Articles tagged with accreditation

Can you afford a credit check? Some schools ditching regional accreditation process

Here’s an interesting twist on the credit slow down. First, I’m not referring to the inability of many borrowers to access loans to finance vehicles, homes and other purchases. And second, this isn’t a phenomenon being generated by the credit issuer.

Perplexed? Good, happy Monday!

Well, the credit I’m referring to comes from accrediting agencies like the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, whose stamp of approval has meant parents, students and the public can rest assured quality education is occuring in those classrooms.

While not necessary, such a notation (which is obviously preceded by a thorough review) has opened doors of opportunity in terms of acceptance into certain programs, scholarships and positions.  

Indeed, my colleague Del Stover profiled Clayton County schools in Georgia, where school board dysfunction  cost the district its SACS accreditation last summer. As a result, hundreds of families moved out of the district into neighboring school systems or private schools that were accredited.

Now pan three states over and fast forward to today, when just about everyone, particularly school districts are feeling the effects of a seemingly bottomless recession, and you’ll find Dallas Independent School District’s approach to a SACS accreditation: we’ll pass thanks.

Yup, the second largest school system in the second-largest state is opting out of the evaluation process that 13,000 other schools and school systems undergo through SACS.  Dallas cites (what else?) financial reasons for their withdrawal.

Naomi Dillon|March 9th, 2009|Categories: Governance, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , |

New year, new board, new attitude for Clayton County officials

As we move into 2009, it’s time to rehabilitate the reputation of the Clayton County Public Schools and its school board.

For most of last year, Clayton County was the nation’s poster child of a school board “gone bad.” Some board members interfered in administrative matters. They bickered at board meetings. They accused one another of wrongdoing and asked state officials to conduct investigations of their colleagues.

It was as dysfunctional a school board as existed. And ultimately, it paid the price. An outraged public demanded that board members resign. Those that resisted were removed from office by the governor. And the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools stripped the school system of its accreditation.

But that’s the past. And it’s important to make that clear. The old board is gone-all nine members swept from office-and a new board is attempting to pick up the pieces and rebuild public confidence in the school board and the school system.

They’re making progress. Very conscious of the need to break away from the past, the new board at its December meeting stuck strictly to its agenda, limited board member remarks, and followed parliamentary procedures to a degree I’ve seldom seen.

It was as dull a board meeting as I’ve intended in 30 years. And, given the sad drama of past meetings, that’s a compliment.

Why was I at the meeting? I visited Clayton County as part of my research into a “case study” of the old board and what went wrong it. The article will appear in the March ASBJ.

It’s not a pretty story. The old board talked a lot about the “needs of the children,” but when push came to shove, board members often succumbed to the personal animosity and suspicions that had grown between them. In the end, they could not simply shut up and get on with the business at hand.

(In my magazine article, I believe I chose more diplomatic language to make that point.)

Naomi Dillon|January 15th, 2009|Categories: Governance, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , , |
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