RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Good news for state schools across Virginia. 96% of commonwealth schools have received full accreditation. Of the close to 2,000 schools in Virginia, only 70 fell short of meeting the important standard. And our education specialist Dr. Bill Bosher joins us now to explain what that means.
RYAN: First of all, for folks that aren't education experts like yourself, what does it mean to be accredited?
BOSHER: Ryan, imagine that the standards of quality for Virginia are what school systems are supposed to do. Under that, there are two pieces - standards of learning of what students are supposed to do and standards of accreditation of what schools are supposed to do. Today we're talking about accrediting schools.
RYAN: And the number at the middle school level and elementary school level was very high, 97% of middle schools and 98% of elementary schools, but the high school number doesn't look as encouraging, only 86% of high schools. What accounts for that?
BOSHER: The high schools dropped because they added a new factor and the new factor is related to graduating on time. What they're really trying to attack is students who drop out and really, dropouts started a the middle school, but they show their faces in the high school, or young people who take five years rather than four or young people who get a G.E.D. rather than the standard diploma, so the state has upped the ante, and said to schools we're also going to place a factor in that will push you to have young people graduate in four years and with a standard diploma. Some didn't make that.
RYAN: And Petersburg in particular is a district that's had a hard time with accreditation. Are things getting better there? Are they making progress?
BOSHER: As we said, earlier, actually Ryan, they're going the wrong direction. Last year, four elementary schools accredited and this year two. The middle school that has had a hard time and is still not accredited, and the high school was accredited this and year it's warned, so I'm convinced they're working hard, but apparently not working well.
RYAN: But they brought in an outside group to help them get through this process and makes things better there. Is this something they need to turn around sooner rather than later? Or the state may have to get involved?
BOSHER: They're going to be three players now who are accountable in addition to young people. One is the state because they entered a contract. Number two is Petersburg and its school board and administration. Number three are these private companies that have said they're going to perform and their pay is directly related to their performance.
RYAN: Okay. So we'll have to keep an eye on Petersburg and how they progress in that system.
RYAN: Dr. Bosher, thank you for being here as always.
BOSHER: Thank you, Ryan.