Is the new high school accreditation bill making its way through the General Assembly a possible escape route for the Wake County school system?
As noted in today's article, the bill would prohibit North Carolina-run universities, colleges and community colleges from using school accreditation to make admissions, scholarship and loan decisions unless applicants come from high schools accredited by a state agency. It also would require the state Board of Education to begin accrediting North Carolina public high schools at the request – and expense – of the school districts.
Not coincidentally, its sponsors include legislators from Wake and Burke counties, where the school districts are on AdvancED's radar.
"They can pick on a small school system," said state House Majority Leader Paul Stam. "But when you pick on one of the best school systems in the state it will be noticed all across the state."
Stam is among the group of influential GOP lawmakers who sponsored the bill. He expects it be approved by both houses.
Stam said AdvancED lost all credibility with him when it continues to accredit the lowest performing high schools in the state while threatening the status of high achieving ones in Wake.
Mark Elgart, the president of AdvancED, questioned the value of the bill, saying it won’t help North Carolina students who go to colleges outside the state. Elgart also said North Carolina accreditation won’t be recognized by universities in other states, particularly those who only accept students from high schools that are accredited by nonprofit agencies such as AdvancED.
“The legislators need to be careful because not every student in North Carolina will go to a school or college in the state,” Elgart said.
Elgart, who was in Raleigh this week to present the report to Wake, met with officials from the state Department of Public Instruction and the Governor's Office to voice his concerns about the bill.