Atlanta Public Schools on Monday moved a step farther from the 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests cheating scandal and its fallout. High schools in the district were restored to full accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
APS school board chairman Reuben McDaniel made the announcement during Monday’s board meeting. The high schools — which are the only schools in the district given accreditation by SACS — were placed on probation in January 2010 because of school board infighting and problems with the district’s “governance.” Last year the district was place under “accreditation with advisement” status, which is a step closer to full accreditation.
Mark Elgart, President and Chief Executive Officer for Advance Education (AdvancED), the parent organization SACS, said the full accreditation “means the system has addressed the concerns we had two years ago. It just means they are moving in the right direction, but clearly they still have a ways to go, as the superintendent [Erroll Davis] will tell you.”
In a letter sent to the APS school board Monday morning, Elgart wrote: “Much has been accomplished over the past couple of years, yet the challenge remains to ensure all stakeholders enjoy an effective working and learning environment.” In the letter Elgart said the district’s adoption of a 5-year strategic plan also contributed to the agency’s restoration of full accreditation.
In January 2010 SACs also “strongly encouraged” the 9-member board to decide by more than a “simple majority” when it hired a superintendent to replace retiring Beverly Hall. The June 2011 vote to hire Erroll Davis was unanimous. Within a week of taking over in July Davis announced he planned to terminate all 178 APS educators implicated by a state investigation in the cheating scandal.