“Is Geneva Academy an accredited school?”
“Does Geneva Require Teachers to be State Certified?”
Accreditation is when an outside body (most commonly here the Northwest Accreditation Commission, or NWAC) comes in to your school and evaluates the systems & processes to see if they are compliant with the mission of the school and the standards of the commission (instruction, administration, testing, financial affairs, communication, employment, improvement, etc.). Accreditation used to be VERY important for high school credits to be considered valid by colleges and other high schools. Accreditation meant that a school was “legit.” This is still most people’s understanding.
However, over the last 10-20 years, there have been two major movements:
- A surge in highly qualified, highly recruited students coming from unaccredited backgrounds (mostly homeschooling & other private or online schools).
- The failure of accredited high schools to adequately prepare graduating students for college. In other words, a diploma from an accredited high school no longer means anything necessarily. Because of this, colleges test all incoming students and have more flexible means of determining who will best succeed at a college.
The bottom line is: accreditation doesn’t mean what it used to.
The school accreditation movement was part of the progressive education desire to gain control over local school systems. Fortunately, it did have some independence from the state departments of education. However, accrediting bodies are likely to become a threat to Christian schools in the future. For instance, the accrediting body in New England is threatening to revoke Gordon-Conwell’s accreditation (Gordon-Conwell is a Christian college and seminary) because it discriminates against homosexuals. It may only be a matter of time before the NWAC here insists that, to be accredited by them, you have to be non-discriminatory.
Unless it is a Christian accrediting body, it won’t be able to assist a Christian school truly be excellent from a Christ’s kingdom point of view.
That is why we will pursue accreditation from the Association of Classical Christian Schools when we are eligible.
A state certified teacher is one who has completed X number of hours in state approved program with state approved courses teaching state approved teaching curriculum. Common denominator: the state determines everything. The assumptions of our modern government education system run directly opposite to those we hold as Bible-believing Christians. Here are a few arenas of disagreement:
- the nature of man,
- the activity of God,
- the source of Truth,
- the law of God,
- the centrality of Redemption,
- the purpose of education.
So, a state certified teacher is one who has sat under false teaching at a non-Christian college for years. Now, many Christian teachers get through it. They tolerate the bad, and extract the helpful things. They withhold their objections and complete the program for that state approval. But other Christian teachers end up adopting the non-Christian assumptions of the program, which, of course, is the reason for the certification programs. Those Christian teachers leave believing one thing, but then teach from a series of assumptions based on beliefs that contradict their religion.
State certification was first brought to this country by Horace Mann, who sought state control over what was taught locally in the schools. Progressive educators always had the view towards ending the influence of Christianity over the nation’s school children, and the best means of doing so was preventing anything Christian from coming in the door. Controlling teacher practices and training was a key part of the strategy. (Of course, a national anti-Christian curriculum would help, but to Mann that was a century away. It’s here now, of course, in the philosophy underlying the Common Core).
So, I would say that if Christian parents stated, “We will not enroll a child at a school which is not state accredited or does not have state-certified teachers,” it would betray a secularized view of education. They may not realize it. Knowing the history of education in this country my response would be: “Don’t be a slave to government propaganda!”
That might be offensive to some. But is it not better for Christian parents to be told the truth about government education, even if they enroll elsewhere, than to hear equivocations just so they enroll?
I pray they gain the confidence that they, as parents, are perfectly capable of evaluating what is and what is not a good education for their children. They need to personally take that control back from the state with boldness.
Of course, I’d be happy to talk with those who are concerned about accreditation and certification & field any further questions.
-Brian Turner, Headmaster