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Excellence in Some of the Schools

July 06, 1986

Orange County has some fine schools. Many residents have realized that for a long time. Now, so do federal Education Secretary William J. Bennett and the state Department of Education.

Bennett, last Monday, included the Greenville Fundamental Elementary School in Santa Ana, the Harbor View School in Corona del Mar and the O'Neill School in Mission Viejo among the 270 elementary schools across the nation that he singled out for recognition because of their excellence. Only 15 schools in California were so honored.

The recognition for exemplary elementary schools came only about three weeks after the state Department of Education and State Education Supt. Bill Honig selected Woodbridge High School in Irvine, Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach and Walker Junior High in La Palma as "distinguished " schools.

The schools earned their honors in tough competition among hundreds of other elementary, junior high and high schools. The awards are well deserved.

The teachers, administrators, students and parents in the six schools can be justifiably pleased, because it takes hard work, commitment and involvement by all of them to achieve and excel as they have done. They have done themselves and the Orange County community proud.

Their success has done one thing more. It also focuses attention on the differences in schools throughout the county. Not all are serving their students so well.

It's fine to rejoice in excellence and accentuate the positive. That celebration, however, has to be short-lived because of the need for many other schools in the county to improve and rededicate themselves to the pursuit of excellence.

A state "report card" issued by Honig last month showed that 29 of the county's 55 public high schools failed to meet a state goal to improve reading and mathematics levels over the past two years. That's too much failure. The awards, as welcome as they are, only emphasize that.

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