Accreditation, the formal process of quality control, ensures that certain standards are met within the secondary education system. Accreditation of American high schools is granted in layers: at the regional level, state level, and specialized level (e.g. private schools, Christian schools, arts schools, etc.). In the US, the accreditation of high schools is not overseen by the federal government, so there is no national-level accreditation of public secondary schools. The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) does not authorize schools to operate, to enroll students, or to award degrees, nor is the USDE responsible for accreditation of institutions.
Instead of national-level accreditation, the US has six regional accreditors, and each of the states, in conjunction with local school boards, is responsible for its own public secondary school system.
There is, however, a national accrediting body for private and Christian schools--The National Association of Private Schools--which is comprised of educators and administrators (from private and Christian schools in the US) who have set out criteria to recognize educational quality. Certain states may also have bodies that specifically accredit private or independent high schools (e.g. The Texas Alliance of Accredited Private Schools) and establish state-wide standards. Nonetheless, there is wide variation among the individual states in the requirements applied to non-public secondary schools.
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