Accreditation of Wake schools on the line

February 17, 2011 5:02:24 PM PST
Investigators from the agency AdvancED are conducting a series of interviews in Wake County Thursday and Friday.They're trying to determine if the school board violated its own policies when it changed a long-standing policy.

The first day of interviews included everyone from school board members, to students and parents.

The seven AdvancED investigators are asking a lot of questions about the school board.

"I think there are some things the board has done this past year that I think aren't in the best practices as far as what's best for teachers and kids and what's best for the community involved and the public in an open, transparent way," said Yevonne Brannon with Great Schools in Wake Coalition.

The biggest issue the Great Schools in Wake Coalition is detailing for AdvancED -- the way the school board got rid of a long standing policy of assigning students to schools based on socio-economic diversity and voting to send students to schools closer to their homes.

The NAACP filed the complaint that prompted the accreditation review.

Just this weekend, the civil rights group made the Wake Schools' diversity issue the focus of its HK on J march, warning that community school assignments will re-segregate schools.

"Hopefully they'll take the input we had today fairly and I know when they meet with the NAACP, I hope that they don't just take a snapshot of one or two groups and have a particular agenda," school board member John Tedesco said.

School board member Chris Malone says he cooperated, but still questions the process.

"I'm concerned about outside agencies that are un-elected, unaccountable, making up their own rules and own decisions subjectively as to what it is we should and shouldn't do and how it is we should and shouldn't do it," he said.

"Where has AdvancEd been in the accreditation for Wake in years past," said Kristen Stocking with Wake Schools Community Alliance.

Members of the Wake Schools Community Alliance say there have been long-standing issues beyond the current school board. They're answering questions too, hoping the end result will benefit everyone.

"It's an open-ended conversation," Stocking said. "I think they're really here to help and they want to see the system succeed."

AdvancED also wants to know where the school system is going from here. New superintendent Tony Tata will be the first interview on Friday.

He's currently coming up with the long-term school assignment plan instead of the school board. Many see that as a positive move.

In the meantime, several people tell ABC11 that they believe Wake won't lose its accreditation, but the board might get some advice on how it should conduct business from here on out.

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