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Posted at 8:47 AM ET, 12/10/2009

High School Report: Montgomery Blair is world champ in knowledge competition

By Valerie Strauss

It seems wrong that the only discussion of Montgomery Blair High School on The Sheet has been about the unfortunate closing of some bathrooms during lunch.

Last week we talked about how the bathrooms were closed because a reducion in security personnel left the facilities unpatrolled during a period when they were apparently being vandalized.

As a student blogger wrote for the school’s online student newspaper,

"The use of a bathroom is not a "privilege" that a school can take away. Students need to be able to relieve themselves or they will not be able to focus and learn properly. Because lunch time is split into two periods and classes are held during 5A and 5B, students and teachers alike have faced major hassles during class time, especially when students have to miss instruction to search the building for an open restroom. Furthermore, requiring about 1,250 students at lunch to share a single bathroom is unhygienic and unnecessary."

But this post isn’t about the bathrooms.

Anyone who doesn’t know much about the school could be left with a skewed impression about Blair’s personality.

So here’s something else you should know about the school: Blair came out on top in the 53rd biannual Knowledge Master Open out of 678 teams from around the world.

An article in the same student newspaper reports that the 90-minute competition tests analytical ability and knowledge in 14 curriculum areas. The test consists of 200 multiple choice questions--188 of which Blair students answered correctly on the first try.

There were 160 students from Blair who participated, including members of the school’s “It’s Academic” team.

Readers of this blog may remember that I do not believe multiple choice tests are the be-all and end-all of ability and achievement assessment.

But, as my dad used to say, beating all the other teams in the world in this competition is better than a kick in the butt--and it certainly shows another side of a terrific school.

I will be doing other reports from student media in the coming weeks. If there is something you want me to look at it, email me at

Follow Valerie’s blog all day, every day at

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By Valerie Strauss  | December 10, 2009; 8:47 AM ET
Categories:  High School, Montgomery County Public Schools  | Tags:  montgomery county public schools  
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