Of all the schools-both public and private in the entire U. S. of A. chosen to receive Blue Ribbon status this year only one was chosen within the confines of the District of Columbia-Francis Scott Key Elementary. It's both an honor and a disgrace that one public school here in the district has achieved so much in a city wide system that has achieved so little. On one hand, we have a great little school like Key where over half of the students are advanced in math- according to test scores. In fact, when the Obamas were school shopping, Michelle Rhee told us that her office crunched the numbers, and Key came up on top. On the other hand, our system still supports social promotion and retention, meaning, for example, you might be held back a year or two, but eventually- you will still be moved up to high school-reading or not.
I am really proud of Key school's award. It was well earned by teachers, students, parents and staff alike- all working together, but during the furor of the Obama's school search, I heard more than one voice question why the Obama family should "sacrifice" their children to the cause of DC public schools. The Blue Ribbon award program is part of the No Child Left Behind act, and I can't help but roll my eyes at the irony. Maybe one day-though maybe not in my lifetime- DC will be the Blue Ribbon town it could and should be.