Wake County Schools

Wake schools to send letter to accreditation group

Posted January 12, 2011
Updated January 19, 2011

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— The Wake County school board decided on Wednesday to send a letter to the national group that accredits the county's schools. 

The board came to the decision after a closed session discussion into whether to withdraw from accreditation group AdvancED, which the board believes is overstepping its bounds in reviewing the board’s governance and leadership after controversial changes it made last year to the district’s longstanding student assignment policy.

"This is a vote for ongoing cooperation. It is not a vote to withdraw and I want to be very clear about that," board member Debra Goldman said. 

The letter will be drawn up and made public when it is sent.

Earlier Wednesday, Wake County school board member Carolyn Morrison said she would vote against leaving the group.

“Withdrawing our accreditation would be another discouraging blow to our school system,” Morrison said in a statement Wednesday afternoon, hours before the meeting..

“Withdrawing our accreditation now would be precipitous,” she continued. “It also could be misinterpreted as flight (and) can be used as evidence of guilt.”

The North Carolina NAACP, which fears the changes will segregate schools, filed a complaint in March with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a subdivision of AdvancEd.

Wake County Public School System Wake school board discusses accreditation

In response to the board’s concerns, AdvanceED President Mark Elgart, this week, fired back with a suggestion that the school board consider withdrawing its accreditation after an e-mail from school board attorney Ann Majestic.

Majestic had asked that the AdvanceEd team limit the scope of its review and allow an attorney to be present to represent school because of a legal challenge that the NAACP also filed with the U.S. Office of Civil Rights.

“We need to follow the SACS procedures in a cooperative/collegial manner, not hinder them in their investigation, receive and consider their decision, and then decide whether to accept it or appeal ultimately to the courts,” Morrison said in her statement. “If SACS issued an unfavorable decision, we could seek to retain our accreditation during the appellate process.”

School board member John Tedesco said Tuesday that AdvancED isn’t the only accreditation agency.

"There are several other agencies that do accreditation of a higher caliber (that) we are looking at,” he said.

Accreditation is important, because it can be used in determining a high school student’s acceptance to a higher institution of learning.

How institutions use it varies, however.

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," Christof Guttentag, dean of Duke University's undergraduate admissions, said in an interview in August. "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 community group Great Schools in Wake Coalition also weighed in on the matter Wednesday, issuing a statement saying that dropping accreditation could cost students millions of dollars in academic and athletic scholarship and educational loans and limit acceptance to colleges, universities and military programs.

“This majority repeatedly claims to care about the wellbeing of students, yet, when the going gets tough, they put their own self-interests ahead of those of our children,” Great Schools Chairwoman Yevonne Brannon said. “Once again, they are rushing to judgment without regard for how their decisions will impact the reputation of our award-winning school system.”

Also Wednesday, the board held a public hearing on proposed assignment changes to the third year of the school system’s three-year assignment plan that was adopted in 2008.

Last week, school system staff presented changes to the board that could affect the placement of 4,703 students in the 2011-12 school year.

No decisions will be made until the public has a chance to weigh in at four other public hearings on the matter.

The school board’s Finance Committee also met Wednesday to determine what to do about the $100 million budget deficit the school system is facing.

The committee is looking for any way to increase revenue and recently solicited the public for recommendations. It has received more than 800 ideas on how to make cuts and generate revenue.

Ideas have included adding fees for bus transportation, playing sports, pay cuts, employee furloughs, four-day workweeks, staff reductions and decreasing utilities costs.

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  • gapeterson1958 Jan 19, 2011

    This school board is officially a national joke. Steven Cobert is having a great laugh at the expense of Wake County's now famously mired reassignment plan which has never been needed never and will be needed these guys have been wandering around claiming the sky is falling for years I left Raleigh for two years and when I came back the same school board is still going on about the same reassignment that the taxpayers said NO to some years ago and again they drag out the same nonsense and they try to sell it to the taxpayers it needs to end someplace I would suggest replacing ALL the current school board members immediately and get a group of people in there that can actually accomplish a job

  • greg13 Jan 14, 2011

    It should be noted somewhere in the news storys this is "district" accreditation being discussed, not the accreditation of the schools themselves. District accreditation has no direct effect on students, and did not even exist when most of us were in school. My view is district accreditation is a waste of time and money so Wake county would be best served to just let it go away. Accreditation is a great process for schools, but it is useless for school districts.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jan 13, 2011

    On WPTF 680 today, they interviewed the President of a national college admissions group.

    He said he only used the accreditation to verify that the high school existed.

    So much for the value of accreditation.

    They also said that Colleges don't base academic scholarships and admissions on accreditation.

    They said that the NCAA said they don't based sports scholarships and selection to sports teams on accreditation.

    It seems that Advanced Ed is a money maker that exists only to allow colleges to verify that high schools exist.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jan 13, 2011

    Poor performing schools in North Carolina get the exact same accreditation from Advanced Ed that high performing Wake County Schools get.

    Says something for the accreditation process when they ignore student achievement and performance in their accreditation process.

    The reason is that the poor performing schools answer the questions correctly and follow Advanced Ed's liberal agenda of Social Engineering in the Schools.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jan 13, 2011

    The only reason this audit is going on is that the NAACP leaned on Advanced Ed to lean on WCPSS.

    Advanced Ed is questioning decisions outside of their jurisdiction including questioning which lawyer WCPSS hired to represent them.

    Seeing that a majority of schools accredited by Advanced Ed are Neighborhood schools, it seems that Wake Ed shouldn't care if WCPSS changes to neighborhood schools.

    The only reason that they care is that the NAACP complained and it would be considered racist for the liberal elite to ignore the complaint.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jan 13, 2011

    The interesting thing is that Advanced Ed doesn't accredit based on student performance and achievement.

    They accredit based on school board policies.

    It's like taking a test, as long as you answer their questions correctly and follow their liberal agenda of social engineering you are accredited.

    This is why the SAT and ACT scores are the most important part of being admitted to a college. It's the only way that colleges can objectively compare candidates from different school systems from around the country.

    Colleges pretty much ignore high school transcripts because of grade inflation, AP classes having grades about 4.0 like Wake County, social promotions of people who should fail a grade, and social feel good grading programs that keep children from having their self esteem damaged when they don't perform well.

    On WPTF 680 today, they interviewed the President of a national college admissions group. He said he only used the accreditation to verify that the high school existed

  • acc_blood Jan 13, 2011

    Based on AdvancED's own write-up on their web site, their review of Wake County:
    A) Over-steps their bounds as an independent accreditor
    B) Is not legally viable based on their rules since Wake County IS OPERATING now as it always has
    C) Cannot be overturned - even if they don't *&^'ing like neighborhood schools - because even if this ONE GROUP decides that neighborhood schools don't promote diversity, "diversity" is 1/5 of one item that is 1/10th of one larger article that makes up 7 articles of certification. For the mathematically challenged, that is .3% of the overall score - POINT THREE PERCENT. If they removed their bogus accreditation, they would lose their shirts in the courts.

    Oh yeah, one more thing. They are advocating that we start teaching our children Chinese and Spanish in elementary school. Get these WACKOS out of Wake County.

  • changein2016please! Jan 13, 2011

    If the North Carolina NAACP really cared about the students and our schools, they would not have created this chaos. Shame on them trying to push their agenda in such a back handed fashion. Why don't we just work to bring EVERYONE's level of education up and promote family involvement and respect for teachers and the schools?

  • cjoyinnc Jan 13, 2011

    As elected officials the members of the school board need to learn how to handle adversity more professionally. Since this board has been in office the fighting has been intense. It started with the parents who do not believe in their platform of neighborhood schools, then it was the NAACP, and now it continues with AdvanceED and accreditation. They even publicly fight amongst themselves. When is it going to be about the education of our students.

  • RMC10 Jan 13, 2011

    I agree with most of the posts here that shame on the NAACP. If we lose the accreditation or simply walk away from it altogether, it will impact the very people they purport to be trying to save to a greater degree, because it will impact NC ability to secure and win federal and state monies and grants and student loan guarantees for the very students that rely on those dollars because of the same low income levels that are today the very challenge being brought to WCPSS by the NAACP and the SAC. SAC is indeed just one accreditation that can be sought.

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