Blue Ribbon School this year, and it's not the first time this decade this has happened. MCPS performance has steadily declined across the board since 2010. Its failure to close the achievement gap certainly did not help earn an award that partly considers schools' success in doing so among its criteria. Overall academic excellence is the other major consideration for recognition as a Blue Ribbon School.
The failure to show in this annual federal measure of academic excellence is just the latest embarrassment for MCPS. Surging drop-out rates, questions about student safety, failure to fully-vet staff, repeated sexual abuse scandals, a persistent achievement gap, poor test scores, and a chronic class attendance problem have already tarnished what was once considered the premiere school district in the Mid-Atlantic. MCPS has also begun to earn a national reputation as lightweight in academic rigor; a new, easy grading system has really taken the shine off top marks, and when students continued to fail final exams, MCPS simply got rid of the exams. Neither move will impress college admission officials as word spreads.
Unlike Montgomery County, public schools from Calvert, Howard, Prince George's and Worcester counties were recognized on this year's Blue Ribbon Schools list. Only one Montgomery County school made the list this year, and it was a Catholic school - St. Raphael School in Rockville. Students there celebrated with Chick-fil-A, according to the Catholic Standard.
Montgomery County officials have continued to throw greater amounts of money at MCPS, with no positive result, clearly indicating that the problem is not funding alone. With Montgomery County floundering on every front from education and economic development to crime and traffic congestion, it's clear we need new leaders who actually know what they are doing, and will put the best interests of children ahead of their own political calculations. We must overcome a political cartel that suffers from a severe case of Lake Wobegon Syndrome, and accept that this County is in real trouble, folks.