U.S. school systems are paying more attention to accreditation, fearing state takeovers or a loss of students, officials said.
Factors that include poor academic performance, inadequate governance and financial fraud are forcing private monitoring agencies to deny accreditation to school systems and private schools, USA Today said.
After the Missouri State Board of Education declared Kansas City's public school district "unaccredited" in September, city officials spent weeks explaining the new status did not mean a forfeiture of diplomas or students' ineligibility for college scholarships. However, the district had two years to improve in more than a dozen categories, most of them academic, or risk direct state management. Students could request admission to nearby school districts at the city's expense.
St. Louis schools lost their accreditation in 2007, as did Clayton County, Georgia's in 2008.
Terry Holliday, commissioned of the Kentucky Department of Education, pointed out the business community has aggressively urged public schools to improve.
"They can't find folks who have the skills they need to fill the jobs that are available," he said.