Lawmakers criticize SACS, question state's accreditation process

1:31 AM, Mar 13, 2013   |    comments
SACS President Dr. Mark Elgart speaks before legislators about accreditation.
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ATLANTA -- Sparked by the recent removal of two-thirds of the DeKalb County School Board, members of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus held a hearing to discuss the state's accreditation process.

Tuesday evening, lawmakers spent more than three hours questioning representatives from two of the state's three accrediting agencies, among others.

Many launched criticism directly at SACS.

"How can a school accrediting system have that much power in a state?" asked Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler (D-Lithonia), GA Black Legislative Caucus chair. "That it can even have the Governor's hands tied in removing school board members."

AdvancEd/SACS president Dr. Mark Elgart fielded a series of questions Tuesday night, with lawmakers accusing SACS of judging a district based on governance, instead of student achievement and being non-transparent.

"Our proces isn't designed for the courts. It's not designed for the legislature," Elgart said. "It's really a partnership between teh school district and us."

Dr. Elgart said only a very small percentage of districts are disciplined for a governance issue.

Some representatives also want to change portions of the law that allows the Governor to remove board members.

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