Wake County Schools

Wake schools to meet with accreditation team

Posted September 24, 2010 11:06 a.m. EDT

Wake County Public School System

— After a national organization that accredits high schools threatened to strip Wake County schools of accreditation, school district officials said Friday that they would comply with a review by the group.

Yet, the Wake County Board of Education remains skeptical about the scope of AdvancED's review.

AdvancED has 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.

Ann Majestic, the legal counsel for the school district, asked in a Sept. 8 letter how the move is connected to accreditation, and AdvancED responded last week by calling the questioning an "openly defiant" stance toward the organization. Continued lack of cooperation would result in the loss of accreditation for area schools, AdvancED general counsel Kenneth Bergman wrote in a Sept. 17 letter.

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.

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.

The school board held a closed-door meeting on the flap on Thursday, and Majestic sent a letter Friday to AdvancED asking that a team of education experts from across the country visit Wake County in late November for an accreditation review.

"While reserving its objection to the scope of your inquiry, the board continues to hope for a collegial process and will provide the records you have requested," Majestic wrote.

The state chapter of the NAACP, which asked in March for a review of the district's accreditation in light of the changed student-assignment policy, issued a statement Friday saying that it fears the review has been "compromised" by the school board majority's "arrogance."