Statement on US Department of Education Higher Ed Rulemaking

AAUP Wisconsin joins faculty and student groups around Wisconsin and across the country in condemning rulemaking changes that would degrade the quality of American higher education. Under its current leadership, the Department of Education has worked actively to loosen constraints on for-profit operators and roll back protections meant to ensure quality and value for students. The current round of negotiated rulemaking is designed to further this erosion of standards. We object.

One of the changes the Department of Education seeks is to water down the definition of “regular and substantive interaction” in higher education. This change is of a piece with ongoing efforts to denigrate and deprofessionalize teachers at all levels in American education. These efforts fly in the face of a basic truth: teaching and learning go together. Any “innovation” that decouples a student’s learning experience from extensive contact with an experienced teacher will harm the quality of that student’s education. We call the Department’s attention to this basic truth about the domain over which it exercises regulatory authority.

The AAUP advocates for faculty rights and responsibilities in American higher education. It does so in the interest of maintaining the high educational quality that can only come from a strong, independent, professional teaching workforce. This redounds to the benefit of students, and it has made the United States the undisputed world leader in higher education. The Department of Education now seeks to dismantle the regulatory framework that has allowed higher education to flourish in this country. We call on the Department of Education to abandon this destructive path and instead to embrace its true mission, to promote and safeguard educational quality at all levels.

[PDF version for download here]


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