Cobb County School District seeks new accrediting agency

The Cobb County School District appears to be searching for a new accrediting agency, after receiving a special review from Cognia, its current accreditor.

The Cobb County School District seems to be looking for an alternative to Cognia, its current accrediting agency. Cognia conducted a special review of the school system in August, after complaints from the community and three board members about board governance and leadership. After the review, Cognia outlined steps Cobb needs to take to keep its accreditation intact. They include adhering to the district’s own policies and code of ethics and having clear procedures for handling money.

The first step Cognia listed was to share and review the report with stakeholders. CCSD posted the report on its website and issued a press release, but the board hasn’t addressed it publicly. At Thursday’s board meeting, it voted 4-3 to keep any discussion of Cognia’s review off of the meeting agenda.

“We’re extremely alarmed that the board and district have taken zero action to address these directives,” parent Shannon Deisen said during public comment. “We have learned that the board and superintendent are intentionally ignoring Cognia and have instead decided to pursue replacing Cognia with another accreditation agency, the Georgia Accrediting Commission.”

The Georgia Accrediting Commission says it has finished visiting Cobb high schools and will vote on accreditation status in April.

Some parents raised concerns that because GAC only accredits Georgia schools that out-of-state colleges and universities wouldn’t accept students from high schools only accredited by GAC. Phillip Murphy, GAC’s executive director, says that’s not necessarily true. He says GAC isn’t considered a “regional” accreditor, its accreditation isn’t automatically accepted at out-of-state schools.

“If a college questions the acceptance of our accreditation in Georgia the school usually calls us,” Murphy said via email. ” When they understand that the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia recognizes our accreditation they accept our accreditation.  To my knowledge, our accreditation has never been rejected by a college or university during my nine-year tenure nor during the previous GAC director’s thirteen-year term.”

A CCSD spokesperson wouldn’t confirm the visits but instead issued this statement:

“Our staff is constantly evaluating all issues which affect students, including accreditation, and we will continue to focus on giving our students and families a world-class education.”