Does it really mean anything when every school in Burbank gets an award for being “distinguished”?

 
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Of course not.

Seven Burbank Unified elementary schools were awarded the Gold Ribbon for their exemplary programs by the California Department of Education, it was announced Wednesday, April 13…

“We are proud of our seven schools for being recognized by the California Department of Education as exemplar schools,” said BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill. “These Gold Ribbon Awards are another example of the amazing work our men and women do on behalf of our students every single day. It is truly and honor to work for such an amazing district.”

“In three years, Washington went from the lowest performing school in Burbank to a Gold Ribbon Certified School!!!” commented Young. “I am so proud to be on the Washington Patriot Team!!”

A simple question from the reality based world: How can that possibly happen?

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced 772 elementary schools are being honored under the Gold Ribbon Schools Awards Program.

“These schools shine as bright beacons for others, putting forth an exemplary effort to ensure that every student is ready for 21st century college and careers,” Torlakson said. “California teachers are developing an education model for the nation, training the students of today to be the problem-solvers, inventors, and pioneers of tomorrow.”

The term “21st-century college and careers” (which should always be hyphenated by the way) is educational boilerplate. You see this exact same phrase being used all the time in these things, like it was put in by some automated macro. The thinking process behind it ceased long ago.

It’s a rather nightmarishly prosaic image as well, isn’t it?

The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program, which is on hiatus while California creates new assessment and accountability systems. Nearly 6,000 elementary schools were eligible to apply this year.

All Burbank Unified elementary, middle and high schools have received the California Distinguished Schools award in recent years.

Schools applied for the award based on a model program or practice their school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies, and practices that can be replicated by other local educational agencies. The award recognized middle and high schools last year.

Years ago we asked one truly distinguished local elementary school principal what this “California Distinguished School” recognition was all about.

She said that it was nothing more than meaningless PR, but that our local school board members always wanted it badly, and so every Burbank principal had to waste their time putting together the incredibly complicated packages that are needed to get it through the state.

This is funny.

The 2016 Elementary Gold Ribbon Schools as well as the 2016 Exemplary Program recipients, Title I Academic Achieving Schools, 2016 Green Ribbon Schools, 2016 Civic Learning Award Schools, and the National Blue Ribbon Schools from 2015, will be honored in May and June during regional ceremonies held in Santa Clara, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Visalia and Sacramento.

Lots and lots of awards.

Everything’s a big contest now, isn’t it? Even when it really isn’t, it’s always made to look that way.

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Does it really mean anything when every school in Burbank gets an award for being “distinguished”?

  1. Irwin Fletcher

    I’m happy about this for one reason only- it will take some of the air out of the sails of the people who pick their school based solely on test scores. Yes, it’s all meaningless self-congratulatory busy work- but the schools have to fight tooth and nail for some recognition. I doubt the school district will acknowledge how many hours or days each kid misses instruction because they are busy rehearsing for show choirs instead of sitting in class learning the foundation of what they’ll need for high school and beyond. Those are some seriously messed up priorities.

  2. Anonymous

    Amazing! Simply AMAZING!

  3. Anonymous 3

    It means a lot. It is comparing the Burb schools to statewide standards.

    Jesus, when you are not bitching about how fucked up Burbank is, you are bitching about how good Burbank is.

    Make up what there is of your mind.

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