Schools to receive unannounced accreditation audits - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Schools to receive unannounced accreditation audits

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

When the schools bells begin to ring this fall, districts across Mississippi will be greeted by more than just students.

They'll be getting an accreditation audit and they won't know when it's coming.

"Something like the audit is going to help ensure high standards for all Mississippi schools and all Mississippi students," said Parents for Public Schools National Office Executive Director Anne Foster.

Foster says the Mississippi Board of Education's decision to implement the unannounced audits is a step in the right direction.

"Schools and school districts have to be accountable, not only to parents but to the public, to the public which actually owns the schools and finances the schools," Foster said.

Unannounced audits have been done in the past, but for the last 15 or so years, they've become few and far between.

In a news release, Board of Education Chairman Charles McClelland said quote:

"The board's decision to reinstate the unannounced audits is not to punish school districts but to ensure that issues are caught early in the process to avoid any serious problems later."

The audits will examine everything from professional development of local board members to teacher certification which will determine whether a school can keep its accreditation.

These unannounced visits don't mean in-depth audits, but rather smaller scale sample audits.

From there, if any concerns are found, that's when an in-depth audit would happen.

Foster says the visits should be welcomed by the districts.

"They should not fear anything if they're doing things right," Foster said. "If they not doing things right, they should welcome the opportunity to find that out and make improvements and changes."

Those improvements and changes to public education are what Foster hopes will eventually bring Mississippi up in the ranks.

"We would like to see changes that bring about quality, that bring about a different standard of life in this state and that starts with education," Foster said.

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