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Editorial: 3 Blue Ribbon lessons for schools’ status quo

The 2012-2013 winners of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Blue Ribbon Schools offer a lesson for those whose fallback position to reform is that their students are too disadvantaged or the time is not ripe for change.

At Anthony Elementary School in tiny Anthony, N.M., 98 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged and 70 percent speak something besides English as their primary language.

At Holloman Middle School on the Air Force base, the stereotype of a transient student population is made false with reading and math proficiency rates 30 percentage points above the state average.

And at the Albuquerque Institute for Math and Science at the University of New Mexico, teacher evaluations linked to student progress have delivered low staff turnover and high test scores in a student body determined by random lottery drawing.

These three Blue Ribbon schools are being recognized at a national level for being places “where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ academic achievement.”

And they beg the question, if these schools can not only make education work, but work extremely well, what are others waiting for?

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.