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America's Best High Schools


Replies to: America's Best High Schools

  • 99cents99cents 1082 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,088 Senior Member
    I see some schools that are ranked higher than other schools with higher academic index, using CA index. I'm not sure how much to trust this list.
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  • warblersrulewarblersrule 9964 replies170 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 10,134 Super Moderator
    I've never heard of most of the high schools listed for NC, and most of the obvious choices are entirely missing. NCSSM is a particularly glaring omission, but others (East Chapel Hill, Enloe, Charlotte Latin, etc.) were also not listed.
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  • arabrabarabrab 5884 replies77 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,961 Senior Member
    The methodology sets a hurdle for how well likely less-advantaged students need to do to be considered for the list, so many high schools with fabulous scores and AP participation will not be highly rated if they have very poor results for minority or children from high poverty backgrounds, so in that sense it may be an improvement on the Newsweek methodology. On the other hand, this list seems to include test-admission schools, and I think that the Newsweek list excludes them.

    Looking at two schools that are close in the rankings, Peak To Peak Charter School in Lafayette Colorado (#47) comes in ahead of Scarsdale (NY) Senior High School (#55). Peak to Peak has 8.4% minority enrollment and 6.5% disadvantaged student enrollment, while Scarsdale's numbers are 4% minority, 0% disadvantaged. Peak to Peak had a 90.4% participation rate in AP exams, while Scarsdale's was 74.4%. Scarsdale students pass AP exams at a much higher rate (92.9%) vs. Peak to Peak's 59.5%, but according to Jay Matthews (Newsweek & Washington Post) Scarsdale has long restricted who is allowed to take AP classes to ensure that only student who are very likely to earn passing grades are allowed to enroll. Scarsdale still does well in the rankings (both USNWR & Newsweek), but they're clearly being hammered because of the restrictive AP enrollment practices. You have to apply through open enrollment to get into Peak to Peak, but there isn't any test or prior school result used to determine admissions, but you need to live in the Scarsdale school district (which costs pretty big bucks) to go to school there.

    Which school is better? If you have the money to live in Scarsdale and have a student who is allowed to take the AP classes, Scarsdale clearly has outstanding results. If you want a substantially less costly home, and want your student to be encouraged to take AP classes and tests, then you might find Peak to Peak to be the better school. If you're the parent of a minority or economically disadvantaged student, you probably don't have a choice, but if you did, the data seems to suggest that Peak to Peak would likely be the much better alternative.

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  • mathmommathmom 31932 replies155 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,087 Senior Member
    While I think giving such weight to AP exams is silly (remember too that Scarsdale no longer offers AP courses because they want more flexibility to teach college level courses without the rigid AP curriculum), I do like that unlike the Newsweek list this list also puts some weight on actually passing the AP exams.

    I was curious about the "college readiness" index - which seems to be badly named - surely 11% of Stuyvesant are not not ready for college!

    I thought it was interesting that in Westchester two Yonkers schools made the list - I would never ever have predicted that.
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  • fireflyscoutfireflyscout 5289 replies169 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,458 Senior Member
    I think part of why Hidalgo is rated so highly is due to the performance of native Spanish speakers on the two AP Spanish exams. There was a side article about Hidalgo which mentions this (along with how the students are taught formal Spanish grammar and writing skills) but also that they are not up to the state standard for math performance.
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  • menloparkmommenloparkmom 12387 replies534 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,921 Senior Member
    This should have been titled America's Best PUBLIC High schools.
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  • geezermomgeezermom 1299 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,355 Senior Member
    On this list I see my own high school, the school my sister's kids went to, and schools that friends' children attend or have attended. There's no doubt that they're excellent schools with much to offer the students whose parents are fortunate enough to be able to live in the right districts. But ranking high schools? What do we truly learn from this national obsession?
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  • hec2008hec2008 522 replies28 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 550 Member
    We are really excited; my school has only been open 6 years and we made the list! Yes at 93rd but not bad for only two full senior classes. I have to agree that this is magnet heavy (we aren't, just a regular public with a lot of drive), but that is of course the point of such schools.
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  • OdysseyTiggerOdysseyTigger 484 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 500 Member

    The Westchester ratings appear to be arbitrary in that it appears only 10 schools were even considered. (Scarsdale, Greeley, Edgemont, Rye, Blind Brook, Briarcliff, Byram, Irvington....and Yonkers and Saunders)

    Most were not - including the two that led the county in acceptances into Harvard last year and many others that clearly would have been at least "silver medal" winners.

    (No Mamaroneck, No John Jay, No Bronxville, No Ossinning, No Rye Neck, No Harrison, No Dobbs Ferry, No Hastings, No White Plains, No Fox Lane, ...etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.)

    It was noted above that many private high schools were not considered. This appears to be true for many publics as well. What criteria was used by US News in creating the pool of schools they looked at?
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  • newmassdadnewmassdad 3792 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,848 Senior Member

    I'm sure your favorites were CONSIDERED. They just did not make the cut. See my quotes on their methodology in post 7 and you might then understand how good schools might not make the list at all.

    Yes, this is really crazy. But the only thing really new is having a national list. There have been articles in regional publications (Chicago magazine, Boston magazine et al) for years ranking the local public and private schools all sorts of ways.

    As long as we as a nation obsess about knowing what "the best" is, we'll have things like these rankings to feed our obsession. but I'm quite certain the impact of this particular ranking will be minimal (at least to us. TO USNWR, more magazines will be sold...) since families are much less mobile than their kids.
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  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys 16613 replies66 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16,679 Senior Member
    I took one whiz through the list noticed that no schools in my state were included, took a closer look at what schools were on the list of 100 Best, looked at the criteria for judging and totally dismissed the results.
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  • MarianMarian 13163 replies83 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,246 Senior Member
    I think it's worth noting that "minority" means "black or Hispanic" in this study -- which is probably a good idea, in my opinion.

    It does not include Asians. If it did, Thomas S. Wootton would count as 45% minority.
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  • HarrietMWelschHarrietMWelsch 2418 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,449 Senior Member
    Okay, clearly I hadn't had enough coffee when I first posted on this thread this morning. I was overreacting (positively) to the fact that the USNWR list was not simply AP-based, like Newsweek's.

    That alone is an improvement, but it sure doesn't make it a good list.

    I also posted hastily about the Westchester schools.

    OT, are you also in Westchester? I'm very, very curious about some of the schools you listed as those that should have been considered. Some of them have individually outstanding programs (e.g., several of those you named have extremely strong science research programs), but aren't, overall, outstanding schools.
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  • chronicidalchronicidal 695 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 709 Member
    "It was noted above that many private high schools were not considered."

    Yes. If many = all.
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  • mathmommathmom 31932 replies155 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,087 Senior Member
    Lists are a funny thing. Our high school was highlighted one year in a local magazine and the next year they hated us. Oh well!
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