Lawsuit Aims to Block New Accreditation Standards

By: Alex Goldsmith Email
By: Alex Goldsmith Email

Both the state Board of Education and the Middle Cities Education Association (MCEA) agree that there's a problem in this state. Too many subpar schools are getting accredited.

"We have a school with 0 percent proficiency that's accredited," said state Superintendent Mike Flanagan. "Parents are going to see that [accreditation] and think everything's fine."

"The current system is really only identifying a minimum of schools, maybe 3 or 4 statewide," said Ray Telman, executive director of the MCEA. "Clearly there are more than 3 or 4 schools out there that shouldn't be accredited."

Where they disagree is in the solution. Tuesday, the state Board voted to approve amendments to its accreditation system. But Telman says those changes don't take a comprehensive look at what makes a great school.

"It provides just one slice, an important slice, pupil performance but not an entire view of what's happening in school," said Telman.

The MSEA filed a lawsuit Monday to block the new system from coming into place. The suit alleges that the state Board is making schools start measuring for the system, even though the state Legislature hasn't approved the changes yet.

"Moving on this system and forcing schools to collect data really diverts energy from what these schools ought to be doing," said Telman.

But the state Board says that the lawsuit is without merit.

"We have some people, who represent adults more than kids, who are trying to slow this process down," said Flanagan.


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