By Mike Hassinger For The Crier
Despite parent wishes to protect accreditation at DeKalb high schools with a back-up plan, School Superintendent Michael Thurmond believes dual accreditation “undermines” his efforts to restore full accreditation for the DeKalb County School System, and does not support it.
“My focus is on gaining full accreditation for the entire district…. That’s what I was hired to do, and that is my focus,” Thurmond told attendees at the May 1 meeting of the Dunwoody Chamblee Parents Council. “I will not support anything that undermines the value of that effort,” he added.
Thurmond’s reluctance flies in the face of direct efforts by parents to seek back-up accreditation, from a state agency, for individual schools should the DeKalb School System lose its accreditation from AdvanceEd, the parent organization of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Since December, DeKalb has been on accreditation “probation,” from SACS-two levels below full accreditation.
Dunwoody Parents Concerned About Quality Education, a newly formed 501(c)3 organization, has taken up the dual accreditation issue, and Dunwoody Councilman Terry Nall is leading the effort to obtain accreditation from the Georgia Accrediting Commission, which has accredited schools in Georgia for 109 years.
Nall said he had spoken directly with Superintendent Thurmond but that his conversations had “reached a dead end.” Thurmond’s concern is that GAC accreditation would somehow threaten or impede SACS accreditation in spite of written statements from Mark Elgart, president and CEO of AdvanceEd.
In an email to Nall, Elgart wrote: “…There is nothing in AdvancED Accreditation Policies and Procedures that would prohibit any institution from seeking multiple accreditations. Accreditation is a voluntary activity. Specific to your particular interest, any school in the state of Georgia can be accredited by GAC as well as AdvancED/SACS CASI. In the state of Georgia, AdvancED/SACS CASI and GAC are both recognized for the purpose of the HOPE Scholarship.”
“I’ve spoken with [District 1 School Board member] John Coleman and [District 2 member] Marshall Orson, and plan to bring a dual accreditation policy before the board at their June 3 meeting,” said Nall.
Read more>> DeKalb board moving toward dual accreditation