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Blue Ribbon Schools Named by Department of Education

Public school officials all over the nation held their breath, awaiting the list of schools awarded the ’Blue Ribbon School’ designation by the U.S. Department of Education.

This high honor is reserved for those institutions earning stellar scores on the student testing required by NCLB (No Child Left Behind).

Administrators and teachers covet this award because it signifies the chosen few, the cream of the crop in education. Parents consider these schools when seeking a strong foundation for college-bound children. Even property values are positively affected when neighborhood schools are considered among the best in the nation.

According to the Orange County Register, “Real estate agents say the award boosts demand for homes near award-winning schools.”

Some disagree with pedagogy that focuses on teaching children predominantly what they need to know to perform well on  tests, while downplaying those subjects that are not tested.  And yes, the public education system is imperfect; but student test scores have improved overall under No Child Left Behind.

So applaud the winners of this prestigious award. And for those not chosen — there is always next year!

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today named 287 schools in the United States as 2007 No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools. The No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools award, one of the most prestigious education awards in the country, distinguishes and honors schools for helping students achieve at very high levels and for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap.

“These schools are proving that when we raise the bar our children will rise to the challenge,” Spellings said. “It takes a lot of hard work by teachers and students to become a Blue Ribbon school, and it’s a privilege to celebrate their great efforts.”

The No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement to high levels. The schools are selected based on one of two criteria: 1) Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that dramatically improve student performance to high levels on state tests; and 2) Schools whose students, regardless of background, achieve in the top 10 percent of their state on state tests or in the case of private schools in the top 10 percent of the nation on nationally-normed tests.

Under No Child Left Behind, schools must make Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, in reading and language arts and mathematics. Each state—not the federal government—sets its own academic standards and benchmark goals.

A total of 413 schools nationwide can be nominated. This number is determined based on how many schools and students reside in each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The Chief State School Officer (CSSO) nominates public schools, and the Council for American Private Education (CAPE) submits private schools nominations. The schools are invited by Secretary Spellings to submit an application for possible recognition as a No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School.

Those selected will be honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on November 12-13. (From the DOE website.)

For further information and a list of 2007 Blue Ribbon school winners, click here.

public schools, education, Blue Ribbon schools, Department of Education, Margaret Spellings, teachers, college, students, children, NCLB, No Child Left Behind, property values, real estate

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