From Our Editors

What's The Story?

In this age of accountability for America’s educators, with its attendant data points and percentages and rankings, it’s easy to calculate the state of our schools. Are math scores up? Things must be good. SAT scores down? Things are going bad.

But stare too long at averages, and the danger is that everything becomes just that—average. In this issue of Scholastic Administr@tor, we decided to go beyond the statistics and detail the extremes, using real anecdotes of what can be described as, with apologies to Charles Dickens, the best and worst of times in the nation’s classrooms.

First, the best: The third Intel and Scholastic Schools of Distinction Award acknowledges schools that show winning education strategies in seven categories—from academic achievement to excellence in the use of technology (See “Best of Class” ). Although all the winners can point to data to prove their successes, it is their stories of how they did it that we found truly inspiring.

And then there is the worst of it: deeply disturbing stories from different parts of the country—urban Camden, New Jersey (“A Failure of Leadership ”) and rural South Carolina and Baltimore, Maryland (“Corridor of Shame ”). The words and images of students and educators working in places ranked at the bottom of national surveys and studies should give everyone pause. From these sad tales are lessons for anyone responsible for educating America’s children.