Clear84° WeatherClear84° Weather

Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

'The hardest kinds of challenges'

Florida_am_university_logo American Bar Association officials were waving red flags about FAMU's law school more than a year before the scathing March 2008 report that finally generated headlines beyond the St. Petersburg Times, according to two earlier ABA reports just obtained by The Gradebook.

The reports, from January 2006 and December 2006, show that as far back as October 2006, ABA officials were worried about many of the same issues – including faculty infighting and a lack of academic support for students – that they highlighted in March. The reports also show that between fall 2005 and fall 2006, the ABA's overall tone changed from concern to alarm as problems festered and time began running out on the school's bid for full accreditation.

"Significantly, most of the challenges are not ones that are susceptible to cure from the infusion of more money or the passage of laws or the removal of regulatory hurdles," the December 2006 report says. "They are the hardest kinds of challenges since they deal largely with issues of human behaviors, of breaking down barriers of distrust and building up reservoirs of hope and collegiality."

“Time is not on the side of the Law School,” the same report concludes. “The goal of full accreditation certainly is possible but the trip to the finish line will not be an easy one.”

As we noted when the March 2008 report finally surfaced, much of this is old news – in part because The Gradebook and the St. Petersburg Times wrote about these issues last year; and in part because the ABA site team paid its last visit to the school in the fall, before new Dean LeRoy Pernell arrived in January and began making substantial changes.

As we noted when the March 2008 report finally surfaced, much of this is old news – in part because The Gradebook and the St. Petersburg Times wrote about these issues last year; and in part because the ABA site team paid its last visit to the school in the fall, before new Dean LeRoy Pernell arrived in January and began making substantial changes.

Then again, the reports and related documents offer a fuller picture of what ABA officials have been thinking during a critical time in the law school’s history – and how their thinking has changed over time.

To see the January 2006 report, click here. To see the May 2006 letter from the ABA Accreditation Committee, click here. To see the November 2006 response from FAMU, click here.

To see the December 2006 report, click here. To see January 2007 response from FAMU, click here. To see the February 2007 letter from the ABA Accreditation Committee, click here.

- Ron Matus, state education reporter 

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:46am]

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...