Friday, February 27, 2009

Elementary Education Accreditation

Universities go through a rigorous process of accreditation each decade. BYU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities which is one of the major regional accreditation bodies. This body, while recognized by the government, is not a government agency.

I wonder if a similar process of accreditation wouldn't be healthy for our K-12 system.

According to one source, 20% of the US population relocates each year. That results in a lot of children moving from school to school. In some lower income areas, as many as one third of the student body will change over the course of the school year.

Given this shifting population of students, we should seriously reconsider the level at which curricula should be designated. I'm wondering if it wouldn't be healthy to have various accrediting bodies that endorse a particular curriculum. Local schools that favor that curriculum can sign on with that accrediting board to certify that they adhere to that plan of instruction.

Such an accreditation would allow migrating families to find schools which would provide the most seamless transition for the children. It would also preserve a measure of local self-determination for schools. The school could choose the philosophy it thinks is best, parents would have rough guides to the sort of school they are selecting, and children will have an opportunity for easier transition between schools.

I do not favor having the national government setting curriculum or enforcing standards. I think that the federal government should be largely uninvolved in education.


Scott Hinrichs said...

That's a fascinating idea. The charter school that three of my children attend somewhat functions on this model. It is aligned with a national non-profit organization. Teachers must be certified by that organization to follow its methods and aligned schools must implement the methods acceptably.

Bradley Ross said...

I know that a few of the charter schools in my area sign on to the "Core Knowledge" curriculum which provides some of these benefits.