North DeKalb parents are welcoming word that the DeKalb County school system’s accreditation probation has been lifted.
“I am pleased DeKalb’s accreditation has been upgraded,” former school board member Nancy Jester said in an email. “As the whistleblower that first brought DeKalb’s deceptive budgeting practices to light, I was gratified to see an intervention.
“Moving forward, our state should take action so no school district will suffer such financial and systemic failures again.”
The school system announced Jan. 21 that AdvancED, a regional accrediting agency, would bump the systems’ accreditation status from “probation” to “warned.”
According to the news release, an AdvancED report from December found that, “the progress made by the DeKalb County School District since May 2013 is commendable. Many programs, policies and processes have been put into place to stabilize the school system and begin to restore confidence and trust among stakeholder groups.”
The DeKalb school system had been placed on accreditation probation in 2012 after the accreditation agency released a scathing report accusing the Board of Education of mismanagement and interfering into the operations of the schools.
Gov. Nathan Deal later removed six of the nine school board members, including Jester, who now is running for state school superintendent.
Several north DeKalb parents worried that despite the good news, the system still has a long way to go.
“The thing that struck me immediately was [the accrediting agency] said the county still needed to work on leadership, getting resources into the classroom, and student performance,” said Shawn Keefe, president of the Ashford Park School Education Foundation. “Beside financials, those are the main three areas people are concerned with.”
Allegra Johnson, one of the Dunwoody parents who organized Georgians for Local Area School Systems, said in an email the decision left her with “mixed feelings.”
She said while she was relieved the system won’t lose its accreditation, she was “disturbed that [the accrediting agency] has been manipulated into thinking that superficial progress is real progress.”
“I listened to the list of eight completed actions items, the three still in progress and the three new additions, but wonder why we applaud false hope that students have become the No. 1 concern in this county,” she said. “There was no mention of a positive effect on the school house or the classroom. … DeKalb County must come to the realization that children have different needs, but they all have needs that must be addressed.”