Blue-Ribbon Schools Program: Why We Should Bring It Back
To the Editor:
As educators watched President Bush sign the No Child Left Behind Act into law in Hamilton, Ohio, in January 2002, the three of us, among representatives from all 50 states, were in Washington finalizing work on identifying the nation’s last recognized Blue Ribbon Schools. We were told that day by a number of Texas education leaders that the time had come to end this program, and to begin identifying the best schools solely by their test scores. They felt that information about school culture was neither measurable nor relevant, and that the bottom line was test scores, demographic data, and appropriate distribution throughout the country.
We left Washington in shock, yet hopeful that better minds and common sense would prevail and this national treasure of a program would survive.
In spite of efforts by legislative staffs to continue Blue Ribbon Schools as a helpful part of NCLB, the group from Texas has been successful in making the No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools Program into a test-score-based program. In an attempt to assist schools in maintaining the very successful Blue Ribbon formula, which excellent schools have always shared, the essence of Blue Ribbon Schools was forgotten.
Enough time has passed. This is the right moment to identify, congratulate, celebrate, and continue to model what we know is excellent in our schools. Yes, good test scores are important, but so is a school culture that is premised on and guided by talented effective leadership, ongoing and focused professional development, genuine community involvement, innovation, recognition, and quality curriculum and instruction that are truly based on student needs and supported by technology. True intervention also is needed—meaningful, personal, differentiated instruction that lasts until there is success for all students.
With very few exceptions, this is what the National Blue Ribbon Schools exemplified.
These excellent schools are still out there. They are in every community. They may not always be at the top of the test “box scores” list, but they continue to be among the country’s very best.
Perhaps the time has come for one of the nation’s most cherished education programs to return for real.
Vol. 27, Issue 35, Pages 31-32
Vol. 27, Issue 35, Pages 31-32
Get more stories and free e-newsletters!
- K-12 STEM Teaching Jobs Available in Seattle, Washington Join Our Free Online STEM Job Fair
- Mercer Island School District, Mercer Island, WA
- Free Online K-12 STEM Job Fair | Teaching and Admin. Jobs for 2017-2018
- TopSchoolJobs eXPO, US
- K-12 STEM Teaching Jobs Available in Charlottesville, Virginia Join Our Free Online STEM Job Fair
- Albemarle County Public Schools, Charlottesville, VA
- K-12 STEM Teaching Jobs Available in Birmingham, AL Public Schools Join Our Free Online STEM Job Fai
- Birmingham City Schools, Birmingham, AL
- K-12 STEM Teaching Jobs Available in Milwaukee, Wisconsin SchoolsJoin Our Free Online STEM Job Fair
- Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee, WI