DeKalb County looks into dual accreditation for schools

by: Erica Byfield Updated:

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. —

Some DeKalb County parents want a second agency to accredit the district's schools.
 
Late last year, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) put the district on probation.  At the time, the agency's director primarily cited governance issues with the school board as the reason for the district's probationary status. 
 
"I don't want us to merely rely on the SACS accreditation process," parent Elizabeth Gordon said.
 
Channel 2 Action News has learned Gordon is not alone.
 
School board member Jim McMahan told Channel 2's Erica Byfield the district's board members have discussed exploring dual accreditation.
 
"We are open to the idea, or at least having that discussion with our community and stakeholders," he said.
 
There are two agencies that accredit schools in Georgia: SACS and the Georgia Accrediting Commission (GAC).
 
SACS accredits entire districts, while GAC accredits individual schools.
 
"So as a whole, our district is on probation even enough we have some very high-performing schools, so there have been parents who wanted to seek alternative or dual accreditation so their school can be individually accredited," McMahan said.
 
There are some potential issues with GAC accreditation. Not all colleges and universities recognize the accrediting agency.
 
"I have a seventh-grader. I have a younger daughter as well, and we want them to have as much choice as possible when it's time for them to go to a university, so not having accreditation could be an issue," Gordon said.
 
All of the schools in Georgia recognize GAC-accredited schools along with some other Southern schools and a couple of Ivy League universities.
 
DeKalb's school board is expected to explore dual accreditation this summer.
 
The DeKalb County School District will be on SACS probation at least until December 2013.