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WASC 101: A Definition


Class of 2014

WASC 101


Despite the lack of people who know what WASC actually means, the organization is very important to Foothill, as well as all high schools and colleges in the western hemisphere. The organization could have a massive effect on whether or not YOU go to college.

So, first off, most of you reading this are probably wondering what WASC stands for. WASC as a whole means the "Western Association of Schools and Colleges". Sounds pretty official, huh? It's basically an organization that provides accreditation for any and all schools in California, Hawaii, Guam, Fiji, Eastern Asia, and other western countries.

Now, to make it clear, accreditation is not just a big word. Schools that are accredited can get federal student loans, offer classes that are worth extra college credits, have more public and private funding, and overall have education with a reputation for high quality. However, accreditation is given only to schools that WASC has deemed as trustworthy and eager for self-improvement. This means a whole lot for everyone. If WASC writes a bad report for a school and decides to take away a school's accreditation, everyone associated with the school suffers from it. The school will no longer have a very good reputation, plus if teachers teach at a non-accredited school, they do not receive service credit years. It can also be devastating for students who dream of higher education.

If a senior has spent most, but not all, of their high school career attending a fully accredited school, they should have a fairly easy time getting into college, right? Wrong.
"Accreditation is very important; seniors in particular can find their college credits disappearing." said science teacher Mr. David Yeroshek when asked about the importance of WASC and their evaluations. If WASC members believe that a school is unfit to be accredited and write a horrible report, the college credit at that school disappears. Even if this is your year to graduate, any extra credits that you have earned will no longer count. This makes the process of getting into college ten times more difficult, especially if you have had your eyes on a four year university.

Even though WASC is obviously very important to schools for many different reasons, it is not necessarily needed. Only schools that volunteer are visited by WASC. However, as was explained, schools that don't get evaluated by WASC don't get accredited, and schools who don't get accredited are very limited when it comes to benefits.

Now, WASC evaluations aren't just one-time deals. The longest that any school can go without getting a visit from WASC members is 6 years, and that's if they do extremely well. The shortest amount of time possible between visits is one year, which isn't a very good sign for any school. If a school gets a horrible report and their accreditation is revoked, they have to go through a whole process to get a brand new charter and apply for accreditation once more. It's a lengthy process that no school wants to go through.

If you're interested in Foothill's status concerning WASC and accreditation, there's more info soon to come in the next two issues of fhspress.com.




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