Wake County Schools

Organization threatens to strip Wake schools' accreditation

Posted September 23, 2010
Updated September 24, 2010

Wake County Public School System
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— A national organization that accredits high schools says it could strip Wake County schools of accreditation because of the "openly defiant" stance school district officials have taken toward a review by the group.

If any of Wake County's 24 high schools were to lose their accreditation, it could reflect poorly on graduates who apply for higher education.

"The quality of the education, scholarships – there are quite a few things important to graduating seniors," Wake County Board of Education member Keith Sutton said Thursday.

Ann Majestic, the legal counsel for Wake schools, said after a closed-door meeting with the school board Thursday that the board would "try to cooperate" with AdvancED, which wants to send a team of education experts to Raleigh to review recent changes in the school system.

The school board has questioned the motives behind the district-wide review after AdvancED asked for details about the district’s controversial proposal to move away from a decade-old policy of busing students for the purposes of diversity to adopt a student assignment policy based on community schools. Majestic asked in a Sept. 8 letter to the organization how the school board’s move is connected to accreditation.

"They believe any decision of a school board is open for their investigation, and that seems to go way beyond their standards for accrediting schools," Majestic said Thursday.

Kenneth Bergman, general counsel for AdvancED, responded in a Sept. 17 letter that the organization had not reached any conclusions about the shift in student assignment criteria.

"We do have sufficient concerns that the actions of the board may negatively impact the educational opportunities for students of the schools that we accredit in Wake County," Bergman wrote.

The board's actions have created "substantive change" in area schools, he wrote, so AdvancED needs to review them.

middle school, school bus Organization threatens to strip Wake schools' accreditation

"Unfortunately, the openly defiant nature of your correspondence makes engaging in the collegial process of accreditation services difficult," he wrote. "The board's refusal to comply with our requests is in direct violation of the AdvancED Policies and Procedures for Accredited Schools and constitutes grounds for dropping the accreditation of the Wake County schools."

The state chapter of the NAACP, which filed a complaint in March that prompted AdvancED's review, issued a statement Friday saying that it fears the review has been "compromised" by the school board majority's "arrogance."

Accreditation helps ensure that a school is of high quality, which is an important consideration for students, college admissions officers and potential employers, school district officials said. It is also important in transferring credits from one school to another and it can be a means to access federal education funding, college scholarships and military programs that require students to come from accredited schools, they said.

"This is a very serious issue, and we are greatly concerned about it," Sutton said.

School district staff members made some quick calls Thursday to area universities to determine the impact of a loss of accreditation.

"We are told, at Duke (University), they don't consider it at all. At (the University of North Carolina), it wouldn't factor in because they are familiar with Wake County schools," Majestic said. "But it may factor in at universities that are not familiar with Wake County schools."

AdvancED gave the school board an Oct. 1 deadline to set up a meeting and turn over requested information.

"It is our hope that the board and district will take advantage of this extension and fully engage our organization in meeting the difficult challenges facing your schools," Bergman wrote.

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  • Ckimoo Sep 24, 2010

    First it was the NAACP, not its some stupid education group.

    The dog is wagging the tail.

    Voters, taxpayers are supposed to be the people in charge of how Wake county children are educated, not special interest groups

    What is their accreditation worth when we have so many individuals failing to graduate high school?

    This is just another power trip by those who wish to impose their ideological agenda on our children using our own money.

    I say, tell them to go pound sand!

  • superman Sep 24, 2010

    Accrediation certainly comes into consideration when scholarships are awarded. If you dont think accrediation makes a difference send your children to Strayer University or some of the other places they advertise on TV. Accrediatation simply shows that a school board has meet specific guidelines. Sometimes the accrediatation process can take two or three years. Teachers, principals and administrations had to work very hard for a long time to accomplish the process. Do you really want your child to graduate from a system that is not recognized as being accredited? I think not.

  • Lone Voice in the Wilderness Sep 24, 2010

    Of COURSE it's politics. That claim always makes me scratch my head. What *else* do you expect politicians to do?

    Stop watching Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. There are a lot of pieces on the board game of politics, something the school board is quickly learning.

    The school board is not supreme here. Politics is about the art of compromise, something that we as a society have forgotten.

    Just remember, everyone answers to somebody--even dictators.

    Welcome to Life 101.

  • newhillhorse Sep 24, 2010

    That works hereswhatithink if you have the *money* to buy a house in one of these areas! Have you ever been in some of the Durham schools? Children deserve an equal education regardless of their parents socioeconomic status...

  • HereswhatIthink Sep 24, 2010

    I am so tired of hearing about this issue. Why not take a map and draw the district lines and if you live in that district then you go to the school in that district. How hard can it be! If I did not like a particular school in that district then I would not buy a house in that district. Most people consider what school district they are in before they buy a house. There are other options such as charter schools, private schools. Why is that Chapel Hill, Durham and Orange County don't have these same issues? Enough already!!!!

  • short Sep 24, 2010

    What a joke - if all schools are currently accredited - what would changing the busing rules have anything to do with the education in those schools. Pure an simple - politics. It's a joke.

  • psycho Sep 24, 2010

    I don't know... I don't have a firm opinion re: WCPSS changing their enrollment policy because I don't know all the reasoning behind it. BUT, I have to say that it seems reasonable to me for the Board to question AdvancED about the purpose of asking for such specific information rather than an overall review of the school system, and that such questioning does not in and of itself constitute a refusal to cooperate. This company is neither God nor government and shouldn't act like it is - seems that the attitude is, "How DARE you question me, although I have the right to question you ad infinitum about whatever I so choose."

  • Lone Voice in the Wilderness Sep 24, 2010

    The News & Observer has a report stating that the school board, meeting in a closed session last night, agreed to cooperate with AdvanceED.

    The way I read it: the school board blinked.

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Sep 24, 2010

    I'm surprised this story is dropping from the top 5 like a rock. Maybe Barbar is sitting on it. I say read my name if you want to know how to respond to the fear mongers. I say shove your accreditation!

  • davidbh61255 Sep 24, 2010

    Bussing has nothing to do with education, only politcs!!

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