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America's Best High Schools


Replies to: America's Best High Schools

  • collegealum314collegealum314 Registered User Posts: 6,768 Senior Member
    "This should have been titled America's Best PUBLIC High schools."

    Some of the most well-known public magnet schools (math and science academies) are also missing.
  • HSisOverratedHSisOverrated Registered User Posts: 392 Member
    Those kinds of stats are crap. A big fat high school with a prison-style campus who's students score well on tests does not constitute as the "best" high school.

    I've visited public high schools, many of them, actually. You know what they all have in common? The teachers are afraid of the students, the students are afraid of the students, and the state is afraid to put a little extra funding into something that doesn't promote partisan agenda (tolerance campaign, sex education, intelligence design, blah blah blah).

    AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL'S ARE THE WORST! Homeschool and charter ftw.
  • collegealum314collegealum314 Registered User Posts: 6,768 Senior Member
    ^^Don't you mean that schools are afraid to fund programs that promote partisan agendas? All the things you list are partisan issues.

    Anyway, this rating system is much better than Newsweek's, in which a school's value is measured by the number of AP tests a student takes.

    I think these ratings are not necessary though and counterproductive. If anything, they should be rated in blocks like top 100, top 200, etc.
  • HSisOverratedHSisOverrated Registered User Posts: 392 Member
    I find this ranks not only counterproductive, but completely false. Ranking high schools solely based on AP and test scores is bad.

    I wish they go the more unconventional route: Best food, most happy students, t/s ratio, clubs, specialties, in addition to api score, sat average, gpa average etc. They neglected to include the schools/institution that surpass both public and many private schools, CHARTER and HOMESCHOOL.

    Yes charter is funded by the state, but the scores projected are much...so much higher than the average million student schools. Why you might ask? Charter's off an environment public schools wish about; one on one attention, small class size, strong relationship with faculty without the use of police protection, flexible schedules and accommodations for those who cannot deal with the stressing and unnecessary demanding environment of the ordinary public school. School is about LEARNING, not TESTING.
  • collegealum314collegealum314 Registered User Posts: 6,768 Senior Member
    On second thought, the ranking methodology seems pretty lame. Their measure of performance is getting a "3" on at least one AP exam--pretty easy.
  • ndinchickndinchick Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    i am so confused and shocked.. I have reason to beleive that that list is wrong.. how can the top hs in CA come in at a lower ranking than the #2 school in CA?
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 32,045 Senior Member
    HSisOverrated, you might want to read some studies of charter schools. While some are good, many are not. On average charter school students don't perform significantly better than public school students.
    # In five case study states, charter schools are less likely to meet state performance standards than traditional public schools. It is impossible to know from this study whether that is because of the performance of the schools, the prior achievement of the students, or some other factor. The study design does not allow us to determine whether or not traditional public schools are more effective than charter schools.
    from Executive Summary--Evaluation of the Public Charter Schools Program: Final Report

    Critical Results

    The most comprehensive study to date[13] found that students attending charter schools tied to school boards do not fare any better or worse statistically than students attending public schools on reading and math scores. But students attending charter schools not tied to school boards fared worse in reading and math.[14] This study was conducted as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2003.[15] The study included a sample of 6000 4th grade pupils and was the first national comparison of test scores among children in charter schools and regular public schools.

    A second study released on August 22, 2006 by the U.S. Department of Education also found that students in charter schools performed several points worse than students in traditional public schools in both reading and math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test.[16]

    [edit] Supportive Results

    There are also some studies that claim charter school students do better than public school students. A 2000 paper by Caroline Hoxby[17] found that charter school students do better than public school students. This paper was the subject of controversy in 2005 when another researcher was unable to replicate her results. Hoxby released a follow up paper in 2004 claiming to have again found that charter school students do better than public school students[18] This second study compared charter school students "to the schools that their students would most likely otherwise attend: the nearest regular public school with a similar racial composition."[18] It reported that the students in charter schools performed better in both math and reading. It also reported that the longer the charter school had been in operation, the more favorably its students compared. Hoxby's methodology in this study has also been criticized, arguing that Hoxby's "assessment of school outcomes is based on the share of students who are proficient at reading or math but not the average test score of the students. That’s like knowing the poverty rate but not the average income of a community -- useful but incomplete."[19]

    A report issued by a pro-charter school group,[20] released in July 2005, looks at twenty-six studies that make some attempt to look at change over time in charter school student or school performance. Twelve of these find that overall gains in charter schools were larger than other public schools; four find charter schools’ gains higher in certain significant categories of schools, such as elementary schools, high schools, or schools serving at risk students; six find comparable gains in charter and traditional public schools; and, four find that charter schools’ overall gains lagged behind. The study also looks at whether individual charter schools improve their performance with age (e.g. after overcoming start-up challenges). Of these, five of seven studies find that as charter schools mature, they improve. The other two find no significant differences between older and younger charter schools.
    from Charter school - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Lucky you that your charter school is apparently better than the local public schools.
  • HSisOverratedHSisOverrated Registered User Posts: 392 Member
    Charter school differs on a state levels. California, for example, will not release funding to charter schools unless they score significantly above the competing district in STAR testings.

    You might want to consider reading the last paragraph of your quoted post...

    If you have the guts to stand by public education, well then by all means. I cannot comprehend how people are so defensive. What's so great about these huge schools?!

    edit: /Is CA
  • standrewsstandrews Registered User Posts: 1,365 Senior Member
    Hmmmm. Maggie Walker Governor's, a newsweek elite public high school, was left off the USNWR top 100 list and top Virginia list. It does not appear on the schoolmatters.com web site, which it seems was the source of USNWR's data. A glaring omission IMO.

    1389/1600 avg. SAT
    57% Nat. Merit commended or higher
  • hikidshikids Registered User Posts: 1,284 Senior Member
    I agree with Geezermom. What is the point of ranking HS? Are we trying to have a BCS-HS championship series (say using something like Jeopardy)? In most cases being able to attend a rated HS is a matter of where you live or luck, more applicatants than spots and quotas are used to keep gender and ethnic balance. Result is many very qualified student head to private schools, and often the pool accepted is not as good as those who have not made it due to a quotas or chosen not to even apply. For example, in Phila, a local mag ranked the pub and priv HS in the area. The first pub HS on the list came in at #20 (all priv 1-19). Interestingly it was not the ones in the top 100 (i.e., #53, or #79) on the UNWR list. These sorts of lists drive administrators to focus on moving up on the list and gaming the criteria. All of which may look good, but not be in the best interest of the students. The BWeek ranking of MBA programs has done the same, and finally Wharton (U of Penn, and Harvard among others) are refusing to give information -- though they rank them anyway.

    As a country, you would think all of our HS should be at parity so that there would be no point in ranking them. In the end it is a sad commentary on our government institutions who have failed the kids in monumental fashion.

    For the curious: S went to Pub -- Sty in NYC, D is in priv.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 32,045 Senior Member
    I'll stand by my son's public education, because for the most part he got as good and education and in some respects a better education than I got in my expensive highly regarded prep school.

    I did read the last paragraph - I felt it was important to give both points of views. The fact is it is not a settled matter by any means that charter schools are superior to public schools. In states with good safeguards they may be.

    My kids went to an arts and humanities magnet for elementary school. There were aspects to being a magnet (which I think also hold true for charters) that I feel tend to make them superior. One is that a large portion of the parents in these schools have chosen them. That makes for involved parents and involved PTAs. Second is that in order to continue to receive funding our school had to justify their programs. So they did periodic checks to make sure they were effective.
  • -Allmusic--Allmusic- Registered User Posts: 6,350 Senior Member
    I have heard the music groups from a couple of our charter schools for the performing arts.

    I will take our public schools any day of the week. Far superior musically.
  • ricegalricegal Registered User Posts: 1,350 Senior Member
    My son's school is on the list. It is a decent public school. Much better than the high school I attended in many ways - better teachers, harder classes, stronger students. It draws from a highly educated populace so while there are minorities there, their parents are educated. The populace is not wealthy by the standards of the larger urban area and most of the families are two-income. Most of the students head to public university upon graduation.

    I have a child who is near the top in his class and one who was at the bottom. The school was not perfect in dealing with the bottom student, but I have to say that they tried. The teachers were very flexible and the administration worked hard to counsel him. I finally had to put him in a private school with only 5 kids/class in order to get him through his most difficult classes, but the public high school was good about integrating him back in when he returned. The main complaint I have about the school is that there wasn't any vocational training. The district offered it, but at a different school. They did have a transistion to work program for special ed kids. My son didn't want to do it because he was happy with his after-school job and wanted to continue with it.

    The private schools in our area are more self-selecting and have a better track record for getting kids into the top 20 colleges. They also offer more AP courses. Son's school offers 11 AP classes - 2 science, 2 math, 2 language, 1 English, 2 social studies, 2 in electives. The private schools offer one more in each area, and lots of kids are able to take more. At son's school, the AP classes have so much homework that it's very difficult to take 3 each year, much less the 4 or 5 that I see some of the kids on this forum taking.
  • HSisOverratedHSisOverrated Registered User Posts: 392 Member
    My kids went to an arts and humanities magnet for elementary school. There were aspects to being a magnet (which I think also hold true for charters) that I feel tend to make them superior. One is that a large portion of the parents in these schools have chosen them. That makes for involved parents and involved PTAs. Second is that in order to continue to receive funding our school had to justify their programs. So they did periodic checks to make sure they were effective.

    That's what charter schools do. You know how many kids have dropped out because they can't keep up with classes that do not employ the same repetitive instruction and hand-holding tactics? We go to class 2-3 times a week and spend the rest of the time at home. On average, kids are spending 8-12 hours of homework on home days, something p.s kids do not share. I find magnet schools rather biased, as location is often limited to more privileged and funded districts, while charter is less elite emphasized.

    While I would kill to attend a magnet school, my experience with locals ones was almost on par with neighboring public, except more titles and stalking parents.

    I mean is it really necessary to say thank every time a teacher walks through the front door? We all know getting a nice recommendation for your kid is a reasonable goal, but there is more to life than kissing up.
  • Dad IIDad II Registered User Posts: 2,281 Senior Member
    Our HS made into the top 50 on this list. Does that help our kids in college application head to head to kids from lower ranking HS?
This discussion has been closed.