Many current accreditation protocols have come under fire — for a number of legitimate reasons:
- the process is expensive
- ‘self-evaluations’ are labor-intensive, occur in largely disconnected silos (e.g., curriculum; leadership/governance; faculty/staff; operational systems, etc.), and produce mountains of paper — and little else
- peer assessment is hampered by implicit conflicts of interest (the assessor may become the assessed before long)
- accreditation has not fundamentally changed many schools; recommendations tend to be too general (“ensure that a system of monitoring the implementation of your mission and vision is in place”) or they address mostly procedural and policy-related matters
- accreditation standards are designed to accommodate as many extant curricula and approaches to learning as possible: as a result, standards inadvertently embrace the lowest possible common denominator; at their core, accreditation standards are agnostic and do not necessarily promote ‘best practice’ as identified by educational and neurological research
- few schools are denied accreditation once they have engaged with the process and, if truth be told, it is not in the accreditation agencies’ economic interests to withhold membership from schools seeking their approbation.
And so, the world teems with schools that proudly sport their accreditation agency’s logo on their website but…