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Saturday, June 27, 2015

An Op Ed: Too Much Power?

The AdvancEd accrediting scare going on in the School District of Pickens County could and should have been avoided. It is past time for our state legislators to pass a law to give exclusive power to accredit our schools to the SC Department of Education. Power should be taken out of the hands of unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats at AdvancED. This group makes a profit off of the taxpayers for giving “THEIR” seal of approval.

Too much power over our children’s education is being given to people who are not held accountable by the taxpayers. Unelected bureaucrats making decisions such as excessive national testing, Common Core Standards and whether or not our schools get accredited should not be acceptable to WE THE PEOPLE!
In 2011, AdvancED put Wake County NC on an accreditation “warning” because Wake’s school board wasn’t following AdvancEd’s idea of what “best practices” should be.  The NC legislators saw through their agenda and passed a law saying no college bound student in the state would be rejected because of any lack of accreditation from this monopoly AdvancED.

The laws in SC are clear.  All authority and responsibility is given to SDPC Board.  If the voters don’t like our school board’s actions the solution is to VOTE THEM OUT.  

AdvancED is composed of outsiders who want to control our local school boards. AdvancED created rules called “best practices.” Their best practices force our elected board to follow unaccountable and unelected Superintendents’ and District Administrators’ suggestions and if the board resists, they are punished by losing their AdvancEd accreditation.
Why are Pickens County citizens allowing $21,000 a year to be paid to an outside, special interest group to “micro-manage” what “they” think our elected local board should or should not be doing? We are PAYING unelected people who have their own politically correct agenda to make a profit and second guess our elected officials?  Is that “best practices?”
This is way too much power to be given to a company whose CEO also represents AdvancED as a lead business partner with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). This is the same CCSSO who brought us developmentally inappropriate Common Core Standards.

It is time for SC state legislators to stop the monopoly AdvancEd from having too much power over SC children and our elected officials.
Johnelle Raines
Pickens, SC

Editor note: AdvancED is a for profit company that operates out of Georgia. Their average charge per school district is $20-$35,000. In NC legislative debate, AdvancED was deemed as "causing a stir for the sole purpose of justifying their existence rather than on the merit of the school districts they accredit." In fact, Pickens County Schools would potentially be at risk with a near 75% reading at grade level rate and two top 15 schools whereas lower SC school districts maintain near 50% reading rates and among the worst performance in the nation. These schools have no risk of losing accreditation.

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