Have you all been following [District 1 school board rep] Nancy Jester’s blog? Nancy is telling it like it is in a blog series about SACS and the misinformation we all have as to what SACS accreditation is really all about. We are impressed with Nancy’s candor, bravery and commitment to the cause of improving DeKalb schools, regardless of her own political fallout. This county and this country need more public servants like Nancy – she is a true American!
A sampling of the postings follows:
No one knows better than I do, that the board as a whole can be very frustrating to watch. As the board member who most often votes “no”, I endure this frustration more than most. I am the board member who identified and publically discussed the financial issues that were cited in this report. For almost two years, I have publically inquired during the presentation of the monthly financial report about the discrepancies that I uncovered. My public statements at board meetings span two administrations. I have written that it appears to me that our budgets for the past six years were, at best, a weak suggestion of how to spend money and, at worst, a document based on deception. I received support for my analysis from only Don McChesney and Pam Speaks. I was publically misled by administration officials who stated at board meetings that our budgeting issues with electricity (one of the many areas I cited as problematic) were due to (1) unseasonably hot/cold summers/winters and (2) increases in electricity rates. These statements were demonstrably false.
I thought it would be useful to provide some historical context to the whole accreditation issue. Five years ago, if you had asked me what accreditation means, I probably would have told you that it meant something about the quality of the education that kids received; that it judged in some way the results of how well children were educated.
It does not.
Accreditation by SACS/AdvancED is big on “process” and “continuous improvement.” It does not rate how well schools perform their mission to educate children. Given the recent graduation rates that were released nationally one must wonder about the nature and efficacy of accreditation “processes” and to whom the benefits of “continuous improvement” accrue.
Do you know what the teams of accreditors (all expenses charged to DCSD) missed in the AdvancED report? They missed the “mother of all financial problems.” They said nothing about the accounting methodology used by DCSD. The third largest school system in the state (approximately the 24th largest in the nation), has been reporting to the board of education using a cash basis.
Click over to Nancy’s blog, “What’s Up With That, Nancy?” and read the rest.