Wake County Schools

Accreditation agency to review Wake schools

Posted August 17, 2010

Wake County Public School System

— A national organization that accredits high schools is sending a special review team to Wake County this fall to review recent changes in the school system.

AdvanceED said in a letter last month to the Wake County Public School System that it wants to determine whether the changes are negatively affecting the ability of schools to meet standards.

The agency is asking for details about the district’s controversial proposal to move away from a decade-old policy of busing students for the purposes of diversity toward community-based schools.

The review, which will be sometime between Sept. 1 and Oct. 15, comes in response to a complaint filed in March by the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, which has accused the school board of harboring “racist attitudes,” something board members have denied.

The NAACP has been among a number of community groups opposed to the school board's assignment policy change.

Opponents fear it will lead to re-segregation, high teacher turnover and poor students receiving a lower quality of education than their economically advantaged counterparts.

Five of the school board's nine members disagree and believe the move, still months away, will help improve test scores and give parents more chances to be involved in their students' education.

School board Chairman Ron Margiotta had no comment Tuesday, saying, "As far as a game plan, right now, there's none whatsoever."

"We have to meet to discuss the issue. At this point, I don't have a sense of urgency," he said. "We're trying to address other matters first."

Wake schools spokesman Michael Evans said the district is compiling documentation for AdvanceED and cooperating with the review.

"We take it seriously, because people know what Wake County schools stands for when a student graduates from one of our schools," Evans said. "We need that diploma to mean something. We need it to make a difference in that child's life as they move forward."

Jennifer Oliver, a spokeswoman for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a subdivision of AdvancEd, said the review isn't about school performance but about governance and leadership.

If the school system is found to be in violation of SACS standards and doesn't comply to them, each of Wake County's 24 high schools could eventually lose their accreditation.

How that affects students applying to colleges and universities could depend on where they apply.

Officials at several local colleges and universities say there are a number of determining factors in student acceptance – ranging from student grades and test scores to campus and community involvement – but that accreditation is still an important factor for several reasons.

"It alone doesn't determine whether or not we accept someone," said Christof Guttentag, dean of Duke University's undergraduate admissions. "On the other hand, if a school is not accredited, it could reflect that they may not have the resources to provide a student with the education to make them competitive for a school like Duke."

The undergraduate admissions policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, however, states that a candidate must have graduated from an approved or accredited secondary school.

Steve Farmer, associate provost and director of undergraduate admissions, says it's possible that the university would offer admission but that it's fairly rare to see a candidate, other than home-schooled students, attending a non-accredited high school.

Farmer also said accreditation is not the only information about a high school that's available when determining a student's acceptance.

"But it's still very helpful, in that it's a shorthand signal of a school's (or a school system's) commitment both to self-study and to external evaluation," he said.


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  • OGE Aug 19, 2010

    Seeing as how the review just happened last year...them coming back in less than a year is not a good sign. If you look and see what has happened to school systems when it is taken away you would be a little worried if you have a young one in WCPSS. No college will even look at a kid if WCPSS isn't certified, like it or not.

  • lorivalentine1 Aug 18, 2010

    So ridiculous.. teh voters voted for this... people need to stop whining like always and get over it.. Teach your kids love, respect, manners and the value of an education and they will strive for that. Unfortunately too many parents ignore kids and thier needs adn then simply complain about the results.

  • Remy Aug 18, 2010

    ""Let's make one thing clear."

    YOU'RE WRONG!" untruth

    YOU can't handle the truth - The review happens every 5 years anyway. If the board is following the rules, there is nothing to worry about.

  • cjw6105 Aug 18, 2010

    How can it be a violation for the Wake schools to assign kids like about 100% of every other public system in the country- by their area and not by socio-economic (race) factors?

    People screaming for others to be forced into long bus rides to school programs they don't want to be in. Media encouraging civil disobedience to obtain the continuation of such a policy when they don't win at the ballot box. Media reports that the majority of citizens want to return to the diversity policy despite an overwhelming vote for the opposite. School officials touting their old assignment plan as cheaper and better for the greater good of the community when common sense says no. Reports of how much busing has helped education despite declining graduation rates.

    Can the WCPSS get this accrediation agency to throw out the October vote in order to have another vote, and another, and another, until they get the results they want? Works in California.

  • outback1967 Aug 18, 2010

    "undergraduate admissions policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, however, states that a candidate must have graduated from an approved or accredited secondary school."

    as a black male I can tell you the numbers are few ...because we are not raised to believe that unless you have the best parents a black person would ever dream of...my parents.

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Aug 18, 2010

    "Let's make one thing clear."


  • Bendal1 Aug 18, 2010

    No, it's not Barber's fault if the Wake County schools lose their accreditation. He brought this to the accreditation agency's attention; if they decide the schools are in violation, then it's the School Board and its policies that are at fault, and Barber should be congratulated for alerting them about it.

  • Remy Aug 18, 2010

    Makes sense to me - you are 100% correct.

  • Coolbeans11 Aug 18, 2010

    Let's make one thing clear. If this agency determines that the new policies are in violation then the blame is on the new board majority and nobody else.

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Aug 18, 2010

    All you parents of soon to be graduating seniors better pay close attention to this one. Should this group come in and take accreditation away, your kids won't qualify for college. Their scores and accolades will mean nothing. And if/when that happens, don't blame the school board, blame yourselves for allowing clueless people like BabblingBarbar, and that failed former county commissioner lady who has an ego bigger than Barbar she needs stroked daily, to come in and tell you what you want. Those in support of neighborhood schools have to do more than vote, they have to speak louder than the pot stirring NObodies.