In the United States, nearly 58 million students are enrolled each year in K–12 schools. How can we be sure that every student receives the best education possible?

The United States relies on two separate systems—state-run accountability and voluntary regional accreditation—to know whether schools are meeting academic requirements and fiduciary responsibilities and whether they can deliver the results we expect. However, in too many cases, state accountability and voluntary accreditation collide, reducing the impact of both processes.

By Mark A. Elgart, Ed.D.

What do schools need to know about their own operations that can help them continuously improve and achieve the results we expect? Accountability reports yearly success factors for historical analysis. Accreditation identifies root causes of issues so schools can take actionable steps to improve moving forward. Accreditation and accountability are distinct yet complementary—together they have a powerful role in improving K-12 education.

Getting the best of both systems

This paper looks at the roles of state accountability systems and regional accreditation in improving K-12 Education, and identifies five ways states, districts and schools can get the best out of state accountability and voluntary regional accreditation.