Wake County Schools

Accreditation group meets with Wake school board

Posted February 17, 2011 2:16 p.m. EST
Updated February 17, 2011 6:58 p.m. EST

Wake County Public School System

— A team from the national accreditation group AdvancED began its long-anticipated visit with the Wake County Board of Education Thursday, meeting with several board members and community groups.

The panel is in town for two days as a result of concerns about how the school board operates and makes decisions. It is not looking at any specific policy changes.

It was controversial policy changes and concerns about how they were made – including how students are assigned to schools – that prompted the state NAACP and some community groups last March to file complaints with AdvancED.

The visit was supposed to occur late last year but was delayed because of concerns from school board members about its scope and fairness and questions about whether board members should cooperate.

Parents are also worried how a loss of accreditation could affect their children’s chances of getting into colleges and universities.

Board member John Tedesco said Thursday that he doesn’t believe the district’s accreditation is in jeopardy.

What could come out of the review, he said, would likely be ideas and suggestions on how the board can better work together to reach decisions and better involve the public.

Community groups who support and oppose the board’s student assignment policy welcomed the review and were among those to be interviewed.

Parents, students and principals will also be part of the AdvancED review.

“We have a great school system. It can be better,” said Yevonne Brannon, chairwoman of Great Schools in Wake Coalition, which met with the review team Thursday. “This board majority can do better, and I hope they will get some great tips on how to do that.”

Some believe the board’s new student assignment policy, which places an emphasis on proximity, will segregate the school system and keep economically disadvantaged students from getting the same quality of education as their counterparts.

Others say it will improve student achievement, allow parents to be more involved in their children’s education and give parents more choice.