Braille Monitor December 1986
In the March, 1986, Braille Monitor we reported that the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) had been kicked out of Kansas and Michigan. Now, NAC faces new disasters. North Carolina is joining the parade.
The National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina held its annual convention during the weekend of September 12-14, 1986, in Raleigh. One of the itmes which was slated to receive attention was the accreditation of the Governor Morehead School for the blind by NAC. The school had been accredited since 1972, and the blind of the state were determined to bring the nonsense to an end. A resolution had been drafted and was slated for presentation on Sunday morning, September 14; but it never happened. On Saturday afternoon, September 13, Dr. Richard Rideout (Director of the Division of Special Schools for the Blind and Deaf of the Department of Human Resources) announced to the cheering delegates that the Governor Morehead School had decided to end the NAC accreditation.
NAC often talks about the good which it has done and the general public acceptance which it is receiving. However, if any of its board members are at all perceptive or concerned abut the way the blind (the people they supposedly do so much to help) feel, they should think long and carefully about the reaction in North Carolina. At the announcement that the Governor Morehead School would de-NAC the blind cheered. When the school gives up its accreditation, no facility working with the blind anywhere in the state will be NAC-accredited. As the joyous delegates chanted: "NC is NAC-Free."
George N. Lee, Superintendent of the Governor Morehead School, sent a memorandum concerning NAC to Dr. Richard Rideout, Director of the Division of Special Schools for the Blind and Deaf of the Department of Human Resources. On October 9, 1986, Hazel Staley (President of the NFB of North Carolina) received from Dr. Rideout a copy of the memorandum. NAC may still be able to claim numbers by accrediting small out of the way groups, but the trend is clear and the pattern irreversible:
Department of Human Resources
The Governor Morehead School
Raleigh, North Carolina
To: Richard Rideout
From: George N. Lee
Re: NAC Reaccreditation
The Governor Morehead School has just been reaccredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for the next five years. This is important to our school.
The school has also been accredited by the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Impaired since 1972. Our current accreditation expires December 31, 1987. Our annual dues of $2,000 per year are paid up through June 30, 1987.
In order to be reaccredited by NAC we would need to complete our self assessment study this school year and have our on-site visit by NAC next fall. Our Table of Contents for our self-study guide was due July 31. It has not been done.
For the following reasons, I recommend that we not seek reaccreditation with NAC. First of all, it is very costly and time-consuming to go through this process. Staff morale is not high now because of cutbacks, and the public hearings are somewhat threatening. I would hate to put the staff through this unless I believed in it very strongly. I do not believe that NAC accreditation has or will have any positive impact on educational programs here at GMS. Fact is I can't really think of any real benefits of NAC accreditation. Some of their standards are unrealistic, such as the number of periodicals required in our library. We have discussed some of these standards before with Mrs. Purser, so I won't elaborate on this point. Ever since I have worked in special education I have known about the problems that the National Federation of the Blind has with NAC. I have been an avid reader of the Braille Monitor for several years. The Federation has recommended on more than one occasion that GMS drop its affiliation with NAC. Out of respect to the Federation and for the other reasons mentioned above, I recommend that we not seek reaccreditation with NAC and not pay dues after June 30, 1987.