A Transformational Opportunity
EIA is planning a voluntary system of accreditation for its members, spanning tutoring/test prep, distance learning, alternative/special education, schools and school management. A special committee is hard at work on this today. Our goal is to create a relationship with one or more of the six regional accrediting bodies so that members who opt for this benchmark may receive expedited candidacy and/or other administrative benefits. Through accreditation, members will become recognized for their commitment to continuous quality improvement using standards that are shared with state and local education agencies nationwide.
Imagine the impact on your business when you can offer academic credit to your students/customers; or when you advertise that your center/school is accredited by the same authority that accredits the local school system; or respond to RFPs with the new qualification that your business is accredited by a recognized authority?
When parents or a government agency chooses an education service provider, key decision-making factors include the quality of its programs, use of data for continuous improvement, reputation in the community, and success of its students. These are the essential elements of accreditation.
Accreditation is explicitly designed to create a structure and momentum for continuous quality improvement across the spectrum of preK-12 services including tutoring/test prep, early education, alternative and special education, distance learning and schools.
Accreditation can be viewed in three dimensions. First, it is a structured opportunity for an educational institution to reflect on what it does and how well it does it while following a structured set of self-study protocols.
Second, it uses a trained, objective third-party which reviews the organization’s own plan, verifying its components while identifying specific steps to achieve greater quality.
Third, through a process for engaging in continuous improvement, accreditation ensures greater accountability to itself and to the community it serves.
Accreditation does not dictate what type of service, staffing, methods, or materials an entity is to utilize.
Yes, the process of accreditation is challenging and rigorous, as it should be. And it may not be for everyone, especially if the organization is still “emerging” and does not have much performance data. For that reason, EIA is not considering requiring it for our members. For those members whose organizations already are accredited and others which become so recognized, EIA is developing plans to publicly highlight member accomplishments, so the accredited members may stand out in a number of ways.
Potential benefits to the accredited member include: public recognition of a standard of quality; enhanced credibility and respectability; new options for business development through access to school districts and other public agencies; attraction and retention of professional staff; and the ability to award academic credit.
It also represents a powerful counterpunch to the critics of for-profit providers in K-12 education who may question our quality and accountability.
I believe that accreditation presents a transformational opportunity both for our members and for EIA itself. By encouraging a commitment to high standards, EIA will simultaneously raise service quality in the education industry and open new business doors for private entrepreneurs in education.
As professionals, we owe it to our community to ensure consistent preparation and high standards of practice by supporting and participating in professional accreditation. As a profession, we should distinguish ourselves, once again, as the premier organization for educators in private practice.
EIA Executive Director & Board Secretary
Board of Directors
JIM GIOVANNINI, President
Academic Tutoring Centers
DAYNA STEWART, Vice-President
Specialized Education Services, Inc. (SESI)
TOM SCHNABEL, Treasurer
Schnabel Learning Center
CLEMENT ERBMANN, Secretary
First Analysis Corporation
Brienza Academic Advantage
Pearson K-12 Solutions
Huntington Learning Centers
Kumon North America
MICHAEL R. SANDLER
Education Industry Group
Ombudsman Educational Services