Student Achievement

Latest ‘Blue Ribbons’ Bestowed on Schools With Better Records

By Sean Cavanagh — November 23, 2004 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Four years ago, a hotly disputed study concluded that schools were being recognized under the popular federal Blue Ribbon Schools Program despite unimpressive academic records.

A follow-up analysis by the Brown Center on Education Policy, released last week, concludes that recent changes to the program have greatly reduced the number of “glaringly undeserving winners.”

The percentage of Blue Ribbon Schools with lackluster academic records, based on state test scores from schools in seven states, fell from 24 percent during the 1999 award cycle to 9 percent in 2003, the study concludes. The number finishing in the top percentile climbed from 27 percent in 1999 to 31 percent last year.

“The misfires have really been reduced,” said Tom Loveless, the study’s author and the director of the center.

The study credits changes the Bush administration made to the program in 2002, which placed more emphasis on academic achievement in the award process. The new selection criteria adopted by the U.S. Department of Education, which sponsors the program, placed greater value on schools serving a significant percentage of disadvantaged students and their performance on state tests. (“Paige Revamps Blue Ribbons, Basing Awards on Testing,” Aug. 7, 2002.)

Still, the study continues to be critical of California, which, like other states, nominates candidates to the federal government, saying the Golden State relies on a “rubric embracing a number of trendy educational practices.”

A ‘Misunderstanding’

But William L. Padia, the director of policy and evaluation for the California education department, strongly disputed that finding, saying it was based on a selective review of only a few state criteria and ignored the state’s evaluation of schools’ academic records. “It’s a fundamental misunderstanding of our program,” Mr. Padia said.

When the 2000 Brown Center report was issued, critics argued that it overlooked the possibility that simply participating in the Blue Ribbon program would help foster academic improvement among the selected schools, Mr. Loveless said.

In response, Mr. Loveless has re-examined how those original schools have performed since the 2000 report came out. He concludes that they have not improved academically, based on reading and math scores.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the November 24, 2004 edition of Education Week as Latest ‘Blue Ribbons’ Bestowed on Schools With Better Records

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
Strategies for Incorporating SEL into Curriculum
Empower students to thrive. Learn how to integrate powerful social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies into the classroom.
Content provided by Be GLAD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Achievement What the Research Says How to Get Summer School Right (Hint: It’s Not Just About Academics)
A new study finds a blend of remedial and enrichment activities may improve summer programs' attendance and their effectiveness.
6 min read
Teacher Monica Villegas, an exchange teacher from Mexico, instructs students at the Twin Falls School District's migrant summer school at Oregon Trail Elementary School in Twin Falls, Idaho, on June 1, 2016. A migrant summer school helps fill education gaps while keeping children out of farm fields.
Teacher Monica Villegas, an exchange teacher from Mexico, instructs students at the Twin Falls School District's migrant summer school at Oregon Trail Elementary School in Twin Falls, Idaho, on June 1, 2016. A migrant summer school helps fill education gaps while keeping children out of farm fields.
Stephen Reiss/The Times-News via AP
Student Achievement Opinion How Winning the National Spelling Bee Prepared Me for High School
Studying for the bee was overwhelming at times, but the academic and emotional benefits have been invaluable, writes 9th grader Dev Shah.
Dev Shah
4 min read
 Lots arrows missed hitting target mark and only one hits the center. If at first you don't succeed, try again!
Vanessa Solis/Education Week + iStock/Getty Images
Student Achievement How Teachers Build Confidence to Motivate Middle Schoolers in STEM
Sixth through eighth grade marks a shift in what motivates students, presenting a big challenge for science and math teachers.
8 min read
Photo illustration of teen boy working with model.
F. Sheehan for Education Week + E+ / Getty
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Whitepaper
Seen and Heard: Voice of Educators Survey
Find out how educators are prioritizing flexible learning spaces to boost learning recovery and meet the growing list of physical, emotio...
Content provided by School Outfitters