HB 342, a bill to prohibit UNC institutions and community colleges from considering the accreditation status of an applicant’s school will become law tomorrow (July 1, 2011). The bill has been on Gov. Perdue’s desk since June 20th. If the governor does not sign or veto a bill within ten days, the bill becomes law.
HB 342 is the product of acrimonious and often politicized accreditation battles between Advance Education Inc. (AdvancED) and local school districts in Burke County and Wake County. Find additional background on these issues here and here.
At the core of this debate was the scope and integrity of the accreditation process. While state and school districts saw a legitimate need to ensure quality, numerous elected officials took issue with AdvancED’s growing concern with managing governance and policy issues. In addition, the revelation that a large percentage of low performing and academically troubled schools in North Carolina held AdvancED accreditation fueled the discussion.
HB 342 authorizes the Department of Public Instruction to provide accreditation services to school districts throughout North Carolina. An average school spends about $400-$600 annually on accreditation. AdvancED currently accredits 1,687 elementary, middle and high schools in North Carolina. In addition 55 Local Education Agencies are accredited with AdvancED.