Friday, January 22, 2010

Public School Accreditation Follies (II)

The announcement earlier in the month that the Warren County School District may lose its SACS accreditation again brought to my mind the dubious importance assigned to public school accreditation.

A couple of years ago, I pointed out that the Clayton County School District, the first Georgia public school system to lose its accreditation in some 40 years, did a better of educating its students than did the Clarke County School District. And yet the latter was in no danger of losing its accreditation. So, for the record, how does Warren County compare with Clarke County?

Per pupil expenditure FY 2009:
Warren County $10,606.05 (FTE 724)
Clarke County $11,248.22 (FTE 11,785)

Graduation rate 2008-2009:
Warren County 68.0%
Clarke County 63.3%

AYP 2009:
Warren County 66.7% (2 of 3 schools)
Clarke County 68.4% (13 of 19 schools

So, the Warren County School District is set to lose its accreditation, while that of the statistically similar Clarke County School District remains perfectly safe.

The Clayton County and Warren County school systems, or more precisely their students, are being punished for administrative lapses as opposed to poorly educating their students. It is true that the Clarke County School District brushed up against similar issues recently, but all concerned managed to make nice and the school system settled back into to the same old expensive mediocrity to which we have become accustomed.

Public school accreditation appears to primarily concern administrative procedures, having little if anything to do with actual student achievement. Thus, to my mind it remains a meaningless concept.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lot's of paper-pushing involved in getting accredited at both the k-12 level and at the collegiate level. Oh, and there is this matter of dues ... which amount to hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars that go to these spooky unknown organizations started as much out of a profit motive as for any real interest in the quality of education.

They can be used as a political axe in extreme cases ... but like they say about teachers who don't receive a new contract in their box in March: You should have known what the problem was without having to be told.