What are accredited high schools, and how are they different from unaccredited ones?
Accredited high schools are recognized by an authoritative body as meeting specific educational standards. Some aspects reviewed are the quality of the school's curriculum, the qualifications of its teachers, the school's student/teacher ratios, and the resources and facilities available to students.
This kind of accreditation has existed for over 125 years in the United States. This system assures the public of an institution's commitment to academic quality, organizational effectiveness, and fiscal integrity. Accreditation complements other elements of regulation and standards, including those of the U.S. Department of Education, state governments, and international education organizations. The United States has relatively strict standards regarding things like teaching licenses – accreditation isn't the only thing that matters when it comes to the quality of education.
On the other hand, unaccredited high schools have either chosen not to go through the review process or did not meet acceptable standards. They might, for instance, lack appropriately trained teachers or educational resources. Attending an unaccredited school may not provide students with the best educational opportunities. Accreditation is always voluntary, though: considering the wide range of accreditation agencies and their differing standards, many excellent high schools don't see the point of applying.
Qualifications earned at unaccredited schools are usually considered less satisfactory by colleges and employers. For example, credits earned at an unaccredited school may not be easily transferable to other schools or colleges. This can increase the time and expense involved in graduating. Employers or universities, including those outside the United States, may also require extra documentation before accepting a diploma from an unaccredited school.
In short, accreditation is essential when choosing a high school, even though it's not an absolute gold standard for education. If attending an accredited school is not feasible, students and their families may look into accredited online high schools, at least for AP and other advanced classes.
2Sigma School is accredited by Cognia, the parent organization of NCA CASI (The North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement), NWAC (Northwest Accreditation Commission), and SACS CASI (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement), three of the seven regional accreditation agencies in the US.
2Sigma School has also received accreditation for its educational experience from STEM.org, the longest continually-operating, privately-held STEM education research and credentialing organization in America.