Jay Nichols (Executive Director, Vermont Principals Association) joined the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday. Chairman Campion said he had invited them to respond to the question: “Should we consider encouraging or requiring NEASC evaluation for public schools?”
The Vermont Principals Association is opposed to doing this, mostly because of cost and they feel like the benefit to them isn’t as great as independent schools. Read more…
When questioned why some public schools, like Rutland and Woodstock, do pursue the NEASC accreditation, Nichols answered that Rutland felt some competitive need because of local private schools while Woodstock Principal felt it was a useful process for them and the school district was willing to pay the cost.
Campion asked about Springfield schools not offering adequate special education and Nichols pointed out NEASC does not address that, it is a staffing problem and nearly everywhere the “same staffing issues abound.”
NEASC accreditation was ubiquitous before the No Child Left Behind Act and now only 12 or so public schools continue to use it.
Sue Ceglowski (Executive Director, Vermont School Boards Association) acknowledged the issue has been discussed elsewhere recently but argued that there was no supporting evidence indicating that accreditation led to better student outcomes. Instead, she pointed to several studies indicating that school board best practices would do this. Read more…
She added that the Secretary of Education asked Vermont School Boards Association (VSBA) to “develop draft governance standards for his consideration, to be incorporated in the newly required district quality standards.” She believes this is a recognition by the state that effective governance by school boards is an essential component in district quality.
Campion is enthusiastic about the research and would like to hear more about the impacts of school boards. Ceglowski suggested talking to Dr. Phil Gore who is an expert on this topic and lives in Vermont.
She closed her testimony to the committee by saying “whether or not to participate in an external accreditation process such as NEASC should be a voluntary, local decision for Vermont public schools.”