Sunday, December 2, 2007

The "Accreditation" Racket

"If you want to help public schools, give them your money, give them your time, give them your house and your car -- but don't give them your children."
-- Tammy Drennan, Separation of School and State Alliance

School "Accreditation" is a private enterprise. The state has no requirement for accreditation and it has no agency for the purpose. The company that does accreditation for this state (and all New England) is called New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). It's a private company with no connection to the government of any state. The company hires current and former public and private school employees.

The NEASC spokesperson told me, "The value of accreditation is in the eyes of the beholders." In other words, the service has no value by itself; it sells because enough people believe in it, even though it does not offer anything of measurable value. It is based on fear and the public's need for assurance that their schools are all right. I am reminded of a definition I once heard: "Public Opinion is what people think people think."

The process itself takes about three days, usually during the summer when school is out and its employees are available for a three day paid holiday at a nearby resort while going through their motions. The dozen or so people peruse the school district and the material chosen by the school, presumably to see if the programs are what the schools say they are. The cost is huge. My district of 4 thousand students pays $25K every ten years to create this sham of approval at taxpayers' expense.

The NEASC assessments of schools are based on criteria that the schools themselves select -- not on any standards set by others. In other words, the schools evaluate themselves; they even choose how to evaluate their own programs. Accreditation is what people think gives their school an official "approval," when it is no such thing. It is, in fact, a scam -- just another form of school deception for which taxpayers are forced to pay.

Ned Vare lives in Connecticut

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