Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Clayton County schools are the first in the nation in the past 40 years to lose accreditation, failing to meet eight of nine improvement mandates.

The action by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools came a few hours prior to Gov. Sonny Perdue’s announcement that he was immediately removing four school board members found to have flouted the law. A state administrative judge had recommended their removal.

Superintendent John Thompson said the district will appeal the accreditation loss, which takes effect Monday.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure these kids get full accreditation,” Thompson said.

School officials have 10 days to file an appeal, but will have to show that SACS was incorrect and that the district has met the mandates spelled out earlier to avoid accreditation loss.

By Thursday afternoon, parents flooded school offices to withdraw their children. Two thousand students have already fled the district this school year and the number is expected to grow.

Thompson said he was disappointed that families were not willing to give the district another chance.

“A storm came through and look at it now, the sun is shining,” Thompson said. “That’s what’s going to happen in Clayton County.”

School officials can regain accreditation if they show before Sept. 1, 2009, that have met all the mandates. If successful, accreditation would be restored and would be retroactive to Sept. 1, 2008. If they aren’t successful, the school system would have to start the accreditation process from the beginning, which likely would take about three years.

That means that if Clayton meets the mandates by May, this year’s seniors could graduate with an accredited diploma.

A loss of accreditation means the 50,000 Clayton students could have trouble getting into some colleges and universities, or receiving scholarship money. High school juniors and seniors will be able to maintain Hope scholarship eligibility because of legislation signed earlier this year by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

In an overview of the system’s loss of accreditation, SACS officials said problems with the board were a factor.

The main problem was that the school system did not have a functioning board, said Mark A. Elgart, president and chief executive officer of SACS. The board’s conflicts affected everything from teaching and learning to staffing and allocation of resources, accreditors said.

“It affected the entire school system,” Elgart said Thursday afternoon at a news conference. “Today, the students’ education in this particular district is being compromised.”

Looking over the report, it seems that this had little to do with the accomplishments of Clayton County students and more to do with the failure to administer the schools in anything approaching a coherent or legal manner.  One gets the feeling that the schools could be terrible as long as the administrative process complied with the law.

But I’m curious to hear other views (flogg?).

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/29/08 at 08:44 AM (Discuss this in the forums)


Posted by on 08/29/08 at 10:21 AM from United States

I’m surprised that this sort of thing has happened quite a bit already - compared to 40 years ago, our school systems are a complete joke.

Step one to fix the problem would be to eliminate the department of education and federal tax dollars.  Step two would be to bust all the unions, and finally, give parents full choice on where to send their children and the associated money for an education.

The free market would solve this in short order…

Posted by on 08/29/08 at 10:40 AM from United States

Seattle Outcast:

This is a completely local problem and we don’t have teacher’s unions in Georgia.  For the record, my husband does agree with you that the Feds are a big part of the problem with schools, but not in the case of Clayton county.  They will have to figure out what to do with 50,000 students that obviously don’t meet AYP, lol.

Hal, yes it does appear that it is a school board ethics problem.  Some of the Clayton high school kids did essays a few months ago about the issue and they sounded like they got an education.  I will get some input from hubby when he gets home.

Posted by HARLEY on 08/29/08 at 04:09 PM from United States

The free market would solve this in short order…

Sorry SO, this “problem” is gonan take years if not decades to sort out, no matter how we go at it.

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