traditional transcript and testing protocols, provide the student with undisputable and verifiable evidence regarding their knowledge, ability and character, which has been reviewed by the review board and is useful for any legal purpose.
The table portions below show how accreditation tables are designed:
Character Attributes and Evidence on File (Completed by parents and pastors)
(observer name, address, phone number)
|Date, Description, Evidence on File|
|ADAPTABILITY (Luke 22:42)||Example: 10 November 2007 without prompting of parents or others, money that was saved for a motorcycle was instead given to a mission outreach in India at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Copy of check and accompanying letter is evidence.|
Knowledge & Ability Areas and Evidence (Completed by professional mentors and/or teachers)
|Knowledge & Ability Areas
(teacher name, address, phone number)
|Date, Description, Evidence on File|
|Algebra I (James Bartlett, 1854 107th St NE, Bottineau, ND 58318, 701-263-4574).||Example: Completed course January 2007. Tests from last ten chapters are on file and show 95% average competency.|
|Great Books Introduction|
|American History & Literature|
|American Government & Law|
As the parent of this student, I have seen and attest to the fact that the evidence listed above is on file and available for any legal purpose.
Parent Name(s) Parent(s) Signature Date
As a pastor for this family, I have reviewed the character evidence on file and find it to be consistent and reflective of the character of this student (Hebrews 13:17).
Pastor Name(s) Pastor Signature Date
1. James Bartlett, “The Snare of Accreditation,” Home School Digest, Volume 17, Number 3. http://biblicalconcourse.com/accreditationsnare.pdf
2. J. Gresham Machen, “Testimony before the House & Senate Committees on the Proposed Department of Education,” 1926, http://www.reformed.org/christian_education/Machen_before_congress.html, 20 March 2005.
3. George Leef, “Can College Accreditation Live Up to Its Promise?” American Council of Trustees and Alumni, http://www.goacta.org/publications/Reports/accrediting.pdf 1 July 2005
Dr. James Bartlett taught mechanical and manufacturing engineering at North Dakota State University (NDSU) for 17 years and is now the Executive Director of the North Dakota Home School Association and Biblical Concourse of Home Universities. He participated in the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation committees for NDSU over 17 years and worked with other universities on accreditation issues. It was during those years that Dr. Bartlett began to question the accreditation process in light of history, the Bible, and its debilitating effect on Christianity.
He concluded that accreditation encourages pride and worldliness in the church, detracts from spiritual growth in the body of Christ, and that many Christian educational institutions have gradually adopted secular value systems, without their own awareness through participation in accreditation programs. “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (I Cor. 8:1).
With this realization he left North Dakota State in 2002 to found the Biblical Concourse of Home Universities (BiblicalConcourse.com), a private university system enabling Christians to develop Bible-based college alternatives for any major. These are consistent with their family and church values, fit seamlessly with a Christian or public high school experience, and result in demonstrable competence to employers relying on review boards for accreditation purposes.