Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Award or Scam

Originally posted at

Award or Scam
June 6, 2008 – 7:22 am by Brendan
Schools in Grayslake Elementary District 46 have been examined closely. It has been determined that they should win the Blue Ribbon Lighthouse award. This award should under no circumstances be confused with the U.S. Department of Education’s No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools award initiative. See the blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Inc. gives away one award and the U.S. Department of Education gives out the other.
The other significant difference is that blue ribbon Schools of Excellence Inc. is also an educational consultant company. They charged the Grayslake school district over $20,000 for consulting fees before giving the schools this award. It sort of makes me feel slimy now to call myself an educational consultant. On the other hand I don’t live that far from Grayslake, I could have done the consulting for less than half the cost.
I don’t have a problem with having outside sources examining schools and helping them find strengths and weaknesses. The outsider insight often can see things you can’t see from inside when looking for strengths and weaknesses.
For years now marketing companies have been using dubious awards to promote products. A good idea to sell stuff. Not so good if the product is a public school. What are they trying to sell in Grayslake? Why should public schools even feel the need to promote themselves?
As I said in my first article measurements of education are at best subjective. If you want to know if the school is good talk to parents who have kids in the school, talk to the teachers, talk to the administrators. And I don’t say that because we do have the option for rating schools on our website. I say that because the best school according to one person may not be the best school for you. I also think the best school is the one where the parents are involved. Schools are only a small part of the education of your children. Get involved and stay involved and it won’t matter if you school won a Blue Ribbon for Excellence or not.
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