Years ago I had a petty dispute with someone I know who lives down south.

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The debate centered around who has better schools, South Carolina or Connecticut? Of course I was making a case for Connecticut and they were making their case of SC. I'm sure it's the Northeast biased that lives just under my surface but I was certain I was right.

After some actual research, I learned I was right but this topic is not so cut and dry as one is better than the other. I learned that there are many different considerations to be made and categories to investigate. When you're trying to weed out bad schools that is easy and the numbers will take you to an answer. But when you pit two good schools against one another it becomes a complex matter.

The subject is data heavy and lacks any sort of gut feeling and I'm all gut. I tell you all of this to say that I don't envy the people who make these rankings and provide these answers.

The recognition every school district hopes to get is a National Blue Ribbon Award. These are given out each year by the U.S. Department of Education and the 2023 list was released Tuesday (9/19/23) with 353 schools making the grade nationwide. Four of the Blue Ribbon schools were right here in Connecticut and they are:

  • Groton – Marine Science Magnet High School, LEARN Regional Educational Service Center.
  • South Windsor – Philip R. Smith Elementary School, South Windsor School District.
  • Stamford – Stamford Charter School for Excellence, Stamford Charter School for Excellence.
  • Connecticut – Vernon – Skinner Road School, Vernon School District.

I would not have guessed that way but I only know what I know, local schools. I would have guessed districts like Ridgefield, Weston and Westport. Every year I read three or four articles that single those schools out as elite education institutions and I'm sure they are. But I am disappointed none of them got the Blue Ribbon this year because it robbed me of an opportunity for me to brag about our region once again.

South Carolina...psssh. She didn't stand a chance with that one.

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