Top STEM schools

Newsweek has published their 2020 list of “best” STEM schools.

This includes public schools as well as private. How well do the rankings reflect reality, in your opinion?

Exeter is at 38.
PA is at 71.

Cate and St. Paul’s are at 17 and 18 respectively, but don’t get nearly as much love in the Chance Me section, even among applicants who profess a strong interest in STEM.

It’s not accurate as many other rankings are not accurate. I’m only familar with a hand full of those schools (some of which we considered as a family with two STEM kids). Kids have participated in a number of STEM things over the years ( don’t want to go into details) and have interacted with kids from some of these schools as well. So we know that some of these schools have strong programs and some are strong in some areas and weaker in others. All are probably good enough. So #1 or #100 is likely in 99.999% to be fine.

Unless your kid is really into something STEMy, it’s likely any of these schools is good enough to get the right education. IF your kid is taking BC Calc as a Freshman, you have other work to do to find the right spot. Or if your kid is really into programming or has taken advanced physics in middle school then look more closely. For the most part, kids doing really advanced things in STEM aren’t even in the classroom. Most of the national/world events are teams of kids who do not attend the same school. In many cases, the school isn’t even a factor.

And there are literally thousands of kids in the US and internationally who do not have access to the schools on this list who will be at MIT/Caltech, JHU, and others in the years to come. It’s not so much about being ahead as about doing the work and being able to continue to do the work and excel.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Cate is great for stem and all, but I have seen the mindblowing resources at other boarding schools. You can’t tell me that other boarding schools aren’t as good or better. Whatever better means.

Love love love kiddo’s stem teachers at Cate. But other teachers at other schools knock it out of the park, too.

Look, this is high school we are talking about, not graduate school. These may be incredibly well-resourced high schools, but there is only so much a high school can offer. Gene-splicing in high school - who would have thought that was a thing?

The differences in quality between these schools in the rarified stem air they breathe are miniscule. If one has a particular program you want, great. But imho people spend too much time on the impossible task of sorting out what is “the best” instead of what they actually need. And not just about high school stem programs - about everything from brand of yogurt to kitchen countertops.

(Off soapbox now)

Andover comes in at #71?

That’s kind of low vs the other top New England Boarding schools:
St Pauls (#18) Exeter (#38) and Choate (#56)…anybody else surprised?

I’m surprised that people analyzing STEM rankings don’t understand the concept of statistical significance. ?

Ranking the best STEM high schools is only slightly more meaningful that ranking the best elementary schools for learning the ABCs. College is where one can and should start to look closely at the resources of the school. And some could argue that graduate school is most important. Given the resources online and in many communities for the level of learning needed by even advanced HS students, it’s not important who is arbitrarily ranked #1 vs. #250, IMO.

I just think most people don’t realize how little choice kids get in highschool for electives and how little free time they have for activities. The concept that a kid is going to go to “the top” stem school and spend all their time doing stem activities is absurd. Maybe a few extra classes (my older one entered highschool ahead of the normal timeline in math and still didn’t have time to take that many electives). I guess there are schools where kids aren’t forced to play sports but usually kids are dividing their time.

What? You didn’t have your kindergartener in a school specializing in STEM education?! LOL.

Most of the real STEM stuff that kids do in high school is done outside of the classroom. Like sports or the arts, kids have STEM EC’s. There just isn’t enough time to get into STEM in the classroom beyond a few classes here and there as noted above.

I think students should evaluate: can the school give me the math and science classes that I need (not someone else). And does the math science curriculum work for me ( approach, levels, etc). We decided as a family that earth science or its equivalent wasn’t something that was of interest for 9th grade. So schools with a particular science sequence that wasn’t flexible were out.

Those ratings (like most ratings, IMHO) are worthless.

I couldn’t find any indication of how schools were ranked on that list. Was it the amount of money schools paid for products?

Lol. Cate was high on the list last year too - the admin didn’t make a big thing of it, as they had never heard of the organization before. And, per the Headmaster, it was followed quickly by an offer to sell the school marketing related to the awesomeness that is the recognition!

So yeah. Take it with a grain of salt.

As always, follow the $.

I should make clear- to my knowledge the school didn’t spend any money on the marketing offered. Nor did they publicize it themselves beyond a bemused internal communication. They saw it for what it was. They didn’t mention it at all this year.

It is mildly interesting that despite not buying the marketing, the ranking is about the same as last year, iirc.