|DeKalb NAACP: SACS probe unfairly targeting black schools|
The DeKalb NAACP said today that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is unfairly targeting black school districts in an effort to systematically shut them down.
DeKalb NAACP President John Evans called SACS’ most recent investigation of the DeKalb School District a “witch hunt” and criticized SACS and district officials for failing to provide transparency about what is going on. Evans made his remarks during a press conference today at the NAACP’s headquarters in Decatur.
Evans said SACS’s concentration “is on black schools and black school systems.”
He said white school systems that have problems are not in the news the way that black school districts have been, and are not under threat of losing accreditation.
Evans said SACS may be ultimately conspiring to close the DeKalb public school system in favor of a state-run public charter school system.
“That is the rumor,” Evans said.
The NAACP is against the referendum concerning the Charter School amendment that will be decided by Georgia voters on Nov. 6. The NAACP says the amendment would diminish local control and take money from local school districts. Proponents in the heated debate say they want more choices and the amendment would allow more choices in education if passed.
Meanwhile, SACS has been investigating the operations of DeKalb’s school district following budget cuts, problems with its administration and controversial lawsuits, including one involving former School Superintendent Crawford Lewis, who stepped down amid construction contract bid rigging and other allegations.
“They’ve (SACS) dealt with Clayton. They’ve dealt with the city of Atlanta and now, they’re dealing with DeKalb,” Evans said.
Michael Langford, who attended the press conference with Evans, called SACS probe “personal politics,” saying the accrediting agency is creating chaos.
Said Langford: “They’ve been attacking school boards in Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton and they’ve based a lot of it on whether the board is not getting along or everybody is not in agreement. Well, politicians as long as I’ve known have never gotten along…”
Evans said the NAACP has asked SACS to provide information regarding its investigation in DeKalb, but received no response. He said a copy of the civil rights organization’s letter, dated Oct. 2, also was sent to district officials. Neither Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson nor anyone else in her administration has responded, Evans said.
In the letter, the NAACP asked SACS to provide copies and other information regarding the 50 complaints that it is reportedly investigating. The NAACP also wants to know whether SACS is looking into the finances of the school system and when the results of the forensic audit that was ordered by the School Board and paid for by the taxpayers will be released.
Evans said the NAACP plans to continue to put pressure on SACS to provide information about the investigation.
More on this story to come at www.ocgnews.com.