Wake Vice-Chair on board with accreditation

January 19, 2011 9:13:58 PM PST
On Wednesday, Wake County School Board Vice-Chair Debra Goldman released a statement regarding the current accreditation review process going on with the school system.Goldman said after careful consideration and conversations with constituents, educators, students and parents, she believes it is time for the Wake County Board of Education to accept the review process proposed by an international school accreditation firm.

AdvancED has launched an investigation into the board's decisions and policy changes after complaints from the community.

"I believe the dialogue with AdvancED has created a chasm between our two institutions which, while understandable, is not in the best interest of our students," Goldman said in a statement.

Last week, board attorneys sent AdvancED a letter outlining several conditions that needed to be met in order for board members and staff to cooperate with AdvancED's investigation. In the letter, the board said anything less than a positive response would force them to re-consider its relationship with the agency.

But AdvancED has said it will not accept the latest terms offered by Wake County school leaders for the agency's review.

    At some point, regardless of the righteousness of my concerns regarding the complaints filed against the Board, the authority in the accreditation process lies with the accrediting agency," Goldman wrote. "While some board members may have concerns with the way that authority may be ultimately executed, I do respect AdvancED's position to enforce their process on their accredited schools. As both a parent and a school board member, I value the accreditation process, and I am gravely concerned for our students and their prospects for future success, particularly graduating seniors, if we refuse to participate in the review."

The issue will affect mostly college-bound high school students and their ability to get into some universities that require accreditation.

    I would hope that AdvancED would consider a careful review of their policies regarding complaint handling in light of this unfortunate conflict between our two fine institutions, Goldman said. This is neither a partisan nor a political issue, but rather one that directly affects students and parents across the County. As we focus on student achievement, a review of our processes can only help us to make our fine school system even stronger.

    Therefore, I will support moving forward with the accreditation review and I will meet with AdvancED when they come for our review. It is critical that we finalize this matter so that we can move on to other important issues, such as school funding, student achievement, community-based schools and school assignment.

And other board members have said they will meet with AdvancED with no conditions.

"I don't have anything to hide," said Wake School Board Member Kevin Hill last Friday. "I don't believe anybody does. I don't mean to insinuate that. But I'd be very comfortable sitting with them without an attorney."

Meanwhile, AdvancED is scheduled to come to town in mid-February to begin its review.

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