Franklin College has regained state recognition for the elementary education, secondary education and new educator programs after  the State Board of Education’s May 5 meeting. The 11-member board voted to return state recognition to the programs after the college lost national accreditation for both in recent years. 

 The group unanimously voted to approve the report, which includes a recommendation for the Elementary Education Generalist, Secondary Education Transition to Teaching and general New Educator Preparation programs.

 “The success of these programs is critical to preparing future graduates as we strive to attract and retain the best and brightest to this purposeful, difference-making profession,” said Katie Jenner, Indiana secretary of education and board chair.

The college later announced the decision to students enrolled in the programs in an email statement.

“Franklin College is proud to continue its historic mission of preparing quality educators who will positively impact the lives of students throughout Indiana and the nation,” President Kerry Prather said in the statement.

Next, the programs must be approved by the state board’s national partner, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, or CAEP. 

 In an April 19 email to The Franklin, Indiana Department of Education Deputy Director of Communications Holly Lawson said the department was in the process of finalizing their recommendation to the State Board.

 “If approved [by the State Board of Education], CAEP would then review the program again to confirm national accreditation,” Lawson said.

 The process to reapply for national accreditation through CAEP begins with setting a site visit date 18-24 months in advance. A self-study report is done by the college in this time period prior to the site visit. One semester following the site visit, the CAEP Accreditation Council meets to make an accreditation decision. The college will receive notice of that decision a month after.

 “Sometimes we get people that want to do it sooner and certainly we can work with them if they do, but we just want to make sure they're prepared and understand, you know, what it takes,” said Christopher Koch, president of CAEP.

Though Prather said previously that the earliest the college could regain recognition was April 2021, the State Board of Education did not discuss the topic at their April meeting.

In late April 2020, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation revoked Franklin College’s elementary education program accreditation, citing that the college failed to meet all five of the organization's requirements.

This decision was repeatedly appealed by the college throughout the summer. In an August letter to CAEP coupled with an email to elementary education students, President Kerry Prather announced the revocation and said it “focuses on deficiencies in the development of the 2019 accreditation report over objective criteria demonstrating continued program quality.”

In a statement released in February 2021, CAEP refuted this.

“In response to the letter from Dr. Prather, CAEP would like to note that both the accreditation council (over 60 trained volunteers who examine evidence from hundreds of providers) and the appeals committee have reached their conclusions based on a lack of evidence for each of five standards,” the unsigned letter read. “As such, CAEP disagrees with the assertion that revocation was based on, ‘procedures not being followed.’”

Koch said the process is rigorous with many opportunities to appeal CAEP decisions, and that a revocation based on procedural issues would be a “gotcha” system that the organization does not support.

Prather said in an April 15 interview with The Franklin that the two parties “agreed to disagree.”

“We did not disagree on the fact that the report was poorly done. Our contention was that in the disheveled mess that was the original report, there was in fact, evidence of having met several of the standards,” he said. “So we made our argument, our argument failed.”

An in-depth story on the accreditations from The Franklin is in the works and will be posted in the next few days.

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