Two Utah schools honored with federal awards for excellence show a "can-do attitude" despite tight education budgets, Gov. Norman Bangerter said in a message delivered by his wife Monday night at the awards ceremonies.
The governor was scheduled to attend the ceremonies but had to cancel at the last minute because of the special session of the Legislature lingering on Capitol Hill.His wife, Colleen Bangerter, delivered the governor's congratulations in ceremonies at J.A. Taylor Elementary School, Centerville, and Bonneville Elementary School, Salt Lake.
The two schools are the only ones in the state to receive the awards from the federal education department, initiated by former Education Secretary William Bennett.
Education Department spokesman Tom Tancredo, who came from Denver for the ceremonies, said 700 schools across the nation were nominated. The number was first pared to 364 after on-site visits, and then 287 schools were eventually picked for awards.
The school principals, along with student body representatives, were honored recently in Washington, D.C., meeting with Bennett and President Ronald Reagan.
The governor likes to curl up with a good mystery novel, especially Sherlock Holmes, Mrs. Bangerter told the group, and especially likes the finale when the detective gathers all the suspects in a single room and points out the guilty party.
It doesn't take a detective to determine "who did it" at the honored schools, she said, pointing out the persons "guilty" of hard work, hours of effort, and caring.
The awards reaffirm the state's high expectations of its education system, she said, and the challenges facing the schools, with their high pupil-per-classroom ratio and tight budgets.
But a "can-do" attitude by teachers and administrators, passed on to the children and supported by parents, makes excellence in education possible, Mrs. Bangerter said.
James Moss, state education superintendent, told students the state has the largest number of students per classroom, spends less per student than nearly any other state, and less on administration, yet operates one of the best and most-productive school systems in the nation.