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Clayton County schools lose accreditation
Johnny Crawford/Atlanta Journal Constitution
A parent carries her sign during the
march for changes on the Clayton County

'Dysfunctional' Georgia School Loses Accreditation

August 29, 2008 02:18 PM
by Isabel Cowles
The Clayton County schools have lost accreditation after failing to meet eight of nine required improvements set by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Clayton County schools in crisis

Clayton County is the first district in the United States to lose accreditation in 40 years. The accreditation loss takes effect Monday, although school officials can regain accreditation if they meet the mandates by September 1, 2009. If unsuccessful, the school system would have to start the accreditation process from the beginning, which could take up to three years to complete.

The district has known for six months that it was at risk of losing accreditation, due to what the SACS dubbed a “fatally flawed” school board. Mark A. Elgart, head of the SACS, said that the board gave too much power to Superintendent John Thompson and did not take proper measures to vote on decisions.

Immediately after the accreditation agency’s announcement, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue removed four Clayton school board members for violating the state’s open meetings act and ethics code.
More than 2,000 students have already been withdrawn from the school system this year, and the number is expected to grow. Superintendent John Thompson says the district plans to appeal and has expressed disappointment in the lack of faith that the school board can regain its status. “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.”

For many parents, waiting is not worth the risk. School accreditation can affect future education. The 50,000 students enrolled in Clayton County schools are at risk of being passed over by colleges and scholarships that require accredited degrees.

Reference: Clayton schools’ accreditation battle and Georgia Accrediting Standards

Related topic: Hempstead school board struggles


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