Where do parents find the most appropriate school to fit their family needs? First, they must understand that not all schools are alike. The starting point is determining whether a school is accredited. Accreditation is one of the most important concerns for parents who wish to provide trustworthy education for their child.
A school accredited by the appropriate accrediting agency can grant credits that lead to seamless transitions into secondary and post secondary institutions. However, a credit that is given by an unaccredited school can turn out to be a waste of time, talent and treasure.
Parents need to know the facts about accreditation before their child enrolls into a course with any school.
What is accreditation? Each year, hundreds of public and private schools seek accreditation. Accreditation is a voluntary method of quality assurance developed years ago by American universities and secondary schools. The goal of accreditation is to evaluate, verify and improve each school's quality.
What are the benefits to students?
Increased Performance: Accreditation focuses a school on improving learning for all students.
Transfer of Credits: Accreditation eases the transition for students as they move from one accredited school to another. This ease of transition applies across the nation due to reciprocal agreements between regional accrediting agencies.
Access to Programs and Scholarships: Accreditation benefits students as they participate in specific sports programs, apply for federal grants or scholarships or pursue admission to colleges, technical schools or military programs that require students to come from regionally accredited schools.
What are the benefits to parents? Accreditation assures parents that the school is focused on raising student achievement, providing a safe and enriching learning environment, and maintaining an efficient and effective operation.
Who grants accreditation? The six regional accrediting commissions and the states in which they accredit schools and institutions of higher education are:
New England Association of Schools and Colleges: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges: District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania North Central Association: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges: Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington Western Association of Schools and Colleges: California and Hawaii
What if my school is not accredited? If you choose a school that is not accredited, your child may find many secondary and post secondary institutions will not accept course credit or the high school diploma. It may be difficult to convince institutions to take the credits seriously, specifically in the core subject areas of Reading, English, Math and History.
About the Author: Doug Covey is the CEO of Blueprint Education. Blueprint Education is a non-profit organization that has been helping students succeed since 1969. Services offered by Blueprint Education include distance learning, curriculum design, and alternative education. Blueprint Education's programs and courses meet the high quality standards of the NCA Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, CITA, and the NCAA. For more information call 800-426-4952 or visit their website at www.blueprinteducation.org