The U.S. News Best High School rankings came out this week, and no Delaware school was among the top thousand.
Of course there are all kinds of flaws with national rankings like this and surely some of our public high schools deserve to be listed higher (charter schools were not included in this assessment), but Delaware’s absence from U.S. News’ first tier underlines two related challenges for our state.
First, despite many good and great teachers and individual schools delivering excellent results, there is a kind of systemic mediocrity afflicting public education in our state.
Second, the drip-drip of national media either dissing or dismissing Delaware will inevitably take a toll and it must be addressed. If not managed thoughtfully and proactively, we risk outside perceptions of the state hardening in a damaging way (as foretold here).
The Delaware brand needs to be revitalized. One way to do that is for leaders to publicly embrace an audacious moon-shot goal of making our schools the very best in the country.
Something – anything – that demonstrates we are serious about advancing genuinely creative and transformative approaches to improving our schools will help put Delaware back on the map as a place where bold and innovative changes are happening. A place focused on seizing the future.
That will do our reputation and, more importantly, our students, a whole lot of good.