Calling all resources to the front of the line!
Today I reached out to agencies I thought might be able to help me in finding information on starting a private school. The internet is great, but there is sooooo much information that it is easy to get stuck in the weeds and get confused.
Short term goal – find the governing body of private schools and research rules and regulations. Simple right? Not so much.
I have to admit, I like some of the “old school” ways, in that, I prefer to talk on the phone and take notes rather than send an email. Having a conversation seems more lucrative to me. I can ask questions immediately if I don’t understand, and I can rephrase questions if the other person is not understanding me. PLUS, the human contact is invaluable.
What follows is a series of very well intended misdirection. I debated about whether or not I would publish this experience in my blog, but I figured, the point was to be honest, and to help others navigate and hopefully avoid the same pitfalls.
I will preface this with saying EVERYONE was VERY FRIENDLY, and AS HELPFUL AS THEY COULD BE with the resources they had available to them, but what I learned through 6 phone calls today was, private school is no one’s wheelhouse! Or at the very least, I just haven’t discovered the person at the helm YET…
I started with the suggestion from Bright From the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, which I blogged about in, “It Takes Grass and Roots to Make a Difference!” and contacted AskDOE GADOE’s (Georgia Department of Education) Question Line. The lady at GADOE told me they have nothing to do with private schools, they govern public schools only. I asked about homeschool and she said they don’t have anything to do with homeschooling either. She suggested that since I was starting a private school, and it would be a business, I should contact the Georgia’s Secretary of State office.
I spoke with a lady at the Georgia Secretary of State and she suggested I contact GADOE. When I told her GADOE told me to call her, she looked at her list and gave me the numbers for all the government educational entities in the state as well as the Georgia Government Agency’s Directory line. I started with the directory line and he told me he could transfer me to the Secretary of State office. When I told him they had directed me to him, he suggested the Student Finance Operations. When I called them, they suggested NPEC (Non-Public Post Secondary Commission), who recommended Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, also known as… Bright From the Start… and we have come full circle.
As of this evening, I still have no idea what or who is in charge of regulating private schools.
What I was able to find online was a PDF from 2009 US Department of Education: State Regulation of Private Schools: Georgia.
Here I learned there are NO REQUIREMENTS FOR: Accreditation, Registration, Licensing or Approval. Hmmm… this just doesn’t sound right. I will definitely look into this further!
Teacher certification is also not required, which I knew – UNLESS the school is receiving scholarship monies from the state, which does make sense.
I’ve reached out to AskDOE again for clarification, this time through email. Hopefully, I will be able to get the information soon.
In the meantime, I reached out to a local private school, Heritage Academy and should be visiting in January.