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School Accreditation Standards
Thursday, 01 April 2010

April 1--  One of the ways educational standards are upheld in Georgia schools is through outside accrediting agencies.  One of those agencies, the Georgia Accrediting Commission (GAC), suggests that school superintendents and principals be the highest paid employees in the system.

Senator Tommie Williams of Lyons would like to see that changed.  "Of all the accrediting agencies, there's only one out there that is still doing this, and we're trying to bring them in line with all the rest," he says.

Senator Williams authored an amendment to a senate bill which, according to the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE), would deny HOPE scholarships to students who attend high schools where the GAC accreditation rules are in place.

Some educators including Vidalia School Superintendent Dr. Tim Smith disagree with Senator Williams' amendment.  "I don't understand why Senator Williams would put that kind of language in a bill.  If you've got someone who is in charge of the entire building, it would seem to me that person should be the highest paid person in the building.  The same goes for the superintendent," Smith says.

However, Senator Williams says his point is to encourage good teachers to stay in the classroom.  "What we don't want to encourage is good teachers leaving the classroom for more money because the accrediting agency allows it. What we want to do is encourage high salaries in the classroom where teachers actually get the job done," he said.

The Williams amendment is included in Senate Bill 426 which has gone to the House for consideration.  

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